Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Democracy education and the promotion of collectivist pedagogy
by Bohlke, Karen, Ed.D., Fielding Graduate University, 2013, 228; 3601263
Abstract (Summary)

Collectivism and individualism are widely recognized as the most important aspects of culture and communication impacting the highly human relational fields of psychology, social work, and education. In the field of education, collectivism is attracting recognition as a determinate consideration impacting educational outcomes, classroom management, and the purpose of teaching and learning, particularly relevant in light of increasing economic inequity, institutional racism, and the decline of social cohesion. Collectivism affirms interdependence, other-interestedness, mutuality, equity, and care for holism and sustainability, which includes ecological sustainability and embraces communitarian values (Hofstede, 1980; Triandis, 1989; Lodge, 2009; Greenfield, 1994; Trumbull, Rothstein-fisch, & Greenfield, 2000).

The purpose of this study was to contribute to the development and promulgation of pedagogy promoting collectivist worldview. It examines the impact of Democracy Education pedagogy, a self-transformation through a social participation approach to teaching and learning developed by Roy Wilson, at the Institute for Community Leadership (ICL). Education aims at strengthening democracy as a means for rectification of disparities in academic achievement and meaningful civic/social engagement, evidenced by prevalent race and class divides in the U.S. educational system. The research draws on 16 years of programming provided by the ICL, in 62 predominately low-income, racially diverse, urban, rural, and tribal school districts of Washington, Oregon, California, and Florida. Former student and teacher participant survey data were collected and analyzed for transformative and emancipatory relevance. A mixed method, quantitative and qualitative research approach provided a complementary, iterative-analytic assessment, optimizing elaboration, illustration, and clarification. A survey measuring collectivism and individualism (Singelis, Triandis, Bhawuk, & Gelfand, 1995) was included in the student survey.

The research findings support the hypothesis that collectivist worldview can be taught and learned. Evidence of increased collectivism was found in correlation to increased length of time student participants were in the Democracy Education program. Above-average collectivist scores were registered by 86.4% of the student respondents. This indicated a high associational value favoring teachability and learnability of collectivism. The study illuminates conduct, character, and consciousness affiliated with collectivist worldview and documents the impact of their acquisition. Analysis of impact was organized around four themes: significance for the individual learner; educational method and practice; educational philosophy and worldview, and the relationship between collectivism and individualism. Collectivism is weighed as an essential consideration for the sustainability and advancement of democracy.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Mahon, Lee
Commitee: Adams, Robert, Henderson, Lanneal J., Ishtai-Zee, Szabi, Rabkin, Sasha
School: Fielding Graduate University
Department: Educational Leadership and Change
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 75/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Pedagogy, Sustainability
Keywords: Collectivism, Democracy education, Equity, Individualist, Interdependence, Worldview
Publication Number: 3601263
ISBN: 978-1-303-51982-6
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