The social foundations of education course is an exploration and analysis of the underlying issues within contemporary educational policies, practices, and theories. It is an attempt to ground the day-to-day realities of the classroom within a larger philosophical, historical, anthropological, political, and sociological context. Such an interdisciplinary perspective will allow students to begin to reflect upon the structures and practices of American education and provide a foundation from which to continue becoming reflective and critical educational practitioners and leaders. It is also an opportunity to investigate the role of schooling and education within a democracy.
Through classic and contemporary text,.this class will: explore numerous issues at multiple levels: classroom, school, and school system. Overarching questions of multiculturalism, inequity; identity formation, the role of schooling, and issues of power will be discussed. So will more specific issues, such as tracking, educational reform, dropouts, community,-school relations and affirmative action. Moreover, the class will make use of field observations in schools, service-learning and experiential learning activities to highlight and reinforce the relationship between the theory and practice of education.
A fundamental, component of this course is student involvement and debate. To this end, the course will make use of diverse methods to help students grapple with the many issues of our educational system. This course will be run on the principle of a “guide on the side” rather than a “sage on the stage” – discussions, debates, questions, and silence will be the rule, not the exception.
- to give students a deeper multidisciplinary perspective from which to interpret, question, reflect upon, and engage with the underlying issues within contemporary· educational theory and practice
- to nurture and promote the art of dialogue (written and oral) inside the classroom and civic responsibility outside of it
- to link the theory of the texts with the lived reality of students in their schools and communities
- to make explicit and begin to question the implicit norms of radical individualism and in the process foster students’ self-reflexivity towards who we are and what we do and subsequent implications upon teaching, leading, and learning in our school?
Deborah Meier, The Power of Their Ideas, 2002
Jay Macleod, Ain’t No Makin’ lt, 1995
Richard Rodriguez, Hunger of Memory: TheEducation of Richard Rodriguez, 1983
All of the other readings are available as e-reserves on CNAV, through on-line databases or on the Internet. Please refer to the syllabus and the professor’s website for specific information.
Additional books for book critiques:
- Theodore Sizer, Horace’s Compromise: The Dilemma of the American High School, 1992
- Vivian Gussin Paley, White Teacher, 2000
- Esme Raji Codell, Educating Esme: Diary of a Teacher\’s First Year, 2001
- Parker Palmer, The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life, 1998
Three critique papers will be due. Each should be submitted to the professor (either as an e-mail or in class) and archived on your personal web page. The overarching goal of each critique is to synthesize your thinking on the readings in relation to your experiences outside of class (e.g. service learning, classroom observations) and your own interest in being a teacher. This will be facilitated through a set of guiding questions to be taken up, analyzed, questioned, and expanded on.
Each subsequent critique will be worth more points as you come to learn my expectations for writing a critique. Thus the 1st critique will be worth 10 points, the 2nd critique 15 points, and the 3rd critique 20 points. This does not connote that the content of the 3rd critique is more important than the content of the 1st critique; rather, it simply signifies the expectation I that you will be able to write a concise, articulate and thoughtful critique by the end of the term. I expect critiques to be analytical, reflective, critical, and synthesizing. By this I mean that I do not want a description of the texts (I have already read them), nor a negative analysis. A rubric for how I will grade critique papers is attached.
Each critique should be between 1,000 – 2,000 words (approximately 3 – 6 pages). All critiques are due in class; if there is no Class on that particular day, the paper is due by the time class would have normally started. Each critique should be double-spaced, 12-font, have page numbers, and be stapled. All citations of the texts
should be footnoted. Late papers will be downgraded one letter grade (e.g. from an ‘A’ to a ‘B’) for each week late. Any papers not handed in by the due date of the next paper will be given a grade of zero (0).
You have the opportunity to hand in a draft of each paper to the professor. The draft must be submitted at least 48 hours before the due date\’., The draft should be either e-mailed to the professor or given as a paper copy. I will try to respond with comments as soon as possible. The topics for each paper are attached. As such, you are free to begin thinking about, reading for, and asking questions concerning these issues.
You will be required to maintain an e-journal throughout the semester on Blackboard. The goal of the e-journal is to provide you with an informal opportunity to further articulate, reflect upon, and question your own thoughts and beliefs and those of your d1assmates. I have posted initial questions for each set of e-journals due (see the course schedule below for exact due dates and questions); you are free to answer the question, take the question in a different direction, respond to other postings, or articulate\’ a different issue you feel is pressing and relevant.
