Rebooting the EdD

Spring, 2011

Source: Harvard Educational Review, 81(1), (Spring 2011): 119-139.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

In this article, the author wonders how the EdD lost its way and became the poor cousin of the PhD.

The author argues that the EdD should be rebooted. The rebooted EdD should rest on four major principles:
* Education at all levels has an important emancipating, rather than indoctrinating, function and   thus is a powerful tool for social change.
* Doctoral-level expertise in education is useful for all professionals with significant pedagogical responsibilities, not just those in school settings.
* An EdD is distinguished from a master's degree by its emphasis on continued scholarship into professional practice, not just proficiency in practice.
* The EdD is not an offshoot or a modification of the PhD but, rather, a course of study having distinct purposes and learning outcomes, culminating in a capstone assessment that reflects practical expertise.

The author discusses these principles and then he uses the principles to propose a signature pedagogy for the EdD, and describes a rebooted EdD curriculum.

Attempting a Reboot

The author proposes the following template for the signature pedagogy.
The purpose of the EdD should be to prepare professionals for pedagogical practice that will promote constructive social change.
Learning goals should be of three types:
(1) what graduates should know;
(2) what they should be able to do; and
(3) what their dispositions and habits of mind should be.


The EdD's Signature Pedagogy
Each EdD program should address to all three of the following:
* The pedagogy of uncertainty should require students to conduct rigorous and systematic inquiry into practice, and to incorporate findings into practice.
* The pedagogy of engagement should require that students undertake this inquiry in a manner that makes meaning most powerfully, namely, by engaging in critical reflection through dialogue with others.
* The pedagogy of formation should require that students conduct reflective practice in a way that models social action for the profession and, accordingly, becomes something for others to emulate. (Shulman, 2005).

The author concludes that the soul of the EdD is infused with the spirit and ideas of John Dewey. Dewey's ideas have influenced or presaged virtually every major thinker in education during the past hundred years.

Dewey continues to be rediscovered.
The major premise of Dewey's Dream: Universities and Democracies in an Age of Education Reform (Benson, Harkavy, 8c Puckett, 2007) is that higher education in America has a fundamentally democratic purpose of both educating for democracy and creating educational institutions that foster revitalization of a democratic society.
The new EdD can be part of that revitalization.

Benson, L., Harkavy, I., & Puckett, J. (2007). Dewey's dream: Universities and democracies in an age of education reform. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
Dewey, J. (1933). How we think: A restatement of the relation of reflective thinking to the educative process (rev. ed.). Boston: D. C. Healdi. (Original work published 1910).
Dewey, J. (1944). Democracy and education. New York: Free Press. (Original work published 1916.
Dewey, J. (1997). Experience and education. New York: Touchstone. (Original work published 1938).
Shulman, L. S. (2005, April). The signature pedagogies of the professions of law, mediane, engineering, and the clergy: Potential lessons for the education of teachers. Paper delivered at the Math Science Partnerships (MSP) Workshop "Teacher Education for Effective Teaching and Learning," National Research Council's Center for Education, Irvine, California.

Updated: Oct. 17, 2012


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