Paradoxes & Praxis: The 21st Century Imperative for Educational Foundations

Maxine Greene

Why should we know Maxine Greene and her work? 
Maxine Greene has contributed to sociology, philosophy, and literature. She developed an aesthetic take on the human experience concerning literature and the arts. Greene is a celebrated theorist with a doctorate from New York University and taught at the esteemed Teachers College, Colombia University. Greene paved the way for women in education by being an agent of change in her field which was male-dominated. Greene's work is expansive and pertinent to curriculum theory today. 

Contributions to Curriculum: 
One of Maxine Greene’s most infamous contribution to curriculum is her work in developing Aesthetic Education which she defines as: 

"Aesthetic Education", then, is an intentional undertaking designed to nurture appreciative, reflective, cultural, participatory engagements with the arts by enabling learners to notice what there is to be noticed, and to lend works of art their lives in such a way that they can achieve them as variously meaningful."- Greene, 2001

Greene has produced numerous works of literature on her theory including, Arts Education & Political Correctness, Arts Education in the Humanities: Towards a Breaking of the Boundaries, and many more. In addition to her theoretical contributions, Greene also creates the Maxine Greene Foundation for Social Imagination, the Arts, and Education. Greene even served as President of the American Educational Research Association and was awarded the Medal of Honor from the Teacher’s College. Greene’s work with aesthetic education paved the way for many teachers and curricularists. Her concept of “wide-awakeness" encouraged an attitude of engagement in the world and including being fully attentive to people and events. Most of her work began in the age of the Traditionalists. Greene was ahead of her time in terms of how her work closely relates to the values of the Reconceptualists who rise in ranks in the 1970’s- nearly twenty years after her philosophy was crafted. Greene viewed students as having their understandings and differing experiences. To reach students, teachers must cultivate "wide-awakeness” and welcome all backgrounds. Maxine Greene led her field in a time of national transition of ideals. She paved the way for many women in the male-dominated world of education and advocated for the differences amongst us.