The e-journal entry should be a minimum of 150 words (half a page) and is due by midnight on each Thursday before class (with the exception of days when quizzes or papers are due). You will not be graded on the content; rather, you will be graded on whether or not you completed your entry for each week in a timely and adequate manner. You will receive one point for each e-journal completed on time and of adequate length. Given the non-graded format (for content, at least), you are strongly encouraged to “take chances”: develop linkages between multiple ideas and themes, engage in self-reflection of personal educational experiences, try out different perspectives, write in a different voice and style, etc. You are also highly encouraged to read and dialogue with other classmates’ postings.
All e-journal submissions should be kept strictly confidential–they are not to be shared with anyone outside of the Class (either by the professor or by other students); if you feel more comfortable, your entries can be directly e-mailed to the professor rather than posted on Blackboard. Moreover, you may find that after writing some journal entries you may want to keep some or all parts of it completely confidential. You have the right to not submit those parts. A note to that effect should be sent to me for that week. I have the right to question the excessive use of this prerogative and may ask for additional journal entries to be submitted.
Three quizzes will be given in this course. Each will be worth ten points. They will focus on your ability to clearly and succinctly articulate the main themes of our readings. The final quiz will have one component that will need to be completed during the final exam time. See the schedule below for the exact dates of the quizzes.
You will be required to read an additional book and present a summary of it to the class (due on December 1st). You may do this on your own or in a group of two or three. I have listed some suggested books (see the course readings above). You may also choose a different book that has been written by one of the authors on the syllabus (e.g. John Taylor Gatto’s A Different Kind of Teacher, John Dewey’s Experience and Education, Jonathan Kozel’s Savage Inequalities, Lisa Delpit’s Educating Other People’s Children, E. D. Hirsch’s Cultural Literacy, Alfie Kohn’s What To Look For in a Classroom, A. S. Neill’s Summerhill). While choosing your own book is strongly encouraged, you must consult with me before choosing a book not on the suggested list.
The book critique is worth five points. It will be graded on (a) your book summary hand-out, and, (b) your short presentation. The summary should be a one-page summation of the book through bullet points, a concept map, or some other notational method – to be handed out at the beginning of the class such that other students can use it as a reference for that book. It should make use of quotes, page references, etc., in order to give a sense of the content and goals of the book. The presentation should be about 5 minutes, in length. This is your opportunity, to directly guide the teaching and learning process in the class. As such, all aspects of the presentation should be thoroughly prepared: e.g. it should be succinct, clear, informative, challenging, and engaging. Additionally, the presentation should have an overarching theme (e.g. “what I have learned”, “the main point of the book”, “how this book relates to this class”.
In-class engagement implies both personal contributions and thoughtful contemplation of peers’ points. Although the extremes–constant contributions and complete meditative silence–are obviously discouraged, everything in between is acceptable.
Additional Notes & Requirements
The education, department requires that all students in the education minor complete a total of 40 hours of c1assroom observations before they begin their student teaching semester. All students must therefore complete\’ a minimum of ten hours of classroom observations during this course. Secondary students must also complete an additional ten hours of observation; this may be done either during or after this semester. A minimum of five hours must be done at a school and with a cooperating teacher to be assigned to you. You have the option of completing these observations at another school and with I another teacher. All other hours may be completed in a variety of ways, such as a classroom assistant, as a tutor in an after-school program, etc. Your service-learning hours may count towards these hours as well. You will receive a classroom placement in the first weeks of the semester. Make sure to keep track of your hours using the blue cards available in the Educational Department office. You are to turn in a jourl1lal of your classroom observations on the last class of the semester. The journal should consist of your observations with explicit linkages to issues discussed throughout the course. More specific journal guidelines will be passed out and discussed in class. Lack of timely and adequate completion will result in the loss of 5 points.
Personal web page
All education minors are required to develop a personal web page if you do not already have one. This is the site where you will archive all of your writings and, in later classes, your lesson plans, units, resume, etc. You should therefore think of this web page as the start of your education portfolio. Detailed instructs for the construction and maintenance of this site will be given in class. You will also have full support from College’s IT department for the construction, maintenance, and trouble-shooting of this site. Your web page is due on November 10th. Lack of timely and adequate completion will result in the loss of 1 point per day until the web page is completed.
