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Narratives in the Making

Narratives in the Making: Teaching and Learning at Corktown Community High School

Mary Beattie
Copyright Date: 2004
Pages: 192
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  • Book Info
    Narratives in the Making
    Book Description:

    At Corktown Community High School in Toronto, importance is placed on the education of the whole person. An alternative secondary school, it emphasizes the development of self-knowledge and responsiveness to others, creative and critical thought, and connectedness through the self, the school community, and society.Narratives in the Makingis based on a research project carried out at the school as part of a large scale national research study, The Exemplary Schools Project. Corktown (a pseudonym) was selected as a participant in this study because of its unusually high rate of student retention, student engagement, achievement, and success.

    Using narrative accounts of classroom and school practices, profiles of teachers and students, and language that is accessible to both practitioners and academics, Mary Beattie provides insights and explanations of the meaning of success as it is understood by Corktown teachers, students, parents, alumni, and school administrators. She shows how the whole person concept is incorporated into the school environment, and why relationships are at the heart of teaching and learning.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7755-5
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
    Mary Beattie
  4. 1 Origins: Context, Culture, Community
    (pp. 3-16)

    This book is about an alternative secondary school where the focus is on the education of the whole person, with an emphasis on the development of self-knowledge and responsiveness to others, on creative and critical thought, and on connectedness between the self, the school community, and society. Close relationships between teachers and students, and a clear humanistic philosophy stressing the school as community, are regarded as a major reason for student retention, engagement, and success in this school community. It is understood that these close interpersonal relationships and a collaborative learning culture provide a context for adolescents′ growth and engender...

  5. 2 Education Is a Holistic Endeavour: Corktown - a Community High School
    (pp. 17-26)

    A visitor to Corktown is immediately struck by the aesthetic appeal of the historic building in which this school is housed. The first sight of the Victorian, two-storey, brick building with its long windows on all sides and the small green space and trees to one side of it is striking. The building is even more striking because of its surroundings and location in the heart of old industrial Toronto. The immediate area around the school was originally the site of a working-class community, which declined with the building of a huge overpass from the Don Valley Parkway which dominates...

  6. 3 Relationships as a Context for Learning
    (pp. 27-43)

    The relationships between teachers and students at Corktown are at the heart of the teaching and learning that takes place in the classroom and throughout the events and activities of the learning community. These informal, non-hierarchical relationships provide a context that is highly conducive to students′ learning, student retention, and student success. The informal, communitylike environment of the school provides many opportunities for teachers and students to form the kinds of relationships in which adolescents can develop their voices and perspectives, identities, sense of self-esteem, and feelings of self-worth. These relationships help students to develop emotionally as well as intellectually,...

  7. 4 Living and Learning: The School Is a Learning Community
    (pp. 44-72)

    There is almost unanimous agreement among community members that the Outreach Programme is one of the major reasons for the school′s success, as it links the school community to the outside communities in mutually beneficial ways. From the outset, the Outreach Programme has been an integral part of the school curriculum. It is one of the most distinctive aspects of the program and a mandatory part of the school curriculum that is linked to the academic school subjects in formal ways. Through Outreach, Corktown becomes a ′school without walls,′ taking advantage of the people, the places, and the programs in...

  8. 5 Independence and Interdependence in the School Community
    (pp. 73-96)

    At the heart of the philosophy on which the Corktown community is based is the valuing and development of the individual′s voice, of the student′s capacity to listen to and to hear the voices of others, and to develop the abilities to use their voices in increasingly wider arenas. The links between the development of students′ voices, student engagement in the curriculum, and connectedness to the learning community are understood in a school which is a good match for those students who value the opportunity to develop their voices, to make choices, and to become autonomous, self-directed learners. Most of...

  9. 6 Educating Global Citizens: Developing Connections and Commitment to Self, School, and Community
    (pp. 97-132)

    The learning culture at Corktown emphasizes the education of global citizens, and the development of connectedness and commitment to self, school, and community. The school culture and curriculum emphasize the interconnectedness of all things and encourage the development of a vision which sees the universe as a whole. They stress the replacement of an ethic of separateness, disconnection, and dependence, with an ethic of unity, connectedness, and interdependence. Through classroom and community activities, students are encouraged to focus on making connections between the various domains of knowledge, between science and art, between linear thinking and intuition, between different ways of...

  10. 7 The Research Study
    (pp. 133-148)

    The creation of new meanings and new visions requires the development of our voices and imaginations, the ability to open our ears, eyes, and understandings to worlds outside our own experience, to see situations and issues from multiple perspectives, and the ability to envision and enact social change. In all her writings, Maxine Greene has consistently called for a liberating and humane definition of education that nurtures the imagination, that emphasizes the development of the whole person, and that is based in the principles of freedom, equality, care, and concern.

    Many educational researchers such as Greene (1995, 1978), Dewey (1916,1934),...

  11. Appendix 1 Evidence of Success and Achievement of Corktown′s Students in the 1993-1994 School Year
    (pp. 149-152)
  12. Appendix 2 Toronto School Board Survey: Every Secondary Student 1991
    (pp. 153-153)
  13. Appendix 3
    (pp. 154-156)
  14. Notes
    (pp. 157-160)
  15. References
    (pp. 161-166)
  16. Index
    (pp. 167-170)