ERIC Number: ED408703
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1997-Mar
Engaging Community Voices for More Democratic Schooling.
Osterling, Jorge P.
Any discussion of educational transformation today should consider a community-oriented pedagogy. This paper describes the administrator-education curriculum at George Mason University's Institute for Educational Transformation, which was organized around the unifying theme of the "American Dream." The most important reason for doing this is that public education in the United States is often conceptualized or perceived as a vehicle for helping individuals and society fulfill their "American Dream." Students need to reflect on the interconnections among and between the "American Dream", public education, and democracy. The program brought in various community voices to initiate, facilitate, and/or strengthen an ongoing dialogue between teachers and representatives from the different segments of northern Virginia society. In addition, teachers in the program were required to walk through school neighborhoods and to conduct two indepth interviews with parents. Listening to community voices in the school-based master's program motivated teachers to engage in a critical dialogue with community leaders, parents, and youngsters. "Community Voices" engaged in dialogue during the 2-week intensive summer session included: "African American Voices"; "Youth Voices: Preventing Gang Activity"; "A Voice from Asia"; and a "Voice from Latin America." The experience also provided teachers with firsthand knowledge of these groups' concerns about education, their perceptions about schools, and the many alternative ways that exist to work together. This is particularly important in Arlington, Virginia, where teachers must deal with many unfamiliar social, cultural, and economic issues that have a tremendous effect on education. (LMI)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Chicago, IL, March 24-28, 1997).