Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Invitational Theory and Practice: In the pursuit of fairness in educational equity

The theoretical foundations for Invitational Education (Purkey, 1992) include “the democratic ethos” (Dewey, 1916), the perceptual tradition (Combs, Richards, & Richards, 1988), and self-concept theory (Rogers, 1969).  These foundations rest upon core principles.  As an effective educational theory, Invitational Education (IE) utilizes assumptions requiring people, places, policies, programs, processes to interdependently transcend from the present organizational culture to the desired ideal.  Thus, IE theory rests upon:
  • The 5 basic assumptions: optimism, trust, respect, care, intentionality;
  • The 5 P’s: people, places, policies, programs, processes;
  • The ladder: intentionally disinviting, unintentionally disinviting, unintentionally inviting, intentionally inviting, and;
  •  The 4 corner press: being personally inviting with oneself, being personally inviting with others, being professionally inviting with oneself, being professionally inviting with others (Welch & Smith, 2014).

Undeniably, a humanist approach to education guides Invitational Education (IE).  Richards and Combs (1993) advocated for the implementation of positive aspects of humanist approaches in education.  These aspects embraced the human being’s uniqueness, the importance of self-concept, development of methodologies that encouraged group work, increased the involvement of students in decision-making, and sought to create more pleasant and inviting schools (pp. 266–67). 
However, the dawn of the new millennium brought new critics to the humanistic approach in education. Educational psychologists: Duchesne and McMaugh (2016), blame humanist approaches to education for promoting a structure that led to weaker academic outcomes, unprepared teachers implementing ineffective approaches, and ineffective measures of success.  Such criticism was not new to IE.  As recalled by Welch & Smith (2014), in 1986, McLaren complained that Purkey and Novak (1984) failed “to situate their pedagogical concerns within a broader problematic, one that understands how classrooms can be truly humanized only when there exists greater social justice and economic equality in the larger society” (p. 91).
While Purkey and Novak (1996) believed education to be “fundamentally an imagination of hope” (p. 1), as an effective humanistic approach to education, IE must consider “engagement with the broader social and political context” (Welch & Smith, 2014, p. 9).  In this endeavor, IE continues to evolve beyond simple re-branding.  Now widely cited in research as Invitational Theory and Practice (Shaw, Siegel, & Schoenlein, 2013), IE’s humanistic approach still embraces its theoretical foundation while seeking to extend moral responsibility and political commitment to ensure the democratic ethos, the perceptual tradition, and self-concept theory is utilized to provide fairness in equity to promote the learning for all mission.
As cited by Butler (2005), Duetsch (1975) provided three distinctive definitions of fairness based on equality, equity, and need. 
  •  Equality, by definition, is treating everyone the same.  For example, after a certain age, everyone gets to vote. 
  •   Equity suggests consequences: both rewards and punishment, are proportionate to product. For  example, all children are taught to write but the gifted poet is celebrated. 
  •   Need was defined by Duetsch based on provision or availability of accommodations and supports.  For example, “accommodations and supports will not be provided to everyone (equality) or to only the best (equity), but to those that need them to be successful” (Butler, 2005, para 2).

         Of course, practitioners of Invitational Theory and Practice (ITP) will continue to embrace the theoretical foundation of IE (Purkey & Novak, 2008).  However, ITP practitioners must also fully understand the issues of fairness in equity.  Thereafter, ITP practitioners could more effectively consider the social and political context  in which ITP should be integrated with principles of cognitive, social, and behavioral learning theories.  

 To Cite:
Anderson, C.J. (February 28, 2017) Invitational theory and practice: In pursuit of fairness in
educational equity.  [Web log post] Retrieved from http://www.ucan-cja.blogspot.com/

Butler, C. J. (2005) Equal and fair are not the same: Classroom issues of fairness. Retrieved
Combs, A., Richards, A., & Richards, F. (1988). Perceptual psychology: A humanistic approach
to the study of persons. New York: Harper & Row.
Deutsch, M. (1975). Equity, equality, and need: What determines which value will be used
as the basis of distributive justice? Journal of Social Issues, 31, 137-149
Dewey, J. (1916). Democracy and education: An introduction to the philosophy of education.
New York, NY: Macmillan.
Duchesne, S., McMaugh, A. (2016). Educational psychology for learning and teaching (5th ed.).
Melbourne: Cengage Learning.
McLaren, P. (1986). Interrogating the conceptual roots of invitational education: A review of Purkey
and Novak's inviting school success. Interchange, 17, 90-95.
Purkey, W. (1992). An invitation to invitational theory. Journal of Invitational Theory and
Practice, 1(1), 5-15.
Purkey, W., & Novak, J. (1984). Inviting school success: A self-concept approach to teaching,
learning, and democratic practice. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Richards, A., & Combs, A. (1993). Education and the humanist challenge. In F. J. Wertz (Ed.),
The humanist movement: Recovering the person in psychology (pp. 256–73). Lake Worth,
FL: Gardner Press.
Rogers, C. (1969). Freedom to learn. Columbus, OH: Charles E. Merrill.
Shaw, D., Siegel, B., & Schoenlein, A. (2013). The basic tenets of invitational theory and
practice: An invitational glossary. Journal of Invitational Theory and Practice, 19, 30-42
Welch, G. & Smith, K. (2014) From theory to praxis: Applying invitational education beyond
schools. Journal of Invitational Theory and Practice, 20, 5-10