EDB 301 Social Foundations of Education, Fall 2015

CLEVELAND STATE UNIVERSITY
Department of Curriculum and Foundations
Social Foundations of Education – EDB 301, Fall 2015

Professor: David Backer, PhD
emails: david.backer@gmail.com;  d.backer@csuohio.edu
Office hours: Tuesday 1230pm-130pm, Thursday 2-4pm, by appointment

Basic Course Questions

What are the social foundations of education? Is the purpose of education to reproduce society as it exists, or improve society to make it better? What is critical pedagogy? How/why is critical pedagogy a way of teaching, learning, and studying the social foundations of education?

Course Objectives

Cognitive Objectives:

  1. Students will understand how historical, social, economic, & technological forces influence educational policy.  (Contextualism)
  2. Students will understand the dilemmas inherent in public education within a pluralistic democratic society.  (Contextualism)

Skill Objectives:

  1. Students will be able to analyze in an extended written and oral format historical, social, economic, and technological forces in shaping educational policy and practice. (Contextualism)
  2. Students will be able to apply course readings in class discussions, presentations, and assignments on topics related to cognitive objectives (Contextualism, Professionalism)

Disposition Objectives:

  1. Students will approach course material with a level of openness, demonstrating a willingness to critically examine their own and others’ point of view.  (Contextualism, Partnership, Professionalism)

Readings will be made available via PDF. (Linked in parentheses next to the week’s reading.)

As a WAC course, the following criteria must be met:

  1. Students must be required to write a minimum of 2,000 words in writing assignments.
  2. The required writing must be in at least two separate assignments or drafts. The instructor should give feedback to assist the student in preparing subsequent papers or drafts of papers. This must include feedback on the writing. It should not consist entirely of mechanical correction of punctuation and grammar.
  3. In order to receive a C or better in this course, the student must write at a satisfactory skill level (C or better). If the student’s writing is weak, but shows understanding of the course material, the student may be assigned a D, in which case WAC credit will not be received for the course.
  4. Maximum enrollment for this course is 35 or 45 with a graduate assistant.

Academic Honesty: The use of the intellectual property of others without attributing it to them is considered a serious academic offense.  Cheating or plagiarism will result in receiving a failing grade for the work or course.

Special Needs:  Please let me know if you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability.

Instructions for Assignments (see below, after Course Calendar)

Note on grading: Rather than the professor “giving” students grades, students will take the measure of their own progress throughout this course. In particular, after the midterm and final assignments students will complete a survey which requires you to propose a grade for yourself based on your own standards of success. The professor will either agree or disagree with the proposal, and students have the option to negotiate thereafter.

Course Calendar

Date Assignment Reading Link/pdf
Part 1: Central Themes and Ideas of Critical Pedagogy
8.25.15 Introduction to course, syllabus, and story circle: crafting your Social Action Proposal
8.27.15 FEI 1 Backer, D. Elements of Discussion (p. 1-51) (via email)
9.1.15 FEI 2 Farber, J. “The Student and Society: An Annotated Manifesto”  StudentandSociety
9.3.15 FEI 3 hooks, b. “Confronting Class in the Classroom” hooks–class
9.8.15 FEI 4 McLaren, P. Critical Pedagogy: A Look at the Major Concepts (first half) Critical Pedagogy Major Concepts
9.10.15 FEI 5 McLaren, P. Critical Pedagogy: A Look at the Major Concepts (second half) (same as above)
9.15.15 Update Open-Mic 1 No reading. Prepare a 5-minute informal presentation telling the class about the status of your proposal. Use language from the readings thus far if possible. Question: What have you accomplished? Seen? Whom have you spoken with? What are some challenges moving forward?
9.17.15 FEI 6 Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis, Schooling in Capitalist America, Chapter 1 BowlesandGintisSelections
9.22.15 FEI 7 Greene, M. “Teaching as Possibility: A Light in Dark Times” Maxine Greene
Part 2: Foundational Concepts For Critical Pedagogy
9.24.15 FEI 8 Freire, F. Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Chapter 2 FreireSelections
10 .1.15  FEI 9 Freire, F. Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Chapter 3  same as above
10.6.15 FEI 10 Marx, K. Selections from Capital, Vol.1 Capital 1 + Capital 2
10.8.15 FEI 11

Fill out mid-term survey (via email)

Ken, Ivy. “Beyond the Intersection: A New Metaphor for Race-Class-Gender Studies” Ivy – 2008 – Beyond the Intersection A New Culinary Metaphor for Race-Class-Gender Studies
Due 10.11.15 Mid-term Paper: Find a text that is at least 10 pages long and has to do with Ohio schools. Write a 2000-word critique of this text using concepts, arguments, and lenses from our readings thus far.

Possible texts: Peer-reviewed academic journal articles on Ohio education and schooling; histories of schools in Ohio/Cleveland; political speeches about Ohio schooling by local or federal politicians; mission statements or codes of conduct in the schools you went to; educational policies at the city, state, or national level; architectural blueprints for school buildings; local, state, or national standards, tests, and curricula; documents from for-profit educational corporations.

