Harvard Educational Review
  1. Fall 2014 Issue »

    Perceiving Learning Anew

    Social Interaction, Dignity, and Educational Rights

    MANUEL luis ESPINOZA AND SHIRIN VOSSOUGHI

    What are the origins of educational rights? In this essay, Espinoza and Vossoughi assert that educational rights are “produced,” “affirmed,” and “negated” not only through legislative and legal channels but also through an evolving spectrum of educational activities embedded in everyday life. Thus, they argue that the “heart” of educational rights—the very idea that positive educative experiences resulting in learning are a human entitlement irrespective of social or legal status—has come to inhere in the educational experiences of persons subjected to social degradation and humiliation. After examining key moments in the African American educational rights experience as composite historical products, the authors determine that learning is “dignity-conferring” and “rights-generative.” They revisit African slave narratives, testimony from landmark desegregation cases, and foundational texts in the history of African American education where they find luminous first-person accounts of intellectual activity in the shadow of sanction, suppression, discouragement, and punishment. They conclude by outlining an empirical framework for studying the nexus of learning, dignity, and educational rights from a social interactional perspective.

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    Manuel Luis Espinoza is an associate professor at the University of Colorado at Denver in the School of Education and Human Development, where he works on issues of learning and civil rights. He is a child of desegregation (Keyes v. Denver School District No. 1, 1973) and a Chicano ethnographer and philosopher of education working in the scholarly tradition that emerged during the twentieth-century struggle against racism in the United States. Building on his work as a postdoctoral fellow with the National Academy of Education (2012–2013), he and his undergraduate research team are developing an empirical approach to the study of state action, capabilities, and educational dignity.
     

    Shirin Vossoughi is an assistant professor at Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy, where she draws on ethnographic methods to study the social, historical, and political dimensions of learning and educational equity. As an Iranian immigrant and the daughter of political exiles, she is invested in the development of educational settings for youth from migrant, immigrant, and diasporic backgrounds. Building on her work as a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University and the Exploratorium, Vossoughi is currently studying afterschool programs that meaningfully blend scientific inquiry, literacy, and the arts. She takes a collaborative approach to research, partnering with teachers and students to study the conditions that foster educational dignity and possibility.

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    Fall 2014 Issue

    Abstracts

    Perceiving Learning Anew
    Social Interaction, Dignity, and Educational Rights
    MANUEL luis ESPINOZA AND SHIRIN VOSSOUGHI
    How Do You Say Twos in Spanish, If Two Is Dos?
    Language as Means and Object in a Bilingual Kindergarten Classroom
    NAOMI MULVIHILL
    Tacit Information Literacies in Beginning College Students
    Research Pedagogy in Geography
    NICHOLAS BAUCH AND CHRISTINA SHELDON
    Symposium
    Thinking and Learning
    The Challenge of Holistic Student Support
    Investigating Urban Adolescents’ Constructions of Support in the Context of School
    GRETCHEN BRION-MEISELS
    To Charter or Not to Charter
    What Questions Should We Ask, and What Will the Answers Tell Us?
    HARRY BRIGHOUSE AND GINA SCHOUTEN
    The Author Has the Last Word
    Buddy Editing in a First-Grade Classroom
    JESSIE L. AUGER

    Book Notes

    The Time Is Now
    Louie F. Rodríguez