ERIC Number: EJ917423
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Reference Count: 15
Critical Democracy in Teacher Education
Crowley, Christopher B.; Apple, Michael W.
Teacher Education and Practice, v22 n4 p450-453 Fall 2009
Underpinning many of the ongoing debates over the means and ends of teacher education are serious differences about the purposes of education in general and about the relationship between schooling and a democratic society in particular. At stake in these debates is the nature of what counts as "democracy," a word with multiple political meanings. In essence, one can distinguish what might be called "thin" versus "thick" democracy, with the former usually being based on commitments to the private good and to choice on a market and with the latter often seen as being more fully participatory and collective. Preparing teachers to support "thick" democratic values and principles should involve enabling them to deal critically with, and learn how to counter the efforts of, various ideological movements that wish to push education and all things social in "thin" and culturally repressive directions. These issues point to questions that need to be at the core of deliberations over the education of teachers. A firm critical grasp of the political underpinnings of culture and economy is significant. Thus, the central issue should be one of whose knowledge is privileged and whether claims to cultural authority are legitimate--and how teachers can understand and act accordingly. Future teachers also need to understand the nature and causes of the inequalities that are so visible in this society. Although fostering a critical understanding of this society and a commitment to social justice is crucial, it must be accompanied by a focus on critically democratic practices. Unless future teachers see that critical, democratically oriented practices in curricula, teaching, and evaluation are not simply Utopian--that they can be put into practice even under the difficult economic and political circumstances--the critically oriented perspectives that teacher educators may try to teach can easily be washed away under the daily pressures that make teachers' lives so fulfilling and difficult at one and the same time.
Descriptors: Democracy, Democratic Values, Teacher Role, Role of Education, Knowledge Level, Teacher Educators, Politics, Social Justice
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A