syllabus--fall 07 - Westmont College

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Westmont College

Fall 2007


ED 105

Perspectives on Cultural Diversity and Education (4 units)




Instructor
: Dr. Andrew Mullen

Office
: Porter Center

3

Phone
: 565
-
6288

E
-
mail
:
amullen@westmont.edu


Note tha
t this is probably the most efficient way to contact instructor.

Office hours
: Monday
& Wednesday, 3:15


5:15

Although technically these are drop
-
in hours, I recommend calling or e
-
mailing for an a
ppointment. If
official
hours are not convenient, you ma
y also schedule an appointment at another time.


Course time and location
: Voskuyl 108

Tuesday & Thursday, 1:15


3:05



Catalog description
:


Introduces students to the changing cultural diversity in California
and the nation,
and
issues of multicultural
education relevant to K
-
12 schooling. Crosscultural field
experience required.


Fulfillment of Westmont’s General Education requirements
:


Thinking Globally


One of the aims of a liberal arts education has always been to develop a less provincial,
more co
smopolitan view of the world. While many courses, particularly in history,
foreign languages, and the social sciences,
may naturally
contribute to such a view of the
world, this course is designed explicitly to develop a less cultu
re
-
bound perspective on
schools and the task of teaching.



In this course, you will be invited to develop greater understanding of, and greater
capacity to respond to, students from a variety of groups outside the American cultural
mainstream. As such the course fulfills Westm
ont
’s
General Education requirement in
Thinking Globally.


Writing Within the Major


In grappling with issues as complex and potentially explosive as those in this course,
it is essential that we bring to the task our best individ
ual
and collective thinkin
g.

2

One means of cultivating careful thinking is

to

reflect

in writing. That is

to say
,
writing serves not only a record of our completed th
ought, but also as
a process
toward

thinking more carefully about the issues before us. In the process of setting
words and ideas on paper, we slow down our thinking, sifting and weighing and
paying attention to our ideas in ways that we may fail to do consistently when
talking or engaging in merely internal reflection.


In this course, you will be asked to submit f
our assignments that call for careful
attention to the written word. The clarity, forcefulness, and richness of your writing
will be considered in the evaluation process, in addition to your mastery of
traditional academic content. A
s such, the course fu
lfills Westmont’s General
Education requirement for a
Writing Intensive Course within the Major
.



Required texts
:




Guadalupe Valdes,
Con Respeto: Bridging the Distances Between Culturally
Diverse Families and Schools

An ethnographic Portrait
. Teacher
s College
Press, 1996.



Abigail & Stephen Thernstrom,
No Excuses: Closing the Racial Gap in
Learning
. Simon & Schuster, 2003.




Ruby K. Payne,
A Framework for Understanding Poverty
, 4
th

edition
. Aha
!,
2005.




Richard Rodriguez:
Hunger of Memory: The E
ducation of Richard Rodriguez

An Autobiography
. David R. Godine, 1981.



Intended course outcomes
:


By the end of this course, students should be better equipped to:




Identify major demographic shifts in California and the nation as a whole, and
their i
mpact on public education.




Identify major policy shifts pertinent to diversity, at the state and national levels,
and their impact on public education.




Explain different models of multicultural education, historically and today.




Articulate a personal ph
ilosophy of addressing cultural differences in the
classroom.





Identify distinctive historical circumstances and/or cultural elements pertinent to
the education of selected major sub
-
groups in America today.


3




Identify classroom practices that may help to
foster success for students from
major groups outside the cultural mainstream.




Demonstrate empathy for students, parents, and fellow
-
educators who are
culturally different than themselves.




Articulate an understanding of how selected aspects of the Christ
ian faith might
affect one’s approach to diversity in the classroom.




Demonstrate clear written communication skills, in particular (1) the
disposition to resist using clichés or other trite language to capture complex
and ambiguous experiences; and (2) th
e ability to demonstrate careful
analysis of texts, in addition to expressing personal reflections.



Course requirements
:


1. Attend each class session. Participate insightfully in large
-

and small
-
group
discussion.


2. Take two exams, both of which wil
l include limited
-
response and essay sections.




3.
Essay on Cultural and Educational Formation


Use Richard Rodriguez’s
Hunger of Memory

as a springboard to exploring in 8
-
10+
pages your own cultural and educational background. Reflect on your family
b
ackground, neighborhood, ethnicity, schooling, public and private religious experience,
your “historical moment,” and the ways in which all of these factors interacted to shape
your own identity.


Unlike superficially similar autobiographical exercises y
ou may have done in previous
classes (a) be sure to emphasize whenever possible points of similarity or dissimilarity
with Rodriguez. In other words, this essay should be as much about Rodriguez and his
formation as it is about you and your formation. In
clude enough appropriate detail and
insightful commentary to demonstrate conclusively your careful reading of
Hunger of
Memory
;
and (b) Like Rodriguez, be sure to give appropriate attention to the role of
schooling

in your own cultural formation

the
ways i
n which the school culture
reinforced, undermined, or otherwise interacted with
other cultural factors; and the

way
you in particular negotiated any hypothetical points of tension between school and (say)
family, church, or neighborhood.



4

Suggested d
ue
dat
e: September 13 (essays accepted without penalty till September 20).

Note that the clarity and gracefulness of your writing is a criterion for evaluation on
this and all writing assignments in this course.


In keeping with General Education Committee gui
delines for Wrting Intensive
Courses, this first assignemtn may be revised and resubmitted for re
-
grading, at
your discretion.

If you choose to re
-
submit your essay, an individual deadline must
be negotiated with the instructor within one week of receivin
g back your first paper.



4.
Informal
R
eflection on Ruby Payne


Write a
4
-
6

page reflection on the Payne volume. Among other possible questions, you
might respond to the following:




What does Payne mean by “poverty”?



Overall, do you find her a credible
and/or persuasive writer?



How do her observations confirm, or stand in tension with, your own life
experience?



Are there places where she inappropriately overgeneralizes?



What specific points of advice or insight from Payne will you carry into the
classroo
m? Advice or insight for interacting with other members of the
Westmont community who are not of your same social class?



Why don’t more people, in writing about teachers who work with students from
differing backgrounds, talk about social class? Is class

unimportant? Are we
simply more comfortable as Americans talking about race or ethnicity than we are
talking about class?


Due October 16.



5.
Con Respeto: Bridging the Gap between Educational Research and Real Live
Teachers

Guadalupe Valdes writes abo
ut “bridging the distance between culturally diverse families
[specifically, recent Mexican
-
American immigrant families] and schools. And certainly
one of my hopes in assigning this admittedly difficult volume is that it would help you

as a future teacher

in bridging that particular gap. But there is least one more
pedagogical purpose here, and that is to invite reflection

a bit more systematically than
in some
of your
other courses thus far

on the nature of educational research.


The four major texts ass
igned in this course are all designed to lead you to deeper
understanding of culturally diverse students. But methodologically, the four texts could
not be more different. Each begins with a different kind of evidence and processes that
evidence in a uni
que way. Now that you have had a chance to read all four, I’d like you
to go beyond

reflecting on the content, to
reflect on
how the author got there.



5

In addition to reading the text,

then, your task is to write a
4
-
6
+ page reflection on how
Valdes has c
onstructed her study.


Consider the following questions as you read and respond to the Valdes volume:




What is the author’s purpose in writing? What specific questions does she hope
to find answers to?



What methods does the author use in pursuing her inqu
iry? How are these
methods different than the methods pursued (say) by Stephen and Abigail
Thernstrom, or by Richard Rodriguez? What sorts of disciplinary training
(ie.,
what sort of academic coursework)
would you need if you were to decide to
follow in
the footsteps of Valdes, in pursuing this particular kind of educational
research?



What are some possible strengths and weaknesses of the methods that Valdes
employs? Is her work more, or less, enjoyable than some of the other studies you
have read in thi
s course? Is her work more, or less, valuable for teachers and
policy
-
makers, than the other studies?



What conclusions does the author come to? To what extent do these emerge from
her data, and to what extent might the conclusions have pre
-
dated the stud
y? Do
you tend to agree or disagree with the author’s conclusion?



Substance
-
wise, what did you learn from this book that you can apply as a
teacher?


6. Participate in a practicum through a class partnership with a teacher
and class
at
Santa
Barbara Co
mmunity Academy, a charter school serving a predominantly Latino
population.

As much as possible, the hours and assignments to be completed for the
practicum will be done as part of your regular class time.
As part of this experience,
you will write a sim
ple personal sketch of your assigned student partner, following a
structure that can be readily imitated as you student partner writes about you
.
Details to be shared separately.



6

Evaluation formula
:


Assignment






Potential value

Actual value


Ess
ay in response to Rod
r
iguez



20

pts.



__________

Brief essay in response to Payne



10 pts.



__________

Essay in response to Valdes




20

pts
.



__________

Practicum






10

pts.



______
____

Two exams @

20





40 pts.



____+_____







Course outlin
e
:


8/28

Introduction: course themes and purposes


8/30

Introduction, continued


Read: Hunger of Memory, Prologue and Ch. 1


9/4

Below the Iceberg: Probing the depths of culture


Read: Hunger of Memory, Ch. 2
-
3


9/6

Thinking about our own cultural ide
ntity


Read: Complete your reading of Hunger of Memory (Ch. 4
-
6)


9/11

Responding to difference: Some historical perspective on the American
experience, including the emergence of Multicultural Ideals


Assignment: Work on writing your autobiographical e
ssay


9/13

Dissenting Voices: Critical perspectives on Diversity


Assignment: Complete your autobiographical essay.

[Suggested due date is
today. May be submitted as late as 9/20 without penalty.]


9/18

The Achievement Gap and what to do about it


Rea
d: No Excuses, Introduction and Ch. 1


9/20

To what extent is the achievement gap a problem of Racism or a
Racialized
Society (I of II)?


Read: No Excuses, Ch. 9

Peggy McIntosh, Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack


7

9/25

Racism/Racialized Society, continued.

Film: Blue Eyed


Read: A framework for understanding poverty, Introduction & Ch. 1
-
3


9/27

To what extent should

question
s of Social Class enter into our

discussion (I of II)?


Read: A framework for understanding poverty, Ch. 4
-
6


10/2

Issues of Class
, continued


Read: A framework for understanding poverty, Ch. 7 through the Conclusion


10/4

Test #1


10/9

No class. Fall break


10/11

African Americans in the Classroom: Perspectives from Ogbu and Perkins


Read: No Excuses, Ch. 7


10/16

Field experie
nce #1


Assignment: Submit reflection on Ruby Payne, A Framework for Understanding
Poverty


10/18

Native Americans in the Classroom: Historical and
Anthropological

Perspectives. Guest: Dr. Jana Mayfield Mullen


Reading: Article by Karen Swisher; Sele
cted Documents from Prucha volume


10/23 Field experience #2


Read: Con Respeto, Foreword, Preface, and Introduction


10/25

Latinos in the Classroom (I of III).


Read: Con Respeto, Ch. 1
-
2




10/30

Field experience