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This course will focus on issues of diversity, social justice, and ethics, particularly within the context of PreK-12 education. Its purpose is to develop theoretical, conceptual, pedagogical, and curricular foundations for supporting issues of equity and access. Themes and topics will include issues of race and ethnicity, class and poverty, gender and sexual orientation, and identity and ethics. The course will use multiple pedagogical models -- such as group projects, research "deep dives," and in-class and field-based experiential activities and exercises -- to support students' engagement with these topics.
All readings will be available online either through Education Week (you will need to get a subscription) or through the course website. (See below.)
Windshield/Walking Survey You will conduct a “windshield” or “walking” survey of several specific neighborhoods in the Boston region. The goal is to conduct a series of systematic observations regarding specific communities’ physical, social, or economic character and conditions. A detailed outline of how to conduct this survey will be provided in class. You will present a summary of the report in class.
Education Week “Executive Summaries” Each week you will submit a 1-page document that summarizes an Education Week article. I will provide a specific term each week – such as “poverty” or “social capital” – that you will pair with a topic of your own choice, such as “immigration” or “early childhood education.” You will then use the “search” function in Education Week to choose a relevant article to read and summarize. The goal is to gain a deeper understanding of how issues of diversity, social justice, and ethics play out on a daily basis in PreK-12 education. The list of terms and a detailed outline of the structure of the “executive summaries” will be provided in class.
Deep Dive Into Theory You will choose a specific term – such as “culturally relevant pedagogy,” “structural racism,” or “affirmative action” – to investigate in depth. The goal is to understand the issue from multiple theoretical and practical perspectives. This may be done on your own or in a small group. A detailed outline of how to conduct this research project will be provided in class. You will present a summary of your findings in class.
Empathy Interview You will conduct an “empathy interview” with someone “different” from you. An empathy interview is an interview technique that attempts to understand the individual being interviewed in a more holistic and comprehensive manner, focusing particularly on the individual’s day-to-day experiences and perspectives. The goal is to engage in a process of (self)reflection regarding issues of identity and empathy regarding individuals different from oneself. This may be done on your own or in a pair. A detailed outline of how to conduct this interview will be provided in class. You will present a summary of this experience in class.
Final Paper Choose a topic/issue of your choice and analyze it. You may choose to focus on one or more readings throughout the semester and/or the experiential learning activities. Regardless of your focus, your paper must make some direct reference and linkage to two or more class readings throughout the semester.
Session 1 – May 25 – Introduction & Overview READINGS: