Reflections on Articles written by Tyack (1974), Lewis and Wigen (1997), Gruenwald (2003), and Apple (1996)
In my fifth week of class, I read the following articles/chapters:
In the second article, Toward a Critical Metageography in “The Myth of continents: A Critique of Metageography”, it is a good question to ask if the concept and understanding behind metageography can still be used and implemented in defining current social, political, and economic structures. The global mindset of today may articulate that metageography could still contribute significant ideas that could be used to create better decisions, implement relevant actions, and develop better collaboration and understanding, particularly in shaping actions that could contribute the progress of the entire world. Though metageograhy may pose benefits to the continuous growth and development of countries around the world, there are many changes that need to be made to support the relevance of using metageography concepts in today’s social, economic, and political structures (Lewis & Wigen, 1997). There are ten principles of critical metageography that have been identified, which included: the commitment to combating cartographic ethnocentrism, the importance of combating geographical determinism, typological honesty, the mastery of the metageographical cannon, sociospatial precision, definitional integrity, neutral nomenclature, historical specificity, contextual specificity, and creative cartographic vision (ibid). These principles have produced different views that are subjected to critical examinations, especially with the essential role of metageography in defining the permanent classification of different countries. These different classifications impacted the: extent of relationship patterns among countries, distribution of human and economic resources, worldly perspectives on religions and religious practices, environmental conditions and social responsibilities, reliability and relevance of information in textbooks and other knowledge-based resources, conformity on political and economic eventualities, categorization and division of the world into macroregions, and crosscutting and overlapping of regionalisms (ibid).
In the third article, Foundations of Place: A Multidisciplinary Framework for Place-Conscious Education, it is highly detrimental that the manner the American education should deliver and implement teaching and learning with students should be based on the relevance and appropriateness on the concept of place. Place-consciousness plays a significant role in identifying how the world works, how our lives fit into the places and spaces that we live and occupy, how particular places and particular attributes are developed, and how we shape our identification as humans and the possibilities that we create within our constructed realities (Gruenwald, 2003). The understanding of place should not be limited or ascertained as merely as a point of direction, a location to visit, or a geographical identification that is navigated in a map (ibid). The recognition and awareness of place, beyond its mere identification as a location, provides meaningful opportunities for contemporary American schools and institutions with more applicable understanding of students’ cultural backgrounds, principles, and ideologies (ibid). The American education system is often overwhelmed and micromanaged with unrealistic and stressful factors that influence school communities’ behaviors, characteristics, and actions. Likewise, the American education system forgets to create connections and meaningful relationships among its stakeholders because of the lack of and limited understanding of place-consciousness. In doing so, it is necessary that the American education system should develop great emphasis on the importance of cultural awareness in the establishment of place-consciousness, particularly with the evolving population of students (ibid). The American education system should not be satisfied and not conform to the decisions that are based on contemporary issues that plague our perception of place. Instead, critical investigations of place and space must be included to teach the importance of diversity of places and cultures, as well as the interrelationships that exist between people and places in the global economy (ibid). As Gruenwald (2003) stated, “place-consciousness depends on what teachers and students are actually expected and empowered to do” (p. 644). In doing so, assessment of student performance should not be focused on results on state mandated examinations. Effective accountability should be based on the assessment of the places that we, and others, live that translates to the kind of education that is provided and the pedagogical impact of places in and outside school (Gruenwald, p. 644).
In the fourth article, Power, Meaning and Identity: Critical sociology of education in the United States, Michael Apple (1996) discussed the impact of sociology of education in the homogeneity that continue to exist in the American educational structure, including the influence of class politics, course differentiation, diversity, curricular organization, regulations in the use of textbooks and other course materials, contradictory pressures, and the like. The implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 emphasized the desire for uniformity not only for student accountability through rigorous assessments, but more so with reinforcing the existence of conservative structures that exist in the American educational system (Apple, 1996). The desire for excellence by the American education system through the concept of restructuring seemed to have developed more complications and challenges on student, teacher, and school performance. It is evident, even in today's time, how more segregated and separated people are based on their gender, class, race, ethnicity, political, and economic groups. There continues to be evidence of prioritization on the academic and professional success for "White" students and adults than "Hispanics", "Blacks", and "Asians". There exist higher complexities in the American education system in determining appropriate goals and objectives to deliver authentic and meaningful teaching and learning experiences. Schools are supposed to not only provide knowledge and skills among students, but more so, liberate students from stark poverty, violence, oppression, discrimination, and inequalities. Unfortunately, schools have become instruments of segregation, dependence on conservative and micro-managed structures, conformity, to name a few. If the American education system truly desires to educate and prepare students to a brighter and greater future, it is important that changes be made to ensure that relevance, connections, consciousness, and human kindness be part of their learning process. As Giroux (2012) have mentioned, it is time for students, teachers, parents, and local communities to make a stand on social and educational reconstruction. Critical discourse should take place.
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