Friday, October 24, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Rethinking the Course at Midterm

Thank you all for your feedback about the course at the halfway mark. Here are some thoughts in response and some ideas for how we should proceed (mixed in are some observations gleened from your midterm exams as well):

• We should look at how states are comparable (or not) based on standards and testing; this ties in with NCLB and other issue we have addressed. See this link from the Fordham Institute.

• What are at-risk students? And what should we do about them?

• Teaching as a career—pros, cons, and such.

• Types of schools: public, private, charter, magnet. . .

• More focus on the text—What is important?

• More on certification, alternative certification, and other avenues to teaching. Look at the Furman Education Department web page, the NCATE web site, and the SC Department of Education.

• More on the theories and practices (pedagogy) in teaching.

• More on poverty, and addressing it in schools.

• How to manage the real-world (that is traditional) if you are a nontraditional teacher?

• Teacher evaluation and retention.

• More on educational thinkers (like Freire and Kozol), except including the more traditional thinkers. See the link to Meirer and Ravitch for more on this. Some conservative/traditional educational thinkers to explore: Diane Ravitch, E. D. Hirsch, B. F. Skinner, Chester Finn.

• School choice, vouchers, etc. See this link to NCSPE for research on these topics.

Now, some responses. . .:

• I recognize that our textbook has a huge amount of information. I do not ascribe to the belief that there is a fixed amount of knowledge you must "learn"; therefore, I do not worry about "covering the right things" (those ideas are supported by Hirsch noted above). So I am not trying to identify for you the "right" material. Be patient. I believe you are learning a great deal of important things, but we will never learn everything. . .

• I will help with guidelines foe "graded" work, but please ask. If you do not ask, I am comfortable with you experimenting.

• Your writing needs to be MORE SPECIFIC. Your beginnings are vague and lifeless—push yourself to be specific and interesting from the first words. We'll work on this.

• I also recognize that I do not impose as much structure as you want (or feel you want). That is intentional. That is my educational philosophy so I try to practice what I preach. I believe you should create and follow the structure you want and need. But I certainly am available for input to help you make those decisions.

School Vouchers and Religious Freedom

Education professor Scott Henderson has an excellent Op-Ed in The Greenville News today:

School vouchers endanger religious freedom

Friday, October 17, 2008

REMINDER at Midterm!


Reading assignments (e-journals):

You should have major text reading completed BEFORE the week of the assignment, and you should submit a written e-journal (by email) as a response to that reading due BEFORE Wednesday @ 10:30 AM. Put the text reading in your SUBJECT line (ex. Chapter 1, Webb) and submit your response in the BODY of the email; DO NOT SEND AS AN ATTACHMENT. Many prefer to do text responses in Word; then copy and paste into email body.
[ ] Pt. 1—The Teaching Profession (Webb, 1-2)
[ ] Pt. 2—Philosophy and Its Impact on the Schools (Webb, 3-4)
[ ] Pt. 3—Historical Foundations of Education (Webb, 5-7)
[ ] Pt. 4—Schooling in a Diverse and Multicultural Society (Webb, 8-10)
[ ] Pt. 5—Legal and Political Control and Financial Support (Webb, 11-13)
[ ] Pt. 6—Curriculum and Instruction (Webb, 14-15)
[ ] Pt. 7—Projections for the Future (Webb, 16)

Supplemental Texts:

[ ] Kozol, J. (2008). Letters to a young teacher. TBD.

[ ] Hersch, P. (1999). A Tribe apart: A journey into the heart of American adolescence. New York: Ballentine Books.

Field Component:

[ ] Virtual School Observations (12 hrs.)
[ ] School Board Observation (2 hrs.)
[ ] Tutoring/ Reflection (12 hrs.)

Class-based Assessments:

[ ] Mid-term self-evaluation/course evaluation

Group Presentation:

Students in arranged groups will present to the class an educational issue or topic. These presentations should last between 16-20 minutes, and will be graded on concision, thoroughness, and clarity. Topics must be approved by the professor one week before presentation dates.

Essay on Education:

Prepare a scholarly, documented essay on the topic you chose for your group presentation. This should be documented in appropriate APA format (See Conventional Language web link on the course blog). You should consult your professor during the drafting of this essay; an initial draft of the final essay must be submitted at least two weeks before the final due date. Essay is due by the end of the course (exam date).

Final Portfolio

Submit all work in a final portfolio on the final exam date, December 16, 2008 (final portfolio is your final exam). Use this grade sheet to submit work; be sure to organize and include all work designated on this sheet.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Diversity and Tolerance in Schools?

Consider this study on harassment.

Who is to blame. . .?

Consider the influence of wealth/poverty when we consider health:

Family Income Impacts Children's Health

Child-health report shows wide gaps according to wealth, education

Note the study itself:

America's Health Starts With Healthy Children

A snapshot of each state is also available if you scroll down on the link above.

Midterm and course evaluation

Please complete the course evaluation and turn that in ASAP.

Midterm (DUE Monday, October 20, 2008):

• Email as an attachment; name file "yourlastname.EDU111midterm.doc"

• Exam prompt:

Discuss in three or so pages how EDU 111 has impacted so far your assumptions brought to this course related to teaching, learning, and schools.

Please be specific about the assumptions you brought into the course and how the course has led you to ask questions or change your views.

Be sure to include discussions and references to your text readings, Kozol’s book, class discussions, supplemental readings provided on your course web page, tutoring, and group presentations.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Supplemental Book Assignments—A Reminder

Kozol is now DUE Wed 10/15/08; the assignment per your syllabus:

Book Questions:
You will need to answer the following study questions for the supplemental books (Kozol and Hersch). Your answers should be typed, if possible. They are due on the dates we are scheduled to discuss the books in class:

Questions for Kozol:
a) What are some key suggestions made by Kozol for young teachers?
b) What philosophical and ideological commitments drive Kozol’s discussion?
c) Does this book tell us anything about how our educational system works? If so, what?
d) If you had to give the book a different title, what would it be? Why?


What is failure?

Great Op-Ed in The State.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

To consider. . .

Paulo Freire (1998), Pedagogy of Freedom

“If I consider myself superior to what is different, no matter what it is, I am refusing to listen. The different becomes not an ‘other’ worthy of any respect, but a ‘this’ or ‘that’ to be despised and detested. This is oppression” (p. 108)

“It is this: If education cannot do everything, there is something fundamental that it can do. In other words, if education is not the key to social transformation, neither is it simply meant to reproduce the dominant ideology” (p. 110)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Schedule Adjustments: October 6-October 17

M, Oct 6: Group work IN-CLASS to prepare for presenting

W, Oct 8: Group presentations (volunteers, then lottery)

F, Oct 10: Group presentations (volunteers, then lottery)

M, Oct 13: Group presentations [IF needed]; Kozol, Letters discussion in-class; Kozol proof DUE

W, Oct 15: Kozol, Letters discussion in-class

F, Oct 17: Mid-term (guidelines will be provided)