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ERIC Number: EJ918813
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0013-1253
No Child Left Thinking: Democracy at Risk in Canada's Schools
Westheimer, Joel
Education Canada, v50 n2 p5-8 Spr 2010
The author titled this article "No Child Left Thinking" because for the past 10 years he has been studying the effects of education initiatives such as the U.S. "No Child Left Behind Act" or the various provincial testing and accountability policies in Canada and their impact on teachers' ability to teach critical thinking and students' ability to think and act critically. His concern stems from what he and his colleagues have found. Almost every school mission statement these days boasts broad goals related to critical thinking, global citizenship, environmental stewardship, and moral character. Yet beneath the rhetoric, increasingly narrow curriculum goals, accountability measures, and standardized testing have reduced too many classroom lessons to the cold, stark pursuit of information and skills without context and without social meaning--what education philosopher Maxine Greene calls "mean and repellent facts". The author will explain in this article that it is not that facts are bad or that they should be ignored, but democratic societies require more than citizens who are fact-full. They require citizens who can think. There are many varied and powerful ways to teach children and young adults to engage critically--to think about social policy issues, participate in authentic debate over matters of importance, and understand that intelligent adults can have different opinions. Indeed democratic progress depends on these differences. If education policymakers, teachers, and administrators in Canada and elsewhere in the world hope to contribute to students' democratic potential, they must resist the narrowing of the curriculum. (Contains 9 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada