Druffel Syllabus for Second Half

Hi,

Here’s my proposed syllabus for the second half of the semester. Looking forward to your comments!

American Literature, American Learning Part II

Professor Cathy Davidson                                                            Spring 2016
cdavidson@gc.cuny.edu                                                             Graduate Center rm 3207
Danica Savonick
danicasavonick@gmail.com

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Am Lit, Am Learning looks at the history and future of American education. The course is split into two halves: the first three week unit examines nineteenth and early twentieth century primary documents to explain how American education became what it is today. The second half looks at ways to change American education.

COURSE GOALS: By the end of the course students will:

  • Understand the history of American education
  • Develop strategies to make American education more progressive

ASSIGNMENTS:

  • BLOGGING: In addition finishing the reading before each class period, students will post one blog on one of the sets of reading once in the semester. The students who didn’t post that week will comment on one of the blogs their classmates posted. Some of the weeks two people will post blogs. During those weeks, you need only comment on one of the posted blogs.
  • SYLLABUS: You will devise a rough draft of a syllabus for the second half of the semester and work with your colleagues to combine your rough drafts into the actual syllabus for the second half of this course.
  • FINAL PROJECT / TEACHING WORKSHOP: For your final project, you and your classmates will put on a teaching workshop at the Grad Center. This workshop will be a chance to share what you’ve learned about education with your colleagues with the goal of introducing them to new ideas they can include in their own classrooms. Students will form into groups with each group leading a part of the workshop sharing our findings and pedagogic ideas. Tasks to be complete for the workshop will be divided among students and include: securing a location to host the workshop; securing money for food; securing food for the workshop; producing flyers for the workshop; distributing flyers; and advertising for the workshop on social media. Those who aren’t handling those logistic goals will take the lead in organizing the presentations and lessons that will make up the workshop. The last three class periods will be set aside so you may meet and plan your workshop.

GRADING: Am Lit, Am Learning will practice contract grading. Contract grading assumes a good faith effort in every assignment. It only assigns grades based on how many assignments were turned in, not based on the quality of the assignments. This system frees students to try experimental responses to assignments, reduces competition for grades (thus increasing cooperation), and makes grading easier for the teacher. The contract is as follows:

For an A grade you must:

  • Complete your reading blog assignment on time
  • Post at least five comments in five different weeks in response to a reading blog during the week it is posted
  • Complete your Am Lit, Am Learning Part II syllabus (ie this assignment)
  • Comment twice on each Am Lit, Am Learning syllabus posted
  • Complete each part assigned for the final project.

For a B grade you must:

  • Complete your reading blog assignment on time
  • Post at least four comments in four different weeks in response to a reading blog during the week it is posted
  • Complete your Am Lit, Am Learning Part II syllabus (ie this assignment)
  • Comment once on each Am Lit, Am Learning syllabus posted
  • Complete each part assigned for the final project

For a C grade you must:

  • Post at least three comments in three different weeks in response to a reading blog during the week it is posted
  • Complete your Am Lit, Am Learning Part II syllabus (ie this assignment)
  • Complete each part assigned for the final project

For a D grade you must:

  • Complete your Am Lit, Am Learning Part II syllabus (ie this assignment)
  • Complete some parts of your assignment for the final project

COURSE POLICIES: We will follow the class constitution designed by the students.

Date Reading Homework In Class Activities Theme
Wed Mar. 9 John Marsh’s “Popular Education” in The Vermont Chronicle, 4 no 3.

 

Horace Mann’s “To the Teacher” from Educational Writings of Horace Mann.

 

John Dewey’s “My Pedagogic Creed”

Blogs by Kelly & Arinn

 

Comments by everyone else

Think / Pair / Share

 

Class discussion of texts

 

Generate pedagogic creeds in pairs

Nineteenth Century Education Thinkers
Wed Mar. 16 Maria Montessori’s “How the Lessons Should be Given” (Chap 6 from The Montessori Method)

 

Booker T Washington’s “Teaching School in a Stable and a Hen-House” (Chap 4 from Up From Slavery)

 

WEB DuBois’s “Of Mr. Booker T Washington and Others” (Chap 3 from The Souls of Black Folk)

Blogs by Nicky & Lisa

 

Comments by everyone else

Think / Pair / Share

 

Class discussion of texts

 

Split into groups and script an imaginary debate between DuBois and Washington

Early Twentieth Century Education Thinkers
Wed Mar. 23 No Class Comment or blog on hastac.org No Class No Class
Wed Mar. 30 Schooling provision from the 1833 Factory Acts

 

Excerpt from Karl Marx’s Capital V 1 mocking 1833 Factory Act

 

Oregon Compulsory Education Act

 

