Harvard Educational Review
  1. Spring 2012 Issue »

    Changing Our Landscape of Inquiry for a New Science of Education

    Gary Thomas
    Thomas2In this essay, Gary Thomas argues that education research repeatedly makes a mistake first noted by Dewey: it misunderstands our science. This misunderstanding has led to attempts to import various putatively scientific precepts into education inquiry. But in reality, he argues, those “scientific” precepts do not characterize scientific endeavor, which is fluid and plural: science flexes to any angle to answer the questions that are posed in any field. Questions in education concern worlds of practice and social relations where change and corrigibility draw the parameters for inquiry. Education research becomes valuable only when it takes account of the reality of the educational endeavor. Thomas urges us to strive to forge a new science of education based on singular and shared understandings of such practice.

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    Voices in Education Blog: Binding Education Science to the Practice of Teaching by Gary Thomas

    Gary Thomas is a professor at the University of Birmingham, UK, where he recently completed a term as head of the School of Education. He has recently been coeditor of the British Educational Research Journal and the International Journal of Research and Method in Education. Thomas’s work on methods of inquiry in education follows a Leverhulme Research Fellowship and an Economic and Social Research Council seminar series that he led, and his publications on the topic include Education and Theory: Strangers in Paradigms (Open University Press, 2007). His ideas on method are presented simply in his most recent books for students: How to do Your Research Project (Sage, 2009) and How to do Your Case Study (Sage, 2012).
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    Spring 2012 Issue


    “A Few of the Brightest, Cleanest Mexican Children”
    School Segregation as a Form of Mundane Racism in Oxnard, California, 1900–1940
    David G. García, Tara J. Yosso, and Frank P. Barajas
    Changing Our Landscape of Inquiry for a New Science of Education
    Gary Thomas
    Institutional Racist Melancholia
    A Structural Understanding of Grief and Power in Schooling
    Sabina Vaught
    Symposium: By What Measure?
    Mapping and Expanding the Teacher Effectiveness Debate
    Contextual Influences on Inquiries into Effective Teaching and Their Implications for Improving Student Learning
    Anthony Bryk, Heather Harding, and Sharon Greenberg
    Having It Both Ways
    Building the Capacity of Individual Teachers and Their Schools
    Susan Moore Johnson
    Refocusing the Debate
    Assessing the Purposes and Tools of Teacher Evaluation
    John Papay
    A Collaborative Effort
    Peer Review and the History of Teacher Evaluations in Montgomery County, Maryland
    Jeremy P. Sullivan
    “We Are the Ones in the Classrooms—Ask Us!”
    Student Voice in Teacher Evaluations
    Boston Student Advisory Council

    Book Notes

    Our Difficult Sunlight
    Georgia A. Popoff and Quraysh Ali Lansana

    Call 1-800-513-0763 to order this issue.