Dear Learners,

Your comments are very helpful to me. And I want to respond to some of them. In a normal graduate semester it takes several weeks for students to understand the direction (s) in which the syllabus is taking them.

We don’t have those several weeks. So absorbing the “map” the syllabus provides takes time and concentration. In a sense a “working through.” I think the syllabus is laid out very clearly with rich readings, discussion options and activities that we may choose from each day. W/the exception of our not catching up with all of the readings assigned for any one day, which I’m ok with, I think we’re on track. You are the keepers of your own “book” so to speak. It’s up to you to follow the threads of the course and if anything is not clear on the syllabus to ask me about it.

The focus of the course is an overview of the foundations of education. Foundations courses are text-based. The readings reflect that fact. They are not centered in pedagogy except insofar as the foundations of education inform everything we do as teachers. I’ve added the lesson planning assignment out of recognition that you would like to focus on teaching in addition to developing a better understanding of the foundations of education. I have searched endlessly for more foundational material on education in international schools and have not found it. I wish more of what we read would be focused on exactly that topic. Perhaps you can be of some help to me by finding some readings yourselves that link to international education especially in American and British schools around the world. Perhaps this is your task--to fill those spaces as international teachers/philosophers/sociologists/historians of education in your sites.

This is an idea course--and the ideas will connect (to some degree) by the end of the week. They are, hopefully, provocative ideas as the disciplines that make up foundations are varied and most interesting. But they cannot be “modeled.” We’ve done a fair amt. of philosophizing in class. We can’t read enough of the history of education (your project maybe?) to allow all of us to take on the role of educational historian but the chapters on cultures of curriculum do provide us with some history on those particular topics. As you know, sociologists study the relationship between schools and the larger society. Ray Rist is an example of a sociologist. Educational Sociology or The Sociology of Education is taught on many college/university campuses as a stand-alone course. There’s a great deal of research to read in this discipline. We can barely put our toes in that stream.

I suggest we take a reckoning of where we have been and where we want to be each day that we have left -- so that you don’t feel that we’re “rushing.” I like to have a number of activities/discussion going on in a 5 hour class period--too long for most of us to concentrate on any one thing. Some of you may agree with that format and others not. But we are adult learners and need to take responsibility for our own learning. The purpose of the final project is to honor each of your individual goals as learners and give you the opportunity to deepen your understanding of some of the content you have been exposed to in the course. Until you begin to fix on a topic I would rather not be any more explicit than that. I realize that putting the project in your laps may make some people uncomfortable but the very point is the freedom that comes with knowing that you can design your own learning focus for this project.

We’ll slow down and take time to clarify--and with 16 different students that’s a challenge--before moving on. Any expectations that are not clear? We’ll make them clear.

I appreciate your ++ comments and can tell you I am thoroughly enjoying the work you have done to date on discussions, projects, writing, etc. You are meeting all of my expectations for this course. And from what I have seen so far about your high standards for performance in this class, you would be wise to, instead, with some guidance from me, work to meet your own expectations for learning this week.

I welcome additional comments (here on the wiki or privately) as well as your ideas about what you would most like to accomplish in the days ahead. Let's do our best to meet all of our expectations on Tuesday.

Karen


Karen--Thank you for adapting (or letting the class's natural evolution take place) in such a way that we have time to work on our projects during class, finish lingering assignments and have smaller group discussions. I can only speak for myself, but it seems to me that the last couple days have been more effective while supporting an active learning environment. Lisa