Chief Justice Warren’s opinion to Brown v Board of Ed

Blogs by Iris & Sameen

 

Comments by everyone else

Think / Pair / Share

 

Class discussion of texts

 

 

Laws about School
Wed Apr. 6 No Reading     Visit from Bill Kelly
Wed Apr. 13 “6 Principles of Critical Pedagogical Course Design”

 

“Surprise Endings: Putting the Lessons into Action” (Chap 8 from Field Notes)

 

“The University and the Undercommons” (Chap 2 from Harney and Moten’s The Undercommons)

Comments by Erica & Josh

 

Comments by everyone else

Think / Pair / Share

 

Class discussion of texts

 

Design lesson imaginary lesson plans in groups

Alternative teaching theories
Wed Apr. 20 Tina S Kazan’s “Dancing Bodies”

 

Virginia Zimmerman’s “Moving Poems

  Zotero Workshop

 

Think / Pair / Share

 

Class discussion of texts

Movement in the classroom
Wed Apr. 27 No Class Spring Break    
Wed May 4 No Reading   Plan workshop  
Wed May 11 No Class

Optional meeting

  Plan workshop  
Wed May 18 No Reading   Plan workshop  

 

12 comments

  • I particularly am interested in your suggested readings for March 30 and April 13.

  • I love your juxtaposition of Marx and laws about schooling, and I’m curious about what that will reveal. I also think that reading the text of those early laws will be pretty interesting- we tend to take state-mandated education for granted, either as a blessing or a curse. What kind of societies were those laws seeking to create or maintain?

    In this sense, it would be helpful to keep in mind that in many non-Western countries, primary and secondary education is still not mandatory, and therefore it’s not required that municipalities make it available.

  • Really looking forward to the session on movement. I have no idea what to expect – which is refreshing!

  • I like the idea of a Zotero workshop, especially as it could potentially inform our final project in some way.

  • I like the structure and progression of your lessons. It’s great to see one on movement in there, too!

  • Great, the Undercommons! I’ve got to say two big standouts for me: first, the grading policy… see my syllabus. Let’s extend contract grading. We all need to hold each other accountable not for the “same” things but, as you intimate, for the ways in which we use our complementary skills together. I’m sick of grades.

    Also– and I’m not sure how this will fit (or if it will), but your final project concept made me think immediately of two things: a serious/parodic “public service announcement” video or short “play” about educational practice or a documentary of [whatever we end up using our courses for]. These could be elements, or central projects, or nothing.

    Actually a third thing. Maybe in addition to movement in the classroom we could consider movement extra-classroom. Walking or outside, some boundary-breaking exercise (literally!). Maybe pair it with “Ah, Wilderness!” and Whitman.

    • I was also thinking – it’s one of the suggestions in my potpourri of final project ideas – of a video (or at least a script) that is both serious and parodic: reframing one or more of the issues we’re dealing with in the format of an old educational film like the ones I put on my syllabus.

      Actually, the film “Practicing Democracy in the Classroom” depicts a high school social studies course that is structured uncannily like our own. Quite surprising for the early 50s! Even if it doesn’t end up on the final syllabus, I encourage everyone to watch it – it’s entertaining and interesting on many levels.

      • Parody is a really intriguing suggestion, seems like it could operate as a powerful and efficient way to get a critique across while introducing new concepts. And, in the vein of Jade Davis’ suggestion last time, seems like a good way to remain playful.

  • Mike―
    really nice layout of assessments and expectations. I always appreciate clarity in this regard from professors, and you have done a great job of making the course look both focused and productive.

    I also appreciate your inclusion of Marx and the Undercommons on there. I think these could be productive chances to reflect on larger conceptual issues amidst all our necessary pedagogical pragmatism.

  • Michael,

    I like the cogency here, of the activities in class particularly, and the GC teaching workshop for a final project is a great idea. I’m just brainstorming, but might it be possible to combine our final projects, so that we as a class create a writing tutoring program from the ground up, and then share what we’ve learned from the process at a GC workshop/presentation. Let’s talk about that possibility later today. Fascinating texts you’ve included too. I wish there we had time to read everyone’s suggested texts! In any event, I deeply appreciate now having a curated reference library of compiled texts to read when I’m able.

  • Contract grading system now that is definite a different perspective on the grading system. Also I like your proposal for the March 16 date especially since I was not too familiar with the Montessori educational system. You do not hear as much about it now as you used to back when I was going to elementary school in the late 70’s.

  • Great marriage of historical and contemporary topics–something I’ve realized my own syllabus is sorely lacking.
    A genuine non-pointed question that occurs to me: Is it possible to overuse think-pair-share? Is part of its utility its novelty?

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