Text Outline Discussion
You will be required to outline one text during the semester. You may do this on your own or with a partner. A text outline should be a one-page summation of a text through bullet points, a concept map, or some other notational method – to be handed out at the beginning of the class such that other students: can use it as a reference for the day\’s texts. Additionally. You should present a short verbal overview that articulates the main issues in the text, links the text to the guiding questions (see the Course schedule, below), and begins some questioning and analysis of the text. Lack at timely and adequate completion will result in the loss of 5 points.
Service Learning Project
This course has a service-learning component. Service-learning in this Course is defined as the integration of community-based service and academic classroom work. Some of the primary foundations for service-learning are reciprocity between the college and community, respect for those being served, and relevance of content both to the teacher education students and to the youth and community, organization, partnered with. This service-learning project has direct linkages to numerous issues we will be studying in the semester (e.g. multicultural education, equity in education, access to higher education, the politics of identity, literacy, second-language learners, affirmative action). Specifically, you will be working with migrant, immigrant, and Iow-income 9th grade students: from Gettysburg High School and other surrounding high schools. This will be run by the Migrant Education program of the Lincoln Intermediate Unit (L1U #12) and will be conducted at Musselman Library on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. (alternative arrangements are possible for individuals unable to meet during these specific times. These will be developed individually at the beginning of the semester with the professor). You will be required to do two things: (a) tutor a minimum of 1 hour Mondays and Wednesdays to increase your familiarity with the program and the youth and to provide stable relationship for the youth you are tutoring: If you cannot tutor on both days, you should partner with another classmate (who can be from the other ED 209 section) in order to alternate days. You or your partner are required to be there for every single tutoring session. The social/cultural event should be planned for the end of the semester and is a group undertaking. You will work in groups to provide the youth with an enjoyable and informative event (e.g. ropes Course, college tour, musical event/demonstration, theater collaboration). All activities must be approved by the professor prior to implementation. More specific guidelines and information will be passed out and discussed in class. Additionally, the Center for Public Service will run several orientation sessions to help you prepare for the service-learning experience. Attendance at such events is mandatory. Lack of timely and adequate Completion of the tutoring and event planning/enactment will result in the loss of up to 10 points.
Wed Sept. 1 Class Introduction & Overview
Fri Sept. 3 Philosophical and Historical Foundations ’“Goals of Education I
- A.S. Neill, Summerhill, pp. 3 ’“ 34 [e-reserve]
- E.D. Hirsh, Culture Literacy, pp. 1 ’“ 32 [e-reserve]
Guiding Questions: What is the goal of education of Neill? Why are children (as opposed to adults) at Summerhill allowed to make the choice of whether to attend class or not? What is the purpose of the Saturday night meeting at Summerhill? What is the goal of education for Hirsh? What does culture literacy mean? How is culture literacy, for Hirsh, linked to social justice?
Blackboard posting # 1 due by Thursday at midnight ’“ would you send your child to Summerhill? Why or why not?
Wed Sept. 8 Philosophical and Historical Foundations ’“Goals of Education II
- John Dewey, Experience and Education, Chapter 1, 2, 3, 7, 8 [website]
- John Dewey, My Pedagogical Creed [website]
Guiding Questions: How does Dewey overcome the traditional versus progressive opposition? When is experience ‘educative’? When is it ‘mis-educative’? What does Dewey mean by the term ‘continuity’ and ‘interaction’? How is experience and education linked? Why does Dewey education as a ‘progress of living and not preparation for the future living’? How is education the driving force of social progress? What does Dewy mean that the goal of education should be the opportunity for more education? How is education connected to democracy?
