Philosophy of

Fall 2001

Marist College

Dr. Greg Moses

Please consider the following links:

Course Description: In this course we will explore contemporary frontiers of the philosophy of education, looking at what's wrong, what's right, what could be, and how we might think differently about education today. Our first readings will contrast challenges of a veteran teacher with solutions from experienced researchers. Next, we will explore two texts organized around visions of community socialization. Our final set of readings will develop terms of desire and spirit.

Course Method: Course Method: The fifteen-week semester will be divided into three parts. In each five-week section, we will read two books and write a paper. Daily work will consist of readings, short written responses, and brief small-group discussions, followed by a forum where we will review main points and issues that arise. The process is designed to sustain an exploratory attitude toward materials, inviting students to participate in critical reconstruction of meanings suggested by our texts.

Outcomes: By the end of the course, students should be able to develop their own philosophies of education, informed by some of the latest work in the field. Participation, papers, and portfolios will provide regular opportunities to assess student development.

Required Texts (in order of use):

  • John Taylor Gatto. Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling. Gabriola Is., BC: New Society, 1992.

  • Alfie Kohn. The Schools Our Children Deserve: Moving Beyond Traditional Classrooms and "Tougher Standards. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999.

  • Mary Field Belenky, etal. A Tradition that Has No Name: Nurturing the Development of People, Families, and Communities. New York: Basic Books, 1997.

  • Asa G. Hilliard. The Maroon Within Us: Selected Essays on African American Socialization. Baltimore: Black Classic Press, 1995.

  • Kelly, Ursula A. Schooling Desire: Literacy, Cultural Politics, and Pedagogy. New York: Routledge, 1997.

  • Rachael Kessler. The Soul of Education: Helping Students Find Connection, Compassion, and Character at School. Alexandria, VA: Assn. for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2000.

Course Requirements: The following areas each count for 25 percent of the final grade:

  • Preparation, participation, and portfolio

  • Paper One: On Problems and Promises in Today's Education.

  • Paper Two: On the Meaning of Community Socialization for Education.

  • Final Paper: On Terms of Desire and Spirit in Education Theory.

Portfolio and Participation: Brief written preparations are due in class at the beginning of class. Grade penalties apply whenever students or preparations fail to appear on time. For instance, any preparation submitted via mailbox will be marked with a penalty. At the end of the course, students will be asked to submit portfolios of their daily preparations. Grades for these portfolios will be based upon completeness of collection, thoroughness of preparations, and responsiveness to assessments.

Attendance Policy: More than two unexcused absences will result in penalty of one full letter from the final grade. More than three unexcused absences will result in penalty of two full letter grades. More than four unexcused absences and the instructor reserves the right to issue a failing grade for the course. A documented excuse will be accepted within ten days of an absence.

Weather: We will miss class for weather only if the college announces a closing. Please call the college weather line.

Schedule of inquiry:

Part One. These American Values: In this section of the course, we will explore two books that help situate the problems and promises of U.S. education today: the first book offers testimony from an experienced New York teacher; the second book offers analysis from an experienced researcher. Together, these books allow us to explore what we think are main issues in schooling today.

The first paper will ask students to present what both authors say about American education, critically evaluate the contributions of these authors, and develop an original sketch of American education in our own experience. Write two pages of scholarly explication for each author, and three pages of critical response that address American education in terms of challenges and opportunities that concern you. The result will be a seven-page essay.
Due Oct. 8.

Assessment will be based upon completeness of the assignment, diligence of scholarship, coherence of the several parts, critical acumen, and original contribution. Better essays will demonstrate conceptual organization of ideas rather than point-by-point review.

Sep. 10-Introduction: Re-Freshing Education
Syllabus, books, & methods. First chapter assignments. Welcome to the House of Life.

Sep. 17-Miseducation in America
Text: Gatto entire.
Preparation: One paragraph scholarly summary of a chapter, one paragraph focus on an issue with critical response, one paragraph of your own experience as student or teacher.
Workshops: Sharing preps, issues, responses, and experiences.
Forum: What & how we teach & learn.

Sep. 24-Tougher or Better?
Text: Kohn, Chs. 1-6.
Preparation: As above, one paragraph scholarly summary, one paragraph focus and response, one paragraph on your experience.
Workshops: Sharing preps, issues, responses and experiences.
Forum: Rigor mortis?
Video: The drama of education. Class choice.

Oct. 1-School of New Love
Text: Kohn, Chs. 7-10 & Appendix A.
Preparation: Summary, focus & response, experience.
Workshops: Sharing.
Forum: What's love got to do with it?
Video: Part two: drama of ed.

Oct. 8-First Paper Due
Workshops: Sharing summaries.
Forum: Selected readings.

Part Two. In the first part, we explored some challenges and proposals for education today. In this section, we will focus on the theme of education as community empowerment. In the Belenky text, we see how community education works for several women's initiatives. In the Hilliard text, we will explore the meaning of African-American community socialization. How might these explorations contribute to our own philosophies of education?

The second paper will provide scholarly explication of both texts and then explore the meaning of community education for our own philosophies of education. As with the first paper, two pages of explication will cover each author, followed by three pages of commentary, yielding a total paper of seven pages. Assessment criteria for the first paper will apply. Due Nov. 19.

Oct. 15-Otherness vs. Voice
Text: Belenky, Intro & Chs. 1-5.
Preparation: Summary, focus & response, experience.
Workshops: Sharing
Forum: Silence vs. a Circle of Learning.

Oct. 22-Public Voice
Text: Belenky, Chs. 6-11
Preparation: Summary, focus & response, experience.
Workshops: Sharing
Forum: Ella Baker's Inspiration of Developmental Leadership.

Nov. 5- An African Center
Text: Hilliard, pp. 7-30, 31-49, 50-70, 71-89, 90-109.
Preparation: Summary, focus & response, experience.
Workshops: Sharing
Forum: Styles of Community Socialization.

Nov. 12-KMT
Text: Hilliard, pp. 110-127, 128-148, 149-167, 168-193, 194-218..
Preparation: Summary, focus & response, experience.
Workshops: Sharing
Forum: Maroon within.

Nov. 19-Second Paper Workshop
Workshops: Sharing summaries.
Forum: Selected readings.

Part Three. The readings in this section of the course explore some key terms in the philosophy of education such as literacy, cultural politics, pedagogy, connection, compassion, and character. Kelly investigates eros as a multi-dimensional energy that sustains teaching and learning. Kessler is interested in spirit and soul. Both texts reach for terms that the authors believe have been inadequately investigated as focal resources for re-thinking education as we know it.

The final paper will be similar in format to the first two, with an expanded section for the student's own philosophy of education. Write two pages each of scholarly presentation on the work of Kelly and Kessler. Then write five pages exploring your own philosophy of education. Total of nine pages. Due during scheduled final exam period.

Nov. 26-Eros & Education
Text: Kelly, Ch. 7.
Prep: Summary, focus & response, experience.
Workshops: Sharing preps.
Forum: Hopes & hazards of desirable teaching.
Video: Student choice.

Dec. 3-Making the Case for Desire
Text: Kelly, Chs. 1-6.
Prep: Summary, focus & response, experience.
Workshops: Sharing preps.
Forum: Getting to desire.
Video: Continued.

Dec. 10-Dialogue & Collaboration
Text: Kessler, Conclusion
Prep: Summary, focus & response, experience.
Workshops: Sharing preps
Forum: Getting away from fear & standoff.

Final Exam=Final Paper Workshop (during scheduled exam period).

Contact Information
Office: 322 Fontaine
Phone: x2217
Email: greg.moses@marist.edu
WWW. gregmoses.net