17 SES 01, Religion, Secularization and Multiculturalism
Teacher education for diversity is one of the key factors that not only affects student learning outcomes, but also promotes the development of a harmonious society. In order to ensure effective teaching and learning in multicultural schools, teachers should have a good command of a diverse and culturally sensitive spectrum of learning approaches, curriculum theories, methods, assessment and evaluation principles. As Hilda Taba (1950) wrote: “Schools are in strategic position to improve human relations. The school brings together under one roof representatives of greater variety of cultural backgrounds than do the homes, churches or social agencies.”
Hilda Taba (1902-67) was the most well-known US educational scientist with an Estonian background. She contributed remarkably to the field of multicultural education and curriculum theory and design at a global level. Taba's educational talent blossomed in the United States, where she was a prominent figure in the progressive education movement. Her work has had a profound impact on the ideas about curricula, multicultural teaching and learning and this can still be traced in educational practice today. Taba brought with her ”a synthesis of liberal political values forged in the eastern European battleground between Nazism and Soviet communism, an immigrant's sensitivity to cultural differences, and the educational values of American progressivism” (Middaugh & Perlstein, 2005).
The aim of the presentation is to give an overview about intergroup education movement in USA (1945-51), with main focus on role and ideas of Hilda Taba as a prominent figure and project leader. Three keystones constitute the essence of Taba's pedagogy: first, learning models and practice should be understood as a dynamic and interactive process; second, to foster democracy means pupils and teachers to solve problems and conflicts together, and third, curricula should be designed to be effective and thus be refined and developed through evaluation (Lundgren, 2014).
In the presentation I will portray and discuss her theoretical as well as practical approaches to intergroup education. A special focus will be given to the method used in the Taba's project (action research) and the pedagogical context, highlighting the central idea in the project that no intergroup education curricula could exist without teachers. This fundamentally different concept placed participating teachers on equal ground with the reformers involved in the creation of the project. Rather than treating teachers as obstacles to or targets of educational change, the project allowed teachers’ lives and experiences to have meaning for the reform and the reform process. Finally, I will describe the reasons why the intergroup education movement and its related reform failed to become institutionalized within most U.S. educational institutions. Analyses will be based on sources, written by project leaders (Taba, Van Til 1945, Taba 1947,Taba, Elkins 1950 and contemporary ideas of Banks 2001, Middaugh & Perlstein 2005 and Sevier 2008).
Banks, J. (2003). Multicultural Education: Historical Development, Dimensions, and Practice. Handbook of Research on Multicultural Education, 2nd Edition. Ed by James A. Banks, Cherry A. McGee Banks. Jossey-Bass. Bowen, G. A. (2009). Document Analysis as a Qualitative Research Method, Qualitative Research Journal, Vol. 9 (2), pp. 27 – 40. Lundgren. U.P. (2014) The Pedagogy of Hilda Taba and the Progressive Movement in Education. Transnational Policy Flows in European Education - the making and governing of knowledge in the education policy field. Ed. by A. Nordin, D. Sundberg. Oxford Studies in Comparative Education. Middaugh, E.; Perlstein, D. (2005) Thinking and Teaching in a Democratic Way: Hilda Taba and the Ethos of Brown. Journal of Curriculum and Supervision, 20 (3), pp. 234–256. Scott, J. (1990) A Matter of Record, Documentary Sources in Social Research. Cambridge: Polity Press. Sevier, B.R. (2008) The Project in Intergroup Education and Sarason’s Modal Process of Change: A Historical Exemplar of Educational Reform. EducChange, 9, pp. 123–151. Taba, H.; Van Til, W. (1945) Democratic Human Relations: Promising Practices in Intergroup and Intercultural Education in the Social Studies. Sixteenth Yearbook of the National Council of Social Studies. Washington, DC: National Council of Social Studies. Taba, H. (1947) What is Evaluation up to and up Against in Intergroup Education? Journal of Educational Sociology, Vol. 21, No. 1, pp. 19–24. Taba, H.; Elkins, D. (1950 ) With Focus on Human Relations: a Story of an Eighth Grade. Washington: American Council on Education. Taba, H. (1951) Diagnosing Human Relations Needs. Washington: American Council on Education. Taba, H.; Brady, E.H.; Robinson, J.T. (1952) Intergroup Education in Public Schools. Washington: American Council on Education. Taba, H. (1953) Research Oriented Programs in Intergroup Education in Schools and Colleges. Review of Educational Research, Vol. 23, No. 4, pp. 362–371. Sevier, B.R. (2008) The Project in Intergroup Education and Sarason’s Modal Process of Change: A Historical Exemplar of Educational Reform. EducChange, 9, pp. 123–151.
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