Fri Sept. 10 Philosophical and Historical Foundations
- Professor at conference ’“ no class
Blackboard posting # 2 due by Thursday at midnight ’“ complete the following sentence and explain your answer: ‘education is like’¦’
Tuesday September 14th or Wednesday, September 15th ’“ Center for Public Service Orientation REQUIRED
6:30 ’“ Community Partner Fair ’“ required for those not working at Musselman Library
7:00 ’“ Your rights and expectations
7:30 – Diversity
8:20 – Liability and professionalism
Wed Sept. 15 Philosophical and Historical Foundations ’“ Feminist Perspectives
- Nel Noddings, ‘”Teaching Themes of Care”" Phi Delta Kappan, 1995″ 76, pp. 675-679. [on-line]
- Nei Noddings, “The Care Tradition:\’ Beyond \’Add Women and Stir\’\'\’: Theory into Practice, 2001, 40(1), pp. 29-34. [on-line database]
- Adrienne Rich, “Toward a Women-Centered University\’;\’ pp. 328 -355 [e-reserve]
- Blythe McVicker CHnchy, “On CritiCal Thinking and Connected Krlowing.” in Liberal Education, 75, pp. 14 – 19. 1989. [e-reserve]
Guiding Questions: What, according to Noddings, is the “care tradition\’? How does it differ from previous educational theories studied so far? What does it mean, according to Rich, that our educational institutions are “male-centered”? What would a “women-centered university” be like?
Fri Sept. 17 Philosophical and Historical Foundations ’“ Critical Perspectives
- Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, pp. 57 -74 [e-reserve]
- Jules Henry, Culture Against Man, pp:.. 283 – 293, [e-reserve]
Guiding Questions: What according to Freire; is the “banking concept of education?” What is the problem-posing notion of education? What does Henry mean when he says that schools are notset up to encourage creativity? What is the “noise” in the classroom, according to Henry, and why is it more important than the content? How and why does Haley compare schools to factories?
Blackboard posting #3 due by Thursday at midnight –Has your education ‘oppressed’ you?
Wed. Sept. 22 Philosophical and Historical Foundations ’“ The Hidden Curriculum of School
- Phillip Jackson, Life in Classrooms, pp. 3 – 37 [e-reserve]
- Larry Cuban & David Tyack, Tinkering Towards Utopia, pp. 85 – 109. [e-reserve]
Guiding Questions: What according to Jackson, is the “hidden curriculum?” Why, according to Cuban and Tyack, are the fundamental features of schools and classrooms so difficult to change? Why do they refer to this as a “grammar of schooling?”
Quiz #1 handed out
Fri. Sept. 24 Philosophical and Historical Foundations ’“ Founding Ideals
- Thomas Jefferson’s letter – “The Natural Aristocracy” (1813) ’“ [website]
- Thomas Mann, Report No. 12 to the Massachusetts School Board (1848) – preface, intro, first section [website]
Guiding Questions: What does Jefferson mean by a ‘natural aristocracy’? How does this differ from an “artificial aristocracy’? What was Jefferson’s educational vision and how did it relate to his notions of a natural aristocracy? What is, according to Mann, the “common school’? How will this type of schooling serve as a “means of removing poverty and securing abundance?”
Quiz #1 handed out
Wed. Sept. 29 Philosophical and Historical Foundations ’“ Founding Problematics
- 1872 Rules for Teachers ’“ [website]
- 1923 Teacher’s Contract – [website]
- Nineteenth century\’ schedule for a day — [website]
- Plessy versus Ferguson (1896) – [website]
- Margaret Haley, “Tile Factory System”, 1924 ’“ [e-reserve]
- Agnes de Lima, “Any School Morning”, 1\’924 ’“ [e-reserve]
- Larry Cuban, How Teachers Taught, pp. 23 – 45. [e-reserve]
Guiding Questions: What were the guiding- concepts and structures\’ to the school day at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century? What do the rules for teachers and teacher’s contract imply about the role of teachers in society at that time? How were issues of race, class and authority in schools and society conceived of at that time?
Quiz #1 due
Fri Oct. 1 Philosophical and Historical Foundations ’“ Conclusion
- 1St Critique Paper Due [Experiential Learning Activity] – in-class -> paper]
Wed Oct. 6 Sociological and Anthropological Foundations ’“ Inequities in US Society
- Jonathan Kozol, Savage Inequalities ’“ East St. Louis & Chicago, IL [website]
- NAACP Call For Action in Education – [website]; note: do not read the recommendations
- NCTAF “Two-Tiered Educational System” – executive summary – [website]
Guiding Questions: What, according to all of the readings, are some examples of the continued inequities in American education? Why does this continue to happen?
Fri Oct. 8 Sociological and Anthropological Foundations ’“ Issues of Race
- Lisa Delpit, Other People’s Children, pp. 21 ’“ 47 [e-reserve]
- John Ogbu, “Adaptation to\’ Minority.· Status and Impact on School Success” Theory into Practice, 1992,- 31(4), I, pp. 287-295. [on-line database]
- Racial Implicit Association Test – [website]
Guiding Questions: What, according to Delpit, is the ‘culture of power’? What, according to Ogbu, is the difference between involuntary and voluntary minorities? Why does Ogbu create this distinction between minority groups?
