A critical examination of contending views, past and present, regarding the nature and role of educational institutions in American society

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EPE 301 Education In American Culture

A critical examination of contending views, past and present,

regarding the nature and role of educational institutions in American society.

Instructor: Classroom:

Office: Day & time of class:

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Course Description:

EPE 301 explores the context of teaching and learning in American society, both within and outside of the classroom. EPE 301 critically examines different perspectives on education and culture, explores anxieties and aspirations about schools, the ways popular culture influences schooling, and the impact of race, class, gender, ethnic, and regional dynamics, both past and present, on teaching and learning. EPE 301 considers what roles schools play in constructing and perpetuating both inequalities and opportunities as well as the specific dimensions and practices of schools which marginalize or privilege particular groups of people.

Goals for Student Learning related to EPE 301 Content:

  • To promote skills of critical analysis by examining historical and contemporary debates about the nature of schooling and education in American society.

  • To critically analyze differing historical and contemporary definitions of education and culture.

  • To understand the social, economic, and political dimensions of schools that shape the possibilities of education.

  • To explore the ways in which race, class, gender, ethnicity, rurality, and nationality mediate student and teacher subjectivities and shape the processes and organization of schooling.

  • To develop an increased awareness of what it means in school cultures to be a person of our own gender, race, class, etc., as well as understand how these categories affect those who are different from us.

Required Texts:

  • Beals, Melba Pattillo

1994 Warriors Don’t Cry: A Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock’s Central High. New York: Washington Square Press. (ISBN 0 67186639-7)

  • Kozol, Jonathon

  1. Savage Inequalities: Children In America's Schools. New York: Harper Perennial. (ISBN 0-06-097499-0)

  • Stevens, Edward, George H. Wood and James J. Sheehan (Eds.)

  1. Justice, Ideology, & Education: An Introduction to the Social Foundations of Education. Fourth Edition. Boston, MA: McGraw Hill. ISBN 0-07-061479-2)

Upper Tier Writing Option:

EPE 301 has been approved as a writing-intensive (W) course to fulfill the upper tier of the graduation writing requirement (GWR) and students have the option of taking this course as a W course. In order to receive W credit for this course, you must have successfully completed the first-year writing requirement (ENG 104 or its equivalent) and have completed at least 30 hours of coursework.

Learning Outcomes related to the Upper Tier Writing Option:

  • Write a paper that is essentially free of mechanical errors (grammar, punctuation, spelling, and syntax) and awkwardness, using a style that is appropriate to the purpose and audience.

  • Demonstrate an ability to discover, evaluate, and clearly present evidence in support of an argument in the subject area and utilize documentation that conforms to the formats and the citation conventions of the subject area.

  • Be aware that composing a successful text frequently takes multiple drafts, with varying degrees of focus on generating, revising, editing, and proofreading.

  • Write a capable, interesting essay about a complex issue (discipline-specific) for a general university audience.

Draft-and-review process:

All papers will be reviewed by the instructor with written feedback. A draft prospectus of the field based inquiry project is required. In addition to the instructor written feedback on this draft, a working session will be conducted in order to enlist peer review.

GWR Grading:

To pass the course and fulfill the upper tier of the GWR, you must submit all formal writing assignments (in draft and final forms) and earn a grade of C or better on each assignment. Any major assignment that receives a D or below must be revised to reflect competency and resubmitted. You must schedule a conference with the instructor in such a case. You may resubmit a revised assignments 1 time. If you fail to achieve a C grade on the final version of any major writing assignment, you will receive a failing grade for the course. Note that assignments or requirements other than the formal writing become a factor in the final determination of your course grade only if you have achieved a grade of C or higher on all formal writing assignments.

Socio-Cultural School Map

Schools are one of the few public arenas in which people of differing class, race, and cultural identities engage in regular and sustained interactions. Schools are therefore, an important place to witness patterns of race, ethnic, and class relations by exploring the daily workings of a school and how teachers and students respond to diversity. For this assignment you need to design a map showing the participation patterns and boundaries, inside and outside of the classroom, operative in a school of your choice. You also need to write a 4-5 page paper interpreting your social map and explaining how your interpretations connect to assigned readings in this course.

Reactive Essays:

Throughout the semester, students will be responsible for a series of critical commentaries on the readings. These essays should include the following areas:

1) Briefly summarize the main argument(s) that particularly interest you (one or two paragraphs only);

2) Outline the major contributions and weaknesses of the arguments;

3) How does you connect these readings relate to other texts in this class or in your other classes;

4) What assumptions are made about education and culture?

5) What are some of the key concepts, methods, and arguments?
Experiencing Diversity, Difference, and Privilege in Schools - Analytic Essay

You are to conduct two in-depth interviews with persons different from yourself about their educational experiences. The 4 to 5 page essay discussing these interviews should consider how race, class, nationality/region, and gender were\are interwoven into these persons' educational experiences and expectations. You will be expected to use concepts covered in class and readings to inform your analysis of your interviews.

Field-Based Inquiry Project

A field experience placement of 15 hours is required for all EPE 301 students. Using historical, interview, participant-observation, and/or document policy analysis, you need to analyze the educational dynamics in your field placement. This essay is an exploration of your field placement in relation to the concepts and perspectives addressed in this course. Your analysis should integrate course readings and discussion as well as include two journal articles not assigned in class. Either way, the final paper, 8 to 10 pages in length, should provide a clear, concise report of what the student has learned and how learning occurred, as well as include applicable course readings and additional literature. NOTE: Two copies of your final paper will be required. Please see the following SACS Assessment section for additional information.

NOTE: Final Paper and the SACS Assessment:

Please submit two copies of your final paper to the instructor. One copy will be graded by the instructor; the second copy will be used for SACS assessment and should be a clean copy, with only your social security number listed at the top of the page, with all other identifying information (your name, instructor name, and course and section number) removed.

Academic Integrity:

Part II of Student Rights and Responsibilities (available online at http://www.uky.edu/StudentAffairs/Code/ part2.html) states that all academic work, written or otherwise, submitted by students to their instructors or other academic supervisors, is expected to be the result of their own thought, research, or self-expression. In cases where students feel unsure about a question of plagiarism involving their work, they are obliged to consult their instructors on the matter before submission.

When students submit work purporting to be their own, but which in any way borrows ideas, organization, wording or anything else from another source without appropriate acknowledgment of the fact, the students are guilty of plagiarism. Plagiarism includes reproducing someone else’s work, whether it be published article, chapter of a book, a paper from a friend or some file, or whatever. Plagiarism also includes the practice of employing or allowing another person to alter or revise the work which a student submits as his/her own, whoever that other person may be. Students may discuss assignments among themselves or with an instructor or tutor, but when the actual work is done, it must be done by the student, and the student alone. When a student’s assignment involves research in outside sources or information, the student must carefully acknowledge exactly what, where and how he/she has employed them. If the words of someone else are used, the student must put quotation marks around the passage in question and add an appropriate indication of its origin. Making simple changes while leaving the organization, content and phraseology intact is plagiaristic. However, nothing in these Rules shall apply to those ideas which are so generally and freely circulated as to be a part of the public domain. (Section 6.3.1). The minimum penalty for an academic offense, such as cheating or plagiarism, is an E in the course (Section 6.4.1).

Writing Initiative Contact:

Questions about the W option should be referred to the Director of the UK Writing Initiative, Professor Janet Carey Eldred, eldred@uky.edu.

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