Hole 7 - EDUC 510 "Seminar: Recent Issues in Education"
Keith J. Conners, Ph.D.
Description: The seminar presents opportunities for consideration of selected recent issues in education and for students to share the results of their research on topics of interest. By definition, a seminar is a group of advanced students pursuing research and exchanging insights under the direction of a professor and in a format which relies upon thorough preparation, mutual sharing and lively interaction.
Objectives: Students will . . .
- Read, reflect, observe, question assumptions, argue and defend positions on important issues in education.
- Develop a theoretical framework for analyzing issues and resolving questions of ethical judgment in teaching.
- Summarize and report on the current research related to one major issue in education.
- Prepare a case study and accompanying annotation which focus on teacher decision-making.
- Share in the leadership of seminar discussions and participate actively in seminar activities.
- Prepare a report which summarizes current research, opinion and controversy on a contemporary issue. One way to conceive of this project is to imagine that you have been hired by a superintendent of schools or some other educational policy maker to provide background information on the issue. For example, if a school district were contemplating a change to all-day kindergarten, the superintendent would need to become well informed about the current research on the subject, would have to prepare herself for public hearings and staff meetings, and would want to anticipate challenges and questions which would be raised before the policy is adopted. Your report should provide enough information and balanced perspective so that the superintendent could speak intelligently on the issue, could cite research supporting the proposal, and could respond to objections and expressions of concern.
- Monitor for at least 6 weeks the columns of a syndicated columnist appearing regularly in a newspaper, or read a comparable number of essays from an anthology by such a columnist. George Will, Ellen Goodman, William Raspberry, Anthony Lewis, Mona Charen, Cal Thomas and others of their ilk represent a variety of ideologies and philosophies which appear regularly in newspapers and anthologies.
- Read the major cases in the Hostetler text, write reflectively on at least 5 of them, and participate in the scheduled discussion of cases. Some of the cases will be considered in small group discussion, others in full group format; all students will rotate the responsibility for serving as facilitators of case discussions.
- Submit at least 4 "journal" entries of personal reaction/reflection on educational issues encountered during the semester. The intent of this assignment is to record your reaction, reflection, and questions related to educational issues. The inspiration for journal writing may be news stories of the day, the Thoughtful Teachers, Thoughtful Schools anthology, the writing of syndicated columnists, your asynchronous assignments, case studies, situations encountered in your professional life, or previous class discussions. The instructor will read and react to journal entries prior to every class period, and will include topics and insights raised in journals as part of seminar discussion. It makes sense to weave together more than one source of inspiration or perspective on issues you address in the journals. While there are no required dates or firm deadlines for journals, it is expected that students will submit journal writing on 6 occasions spaced throughout the semester.
- Students who are unable to attend class may complete one or more asynchronous learning experiences from the options below, based on consultation with the instructor:
o attend and write a reaction paper on the Riall Lecture;
o take a personally planned educational field trip and discuss what you learned about some current issue;
o create a visitor's guide to the best websites one can visit on some topic or issue in education;
o take your superintendent of schools, state legislator, school board member, university administrator or other comparable policy maker to lunch and write a 2-3 page paper about what you learned from chatting about current issues in education.
- Participate in the facilitation of discussion for cases and other topics. Students will serve as facilitators on a rotating basis. The expectation of facilitators is simply to select the format for discussion, provide discussion initiators, monitor interaction to assure equitable participation, keep time and provide closure.
- Present at semester's end a brief, informal summary report on the educational issue which has been the primary focus of the your "superintendent's" report.
- Develop a case study of 500 words or less following the models presented in the Hostettler text. Annotate the case with discussion questions and "what-if" scenarios
- As a contingency, students may be asked to complete brief accountability quizzes based on weekly reading assignments. The instructor starts with the assumption that grad students will "do their homework" and come to class having read the agreed upon cases and/or articles scheduled for discussion that week. Failing this, tacky little quizzes will be used to assure accountability.
- Students will bring to the seminar ample measures of openness, respect for the views of others, skepticism, curiosity, civility, and occasional passion. It is expected that students will read actively throughout the semester in the text, in the professional literature of their field, in daily newspapers and weekly newsmagazines, and in other sources as appropriate.
- Active participation in seminar implies regular contribution to discussion. Among the forms of appropriate contribution are personal experience, observation, and opinion. More valued contributions take the form of objective factual information, the documented findings of scholars and researchers, the published opinions of experts, and thoughtful questions suggested by serious reflection on an issue. Students will be evaluated on the basis of active participation, not mere attendance.
- A seminar is not a lecture course, and the instructor makes no claim to omniscient insight on educational issues. Rather, the nature of a seminar suggests shared perspectives, debate, questioning, and occasionally spirited controversy in which students and instructor participate mutually.
- An "issue" is a topic or question about which reasonable people may hold differing points of view. The seminar will attempt to focus on educational issues which have been and continue to be debated by the public, by policy-makers and by the profession.
- Writing is an integral and visible part of the critical thinking process. As such, student writing is intended to assist in the development of ideas as well as in documenting positions on an issue. In addition to the assigned writing requirements of the course, we may occasionally write in class as a means of reflecting and organizing thoughts prior to or following discussion.
- Evidence that students have fulfilled reading expectations and other assignments will be gathered through journal writing, seminar discussions, and, as a last resort, tacky little quizzes.
- Discussion facilitation implies preparation to moderate and guide discussion for a particular case study or topic. In so doing, students will:
a. assist in selecting the readings from the texts at least one week prior to the class meeting of the discussion;
b. select the format for discussion;
c. frame and focus the issue at the beginning of discussion;
d. invite and encourage participation from all members of the seminar (attention to grouping for small group discussion is recommended);
e. keep discussion focused and balanced as moderators during the session;
f. provide closure, and solicit "reflective questions" from the group which may be addressed in future discussions.
- There are no deadlines for submission of papers and projects, except for University regulations regarding incomplete grades. However, journal writing must be turned in regularly throughout the term so that the instructor may prepare for class discussion on topics of common interest and provide individual feedback to students. Those papers which are received before the final class meeting of the term will receive extensive feedback in addition to a grade. Any work received on or after the final class will receive a grade only.
Texts: Hostetler, K.D. Ethical Judgment in Teaching (1996)
Editorial Projects in Education. Thoughtful Teachers, Thoughtful Schools (1996)
asynchronous assignments may be negotiated as detailed in the syllabus
A = 93% or higher
B+ = 88-92%
B = 83-87%
C+ = 78-82%
C = 70-77%
D = 65-69%
F = <65%
||30% (includes facilitation and maybe tacky little quizzes)|
|case study and annotation
Play through - Hole 8: ELED 411 "Instructional Analysis in the Elementary School"
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