Blackboard posting #4 due by Thursday at midnight – Are you comfortable with the results of your racial implicit association test? Why or why not? Are you racist?
Web Oct. 13 Sociological and Anthropological Foundations ’“ Issues of Multiculturalism
- Richard Rodriguez, Hunger of Memory
Guiding Questions: What is Rodriguez’s perspective on Affirmative Action? On bilingual education? On assimilation? How and why does Rodriguez believe that education changes you? Why does Rodriguez insist on making the distinction between the public and the private spheres?
Fri Oct. 15 Sociological and Anthropological Foundations ’“ Tracking/Detracking
- Maureen Hallinan & Jeannie Oakes, ‘Exchange on Tracking’, Sociology of Education, 1994. 67(3). Pp. 79 ’“ 91. [on-line database]
- Alfie Kohn, ‘Only For My Kid’, Phi Delta Kappan, 1998, April, 79(8). Pp. 568 ’“ 577. [on-line database]
Guiding Questions: What, according to Hallinan and Oakes, are the positive outcomes of tracking? What are the negative outcomes of tracking? What is detracking? Is tracking in and of itself the problem, or are there other structural conditions that cause the majority of the problems associated with tracking? Why does Kohn blame parents for the continuation of tracking?
Blackboard posting #5 due\’ by Thursday at midnight – Did you benefit from the tracking at your high school? Why or why not?
Wed Oct. 20 Sociological and Anthropological Foundation ’“ Issues of Race and Class
- ’¢Jay Macleod, Ain’t No Makin’ It, Part I
Guiding Questions: What, according to Macleod, is the efficacy of schooling argument? What is the equality of opportunity argument? Why does Macleod argue that one\’s socioeconomic status determines one\’s educational level rather than the other way around?
Fri Oct. 22 Sociological and Anthropological Foundation ’“ Issues of Race and Class
- Jay Macleod Ain’t No Makin’ It, Part II
Blackboard posting #6 due by Thursday at midnight – Why were the Hallway Hangers not successful?
Wed. Oct. 27 Sociological and Anthropological Foundations – Issues of Gender
- Myra and David Sadker, Failing at Fairness, pp. 1 -14 [e-reserve]
- Judith Kleinfeld, “Student Performance: Males versus Females, The Public Interest” 1999, Winter, pp. 3 – 20. [on-line database]
Guiding Questions: How, according to the Sadkers, is gender discrimination still occurring in classrooms? Why, according to the Sadkers, are girls marginalized in the classroom? Why does Kleinfeld believe that gender discrimination does no longer occur? What statistics does Kleinfeld use to support her argument?
Quiz # 2 handed out
Fri. Oct. 29 Sociological and Anthropological Foundations – Questioning Gender
- Blythe McVicker Clinchy, “On Critical Thinking and Connected Knowing.” In Liberal Education, 75, pp. 14 – 19. 1989. [e-reserve]
- Dorte Marie Sondergaard, “Poststructuralist approaches to empirical analysis.” In Qualitative Studies in Education, 15(2), pp. 187 – 204. [e-reserve]
Guiding Questions: Are women different from men in how they think and act? What specifically, are the differences between connected knowers and separate knowers according to Clinchy? What, according to Sondergaard, is the point of the Paper Bag Princess story? Why do the children resist it? Who, according to Sondergaard, is Kim (e.g. a “male,” a “female”)?
Quiz #2 due
Fri. Nov. 5 Sociological and Anthropological Foundations
Professor at conference – no class
2nd Critique Paper Due
Wed. Nov. 10 Political and Legal Foundations – Educational Reform
* Deborah Meier, The Power of Their Ideas
Guiding Questions: Meier argues for the importance of small, self-governing, schools of choice; why are these three things so important? What are Meier\’s “habits of mind”? How does Meier\’s school relate to her consistent desire to promote democracy in our society?
Web page due
Fri. Noy. 12 Political and Legal Foundations – Landmark Policy and Legal Cases *Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954) – [website]
- A Nation at Risk (1983) – [website]
- No Child Left Behind (2001) – [website]
Blackboard posting #7 due by Thursday at midnight – Should schools be used as the primary mechanisms for social change?
