E. Wayne Ross

Professor

Research Classification

Political Contexts
Social Contexts
Educational Approaches
Teacher Education

Research Interests

Curriculum Studies
Critical Pedagogy
Social Studies Education
Social Justice in Education

Relevant Degree Programs

 

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Master's students
Doctoral students
2019
2020
I am open to hosting Visiting International Research Students (non-degree, up to 12 months).

Graduate Student Supervision

Master's Student Supervision (2010 - 2018)
Unwrapping citizenship : getting inside the nature of citizenship education (2012)

Citizenship education has been and continues to be espoused as a primary purposeof schooling. Citizenship education has been challenged by not only shifting notions ofwhat is means to be a citizen, but also by the contested nature of citizenship anddemocracy. Neoliberal impacts have changed citizenship from a political and social to aneconomic concept. Citizenship has been professed as a universal concept providing allpeople in our democracy equal rights and protection. This, however, fails to promoteunderstanding of the realities of inequality that permeate society. Hegemonic structurescontinue to separate the privileged and the not so privileged. Problems of citzenshipinherently mean problems of citizenship education. This purpose of this study was toexplore the reality of citizenship education. The research questions were:• What are the opportunities present (in the curriculum) for students to developcitizenship at the elementary school, and what is the nature of the studentexperiences and interactions with those opportunities?• How do school experiences promote development of citizenship attributes ofpersonal responsibility, participation, and social justice?Data was collected through environmental observation and a series of semi-structuredindividual and group interviews with grade seven students at Westview ElementarySchool in Vancouver, British Columbia. The data revealed an emphasis on developingpersonally responsible citizenship, while participatory citizenship education remained setaside for the students in leadership group, and opportunities for developing authenticsocial justice citizenship education were minimal. In the interviews, students communicated the impact of agency and increased awareness. There was a void withregards to critical opportunities to question systems and explore reasons for injustice.Student experiences with citizenship education did not tackle concepts of democracy,universalism of citizenship, nor explore effects of privilege. This lack of criticalpedagogy and questioning of current structures disables the capacity of citizenshipeducation to transform society. Tensions presented themselves in the struggle foreducators to step out of the neutral zone, unpack limitations, and have time to alter thecurrent curriculum path. Amidst the tensions and the challenges of citizenship educationat Westview, however, there are many possibilities and promises for transforming thecitizenship rhetoric into a reality.

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Citizenship under construction : student ideologies and social studies education (2010)

Social studies education has always had an emphasis on citizenship, a role that grows increasingly important as our society falls under the hegemonic control of neoliberal ideology. As elite interests become embedded and misrepresented in the collective consciousness as collective interests, it becomes imperative to explore the nature of ideological development. Accountability schemes that employ standards-based reforms and high-stakes testing further entrench hegemonic social control by narrowing the curriculum, discouraging critical thinking, and eroding teachers’ autonomy. These effects are of particular concern to social studies educators.This study employed purposive sampling to identify students who were opinionated and well-versed in political and social issues. Students were interviewed from two Alberta high schools to examine their personal ideologies, their construction of a sense of democratic citizenship, and the influences that contributed to these ideological beliefs. Special attention was paid to the role of social studies curriculum and pedagogy in fostering democratic ideals.The students identified parents and school, particularly social studies, as the greatest influences on their values and opinions. They showed collectivist tendencies and placed great value on equality, but they also showed evidence of having internalized the capitalist and individualistic rhetoric of neoliberalism. These students conceived of democracy in narrow terms and identified with passive modes of citizenship and political participation. These findings also point to the hegemonic effects of neoliberal ideology.However, the contradictions and timidity of many students’ opinions indicate that their ideologies remain very much under construction. We can begin the work of creating a more democratic and equitable society by teaching social studies in ways that foster the development of critically minded, active citizens who recognize the need for social transformation.

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