NEW BOOKS

The New Sage Handbook of Social Constructionist Practices

Editors:
Sheila McNamee – Taos Institute Board Member, University of New Hampshire, USA
Mary M. Gergen – Taos Institute Board Member,Pennsylvania State University, USA
Emerson F. Rasera, – Taos Institute Associate,Federal University of Uberlândia, Brazil
Celiane Camargo-Borges – Taos Institute Board Member, Breda University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands

The SAGE Handbook of Social Constructionist Practice is a celebration of voices from the Taos Institute. This new book is a major review of social construction, one of the main theoretical approaches within the social sciences to emerge out of the turn of the 20th century. This volume showcases the latest theory and application of social construction across a range of disciplines. This review of the field is timely and exhibits the latest research whilst also pointing to future directions. The handbook brings together work from a range of disciplines and focuses on real-world practice in addition to theoretical work, thus making it useful for advanced students, scholars, and practitioners alike.

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Beyond the Tyranny of Testing: Relational Evaluation in Education

Authors: Kenneth J. Gergen and Scherto Gill

Practices of assessment in education are byproducts of a bygone era. As grades and test scores now become the very goals of education, learning suffers, along with the well-being of both students and teachers. Proposed here is an alternative to the assessment tradition, in which schools no longer function as factories, but as sites of collective meaning making. It is within the process of relating that the world comes to be what it is for us.
We draw from this process our understandings of the world, of what is rational and good. Both learning and well-being are thus the outcomes of relational process. Assessment practices undermine this process. A relational orientation to evaluation is thus proposed, emphasizing evaluation as coinquiry and value creation. The aim is to stimulate learning while simultaneously enriching the vitality of relational process. A wide range of innovations in evaluative practice bring these ideas to life. Detailed illustrations are drawn from both primary and secondary schools, demonstrating how evaluation can foster an engagement in learning and relating. A relational orientation also applies to evaluating teachers and schools. Teacher evaluation is transformed into professional development, while school evaluation becomes a means of building learning communities. A relational shift in evaluation also opens a space for the full flourishing of interactive and dialogic based teaching practices, and more flexible and varied curricula. Such a transformation in education speaks to the demands of a rapidly changing and unpredictable world, in which skills in collaboration are imperative.

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