Wed. Nov. 17 Political and Legal Foundations – Teaching as a Political Act
- James Baldwin, “A Talk to Teachers”, pp. 131 – 137 [e-reserve]
- John Taylor Gatto, “A Different Kiind of Teacher”, pp. 158 – 167 [e-reserve]
- bell hooks, “Ecstasy”, pp. 201 – 207 [e-reserve]
Guiding Questions: Why does Baldwin claim that education is fundamentally a paradoxical act? What does Baldwin mean when he argues that a label says more about the person doing the labeling than about the person being labeled? What does Gatto mean when he argues that you can only teach who you are? Why is Gatto disparaging of the traditional educational system and the students going through it? What does hooks mean by “engaged pedagogy”? What does hooks mean that education is about being on the “razor\’s edge” or being “pushed off a cliff”?
Frl. Nov. 19 Political and Legal Foundations – Politics of Identity and (Dis)Ability
- George D. Spindler, “Beth Anne – A Case Study of Culturally Defined Adjustment and Teacher Perceptions” pp. 111- 126. [e-reserve]
- Ray McDermott & Herve Varenne,”Culture as Disability” In Anthropology & Education Quarterly 26(3), pp. 324-348. 1995. [e-reserve]
Guiding Questions: Why do the teachers choose Beth Anne as the representative “well adjusted” student? Does Spindler consider her well-adjusted? What, according to McDermott and Varenne, are the differences between three models of looking at education: deficit model, difference model, culture as disability model? What does it mean that culture is a disability? Is Adam disabled? What does it mean to have a disability?
Blackboard posting #8 due by Thursday at midnight – Is Beth Anne successful? Why or why not? Why do her teachers believe her to be “well-adjusted”?
Wed. Dec. 1
Fri. Dec. 3
Wed. Dec. 8
Fri. Dec. 10
Political and Legal Foundations Book critiques
Political and Legal Foundations – Cross-Cultural Perspectives
- G. Victor Sogen Hori, “Teaching and Learning in the Ritual Zen Monastery.” In. Journal of Japanese Studies, 1994, 20(1), pp. 5- 35 [on-line database]
- Nancy Ukai, “The Kumon Approach to Teaching and Learning: In Journal of Japanese Studies, 1994,20(1), pp.87 -113. [on-line database]
- IQ test – [website]
Guiding Questions: What, according to Hori, are the differences between “teaching by teaching” and “teaching without teaching”? What are the assumptions and implications of “teaching without teaching”? How does “teaching without teaching” lead, according to Hori, to mystical insight? What is the “kumon” approach? Why is repetition so important? What is “over-learning”?
Blackboard posting #9 due by Thursday at midnight. Are you intelligent based on your IQ test? What does your IQ test say about you?
Political and Legal Foundations – Conclusions
3rd Critique Paper Due [Experiential Learning Activity in-class]
Blackboard posting #10 due by Thursday at midnight – What use is the social foundations of education class? Who cares? So what?
Quiz #3 handed out
Mon. Dec. 13 Final Exam
Final quiz due
Critique Paper Questions
1st critique paper. The readings in the philosophical and historical foundations articulate very different philosophies of education, each premised on different visions of the role of schooling in our society. They put forward differing educational goals (e.g. freedom, cultural literacy, lifelong learning) and suggest highly divergent means by which to achieve such goals. What is your own philosophy of education? How does this relate to your vision of the role of schools in society? How should such goals be accomplished in your classroom and/or in society as a whole? What is the historical precedent, if any; for your vision? Use at least two authors from the readings to engage with these issues. You should be able to adequately describe, analyze, and critique the perspectives of the authors you are using (see grading rubric for specifics).
2nd critique paper: The readings in the sociological and anthropological foundations suggest that American education may not be truly equitable; it may not be a place where all children have access to an excellent education. Issues of race, ethnicity., class, language, and gender (among others), are intertwined in complex ways to students\’ academic achievement and sense of self. As Jay Macleod would argue, American education may be better understood in terms of structural determinism rather than radical free agency. Or as Richard Rodriguez may suggest, notions of academic success and assimilation are mutually dependent. Analyze one or more of these issues. For example, to what extent do we have free will to pursue our educational aspirations, regardless of our race, gender, or ethnic group? Is education the primary variable in a successful future? Is American education a “level playing field”? Is assimilation a necessary but not sufficient prerequisite to academic success? Your paper should ideally work on explicating interrelations: (a) between readings (e.g. Delpit, Ogbu, and/or Macleod); (b) between variables (e.g. race, class, and/or gender); or (c) between discourses (e.g. readings, your educational experiences, and/or service-learning project).
