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ERIC Number: EJ1046765
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 19
ISSN: EISSN-2327-3607
Places of Belonging: Awakening a Zone of Complacency
Foley, Jean Ann
Critical Questions in Education, v4 n3 p205-212 Sum 2013
Although education has seen trends of progressive ideologies that promote student and teacher empowerment (Ayers, 2011; Lyons, Catallozzi, & Benson, 1998; Spring, 2008), the dominant educational discourse mirrors a business model of efficiency expressed by the social economist Lester Frank Ward (1872). Evidence of contemporary education replicating an industrialized manufacturing society can be seen in the recent Race to the Top (2009) incentives, No Child Left Behind (2002) requirements, teacher abilities tightly linked to standardized test scores (Nichols & Berliner, 2007), and courses in the arts and humanities dropped from the curriculum (Slouka, 2008). In this article, Associate Professor Jean Foley argues that these practices can hobble teachers and anesthetize students, in particular teacher candidates who sit in the "zone of complacency." This is a zone that acts as an impervious field against questions, uncertainty, and risk. Curriculum and pedagogy that are tightly tied to predetermined products, such as standardized test scores and scripted lesson plans, separate aesthetics from learning and entrap students and teachers within a discourse of sterilized neutrality. In Foley's courses, she uses art to challenge the factory model of learning and invite the dispassionate learner to link their understanding to their significance in the world and relationship to others. The purpose of this paper is to suggest a path that might help reframe curriculum to include personal context and in so doing pierce the zone of complacency. Foley shares her "Places of Belonging" assignment not as a solution to the complex problems in education, but as an offering to call into question the ideologies that emphasize a factory model view of education where student and teacher achievement is measured as a static product (Nichols & Berliner, 2007).
Academy for Educational Studies. 2419 Berkeley Street, Springfield, MO 65804. Tel: 417-299-1560; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001; Race to the Top