Philosophy of Education
Dr. Greg Moses
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Course Description: In this course we will explore contemporary problems of violence and inequity in American life, asking about the role that education should play in addressing such issues. Then we will sample some important contributions to the philosophy of education, paying special attention to a new collection of women's philosophies. A classic text from Dewey will help us revisit issues of democracy, knowledge, and the role of education in America.
Assignments and Grades: The final grade will be based upon an average of the following components, each receiving equal weight. Please see the college catalogue for a general description of grading criteria. Also, please note that the instructor places heavy emphasis upon excellent habits of scholarly citation.
Outcomes: By the end of course students should be able to (1) discuss contemporary social issues with reference to expert literature, (2) articulate representative philosophies of education, (3) assess the likely merits of philosophies of education in relation to informed analysis of social issues, (4) and propose a personal philosophy of education that is linked to contemporary social challenges. Four papers will assess each objective in turn.
Attendance Policy: Students are expected to attend all classes. Given the wide range of personal needs that may arise, the instructor is willing to make allowance for one absence (the equivalent of one week.) Any absences beyond this limit must be excused and documented, or they will count against the student's final grade. Documentation will be accepted within two weeks of any absence. Two unexcused absences (two weeks) will result in a letter grade reduction from the final average. For more than three unexcused absences (three weeks), the instructor reserves the right to enter a failing grade.
Sept. 1--Introduction & Welcome to the "House of Life."
Sept. 8--Lost Boys
A. Thinking about the problem of violence in America
B. Thinking about the solutions and the role of education
Sept. 15--Failing at Fairness
A. Seeing the Hidden Lessons of Sexism and Racism
B. Thinking about prospects for solution
Assignment Due Sept. 29:
Seven page paper on the role of education in addressing the social challenges of violence and sexism in America. Summarize Garbarino ( 2 pages) and Sadker (2 pages.) Then reflect on your own assessment of the responsibility and impact that education may have toward these problems. Grades will be based upon (1) ability to provide interesting scholarly summaries of the texts, and (2) quality of reasoning that supports your assessment of the role that education might play in improving the problems of violence and sexism in America. The "C" paper will present competent summaries with appropriate scholarly citations, and will generally stake out a role for education. The "B" paper will begin to shape the textual evidence into a distinctive analysis that clearly prepares the reader for a careful reflection on the prospects for education. The "A" paper demonstrates thorough mastery of textual material and analysis such that a coherent essay flows from beginning to end, displaying distinctive engagement with the difficult problem at hand.
Sept. 29--Papers on Social Challenges
Oct. 6--Two women philosophers
Oct. 13--Two more women philosophers
Assignment Due Oct. 27:
Reviewing the five philosophers of education that we have studied, what in your opinion are the four important questions that a philosophy of education should address and why?[2 pages] How have these questions been addressed by the various figures (it is okay to show that they have not addressed a key issue) [5 pages]. How would you address these questions? [4 pages] The "C" paper will fulfill all items in the assignment with college-level competence. The "B" paper will begin to develop an interesting coherence in the arrangement of issues and figures in preparation for a personalized response. The "A" paper will exemplify mastery of the material as the student shapes a personalized and coherent approach to the philosophy of education. Please take care to "locate" your own positions in relation to the above philosophers.
Oct. 27--Papers on representative philosophies
Nov. 3--Dewey & Democracy
Nov. 10--Dewey & Aims of Education
Nov. 17--Dewey & Epistemology
Assignment due Dec. 1:
On key concepts in Dewey, their relation to other thinkers, and their relevance to contemporary education. Please identify four key concepts in Dewey, summarizing his philosophical approach to each (4 pages). Then survey the field of thinkers that we have investigated in this course to "locate" their relation to Dewey (4 pages). Finally, in your own opinion, assess each concept for its relevance to your own philosophy of education (4 pages). The "C" paper will fulfill all items in the assignment with college-level competence. The "B" paper will begin to develop an interesting coherence in the arrangement of concepts and figures in preparation for a personalized response. The "A" paper will exemplify mastery of the material as the student shapes a personalized, scholarly, and coherent approach to Dewey's philosophy of education.
Dec. 1--Papers on Dewey's relevance
Assignment due for finals:
Your personal philosophy of education. What are the most important issues that a philosophy of education should address and why? (1 page) How do you propose to address these issues and in each case how is your approach "located" among the philosophies of education that we have studied. Again, it is okay to find out that nobody has addressed an issue that you find most important, but please find the closest match and explain where and why it fails to meet your satisfaction (4 pages). This exercise is designed to serve as preparation for your succinct reply, during a job interview, to the question, "What is your philosophy of education?" The "C" paper demonstrates competence in each area of the assignment. The "B" paper begins to demonstrate an exemplary arrangement of issues, views, and scholarly background. The "A" paper exemplifies a thoughtful and original voice that is unified in tone and structure, demonstrating mastery of reflection and scholarship.
Dec. 8--Workshop on personal philosophies of ed
Final--Philosophies of Ed.
Dr. Greg Moses