3rd critique paper: Choose a topic/issue of your choice and analyze it. You may choose to focus on one or more readings throughout the semester, your own educational experiences, your service-learning project, the experiential learning activities, and/or your classroom observations. Regardless of your focus, your paper must make some direct reference and linkage to class readings and other activities engaged in throughout the semester (e.g. service-learning, classroom observations)
Rubric for Grading Critique Papers
A critique does not denote a negative analysis. Instead, a critique involves a sensitive and thorough reading of the texts in question. This reading should not be for its own sake; in other words, while an accurate, concise, and well-articulated description of the texts is critical to your paper, such a description should be a first step to deeper analysis, reflection, critique, and synthesizing. By this I mean that the paper should be able to engage one or more of the following:
What is the purpose of the reading? What is the main argument?
How does the author support: his/her position? What are the implications of this argument?
How is this argument supported, extended, and/or contradicted by other readings?
Where do you stand on the author\’s position?
What aspects of your own experiences as a human being and as a student support and/or contradict this author\’s perspective?
Why do you believe as you do on these points? What are your assumptions and presuppositions?
How has this reading affected your position and/or understanding of this issue?
What are the assumptions of the reading? What is glossed over in the reading?
What (or who) is kept silent/silenced in the reading?
What are some unintended consequences of the conclusions of the reading? What are some of the limitations of the conclusions of the reading?
Do other readings support, extend, and/or contradict this argument? What are the implications if there is major disagreement and/or contradiction in the readings?
How does this reading relate to other course readings? To classroom observations? To the service-learning project? To the experiential learning activities? To your own educational experiences?
What implications does this reading have upon your classroom observations, experiences, etc.? What implications does this reading have upon your perspectives concerning the issues brought out?
If accurate, how does the reading modify and/or support: your perspectives concerning teaching and learning? To the functioning of a school? To the goals of education for our society?
Your paper may take any shape or form, use a formal or informal voice, be first- or third-person, etc. You may want to make use of Gettysburg’s writing center. In general, though, your paper should have the following components:
Purpose – this is where you outline what you are going to, write about and why.
Main thesis – this is where you state, clearly and succinctly, the main argument/point you are discussing. Note that even if your paper does not reach a firm final conclusion on a specific issue (and many times there are no firm conclusions on the most important and complex issues), you should still be able to articulate the issue on which you cannot reach a conclusion.
Elaboration – this is where you spend more time articulating your main thesis. You may do so through multiple examples, in relation to, other readings, through different perspectives, etc.
Support/evidence – this is where you support your thesis by referring to other discourses, be they class readings, personal experiences, etc. Be aware that neither your subjective opinions (“I think this … “) nor received knowledge (“Dewey says this … “) are valid support in and of themselves. You must be able to show why your and/or others\’ perspectives are helpful to the discussion, what limitations, they may have, etc.
Evaluation – this is where you take a harder, deeper, and more critical look at your argument and the arguments; of others, you may have put forward. This is also where you begin to make some tentative and/or firm conclusions and implications of such conclusions.
Your paper will be graded based on the following rubric:
70% Clear and succinct description of the texts. Able to articulate the position of the author(s) and the main point(s). No analysis. No questioning. No reflection based on personal perspective. No linkage to other readings. No synthesis and extension of reflection, critique, and other readings.
80% Clear and succinct description and analysis of the texts. Able to articulate the position of the author(s) and the main point(s) and able to analyze it and/or reflect upon it. Rudimentary questioning and linkage to other readings. No synthesis and extension of reflection, critique, and other readings.
90% Clear and succinct description, analysis, critique, and linkage of the texts. Able to analyze, reflect, and question the author and the main point(s) based on personal perspective and/or other readings. Rudimentary synthesis and extension of reflection, \’critique, and other readings.
100% Clear and succinct description, analysis, critique; linkage and extension of the texts. Able to synthesize readings and personal perspectives in order to effectively argue for one’s position. Able to show how the central issue is related to other major issues.