Tip(s): Make sure to cite at least three authors we’ve read in class so far, and apply those concepts to the text that you choose. Teach me something!

Part 3: Critiquing Critical Pedagogy
10.13.15 (no class)
10.15.15 FEI 12 Illych, I. Deschooling Society: “Why We Must Disestablish School” ivan-illich-deschooling-society
10.20.15 FEI 14 Ranciere, J. The Ignorant Schoolmaster: “An Intellectual Adventure” RanciereSelections
10.22.15 FEI 15 Ranciere, J. The Ignorant Schoolmaster: “The Ignorant One’s Lesson” (same as above)
10.27.15 FEI 16 Ellsworth, E. “Why Doesn’t this Feeling Empowering?” ellsworth-1989
10.29.15 Quick update on your Social Action Proposal No reading. Prepare a 5-minute informal presentation telling the class about the status of your proposal. Questions: Where are you at? What are you planning to produce or achieve as the semester comes to a close?
11.3.15 FEI 17 Guevara, E. “Socialism and Man in Cuba.” Guevara
11.5.15 FEI 18

Re-write of Midterm due

Freire, P. & Horton, M. We Make the Road by Walking, Editor’s Introduction WeMakeIntro
11.10.15 FEI 19 “Teachers’ Reflections on Critical Pedagogy in the Classroom,” Leanna Katz. eScholarship UC item 2c6968hc (1)
11.12.15 FEI 20

Also: Find an article that interests you for our co-created syllabus and bring it to class on Thursday.

Excerpts from Frederick Taylor’s Principles of Scientific Management  Taylor, F. W. (1911). New York, Harper & Brothers
11.17.15 FEI 21 “Critical Pedagogy: Intentions and Realities,” Maha Bali. Website link here 
11.19.15 FEI 22 “Critical Thinking and Critical Pedagogy: Relations, Limits, Differences” by N. Burbules and R. Berk  Link to the article here
11.24.15 FEI 23 “Critical Pedagogy and Teaching Mathematics for Social Justice”

or

“Evaluating Teacher Evaluation”

 302-1610-1-PB (1)

or

Evaluating Teacher Evaluation – 

12.8.15 Final Project presentations
12.10.15 Final Project presentations

Instructions for assignments

FEI papers

FEI paper are Fact-Evaluation-Interpretation (FEI) papers. These three words refer to a technique of writing meant to encourage close reading and discussion. You will have an FEI paper due for each course reading. Full credit on an FEI paper requires three components:

  • Write a factual question about the text and answer it yourself by looking it up elsewhere (internet, wikipedia, dictionary, encyclopedia)
    • Factual questions include: What does [a word] mean? Who is [a person]? When did [an event] happen? What is [a thing]?
  • Write an evaluative statement about the text (500 words)
    • Evaluative statements include: I disagree with [position or idea]. I relate to [idea] because in my own life [personal experience]…
  • Write an interpretive question about the text (no answer, 100-300 words)
    • Interpretive questions include: When the author says [passage], does s/he mean [an interpretation] or [another interpretation]? On the one hand, the author says [passage], but then elsewhere s/he says [different passage]–is that inconsistent? Is the real meaning of what the author is saying [your thought], or is it something else? When I read [passage], I think it means [your thought]–but I’m not sure because [doubt]. Am I right? In one reading, I thought [something] was true, but in this reading the author says [passage]. Is [something] really true?

(Please include page numbers for all questions and statements in the FEI paper.)

Midterm Paper

Mid-term Paper: Find a text that is at least 10 pages long and has to do with Ohio schools. Write a 2000-word critique of this text using concepts, arguments, and lenses from our readings thus far.

Possible texts: Peer-reviewed academic journal articles on Ohio education and schooling; histories of schools in Ohio/Cleveland; political speeches about Ohio schooling by local or federal politicians; mission statements or codes of conduct in the schools you went to; educational policies at the city, state, or national level; architectural blueprints for school buildings; local, state, or national standards, tests, and curricula; documents from for-profit educational corporations.

Tip(s): Make sure to cite at least three authors we’ve read in class so far, and apply those concepts to the text that you choose. Teach me something!

Social Action Proposal and Final Project

Critical pedagogy means questioning, challenging, and changing the social status quo through teaching, learning, and studying. Part of this work is becoming an activist in schools and communities. At the beginning of the semester you will propose to complete a Social Action which you will present by the end of the semester. This project must involve a particular goal with particular people in a particular place in the Cleveland area, and have something to do with education (widely conceived).

For your social action you must do something and something must happen. You may work by yourself or in groups. You will have two check-ins throughout the semester to update the class on your progress. You may seek guidance from Dr. Backer and the class throughout the semester as well.

The Final Project will be a 15-20 minute presentation of your Social Action: You may show an original film documenting your work over the semester, write a reflective narrative telling the story of your social action, put on a performance of some kind, or even involve the class in some aspect of this action. Leave a trace of your social action work over the semester.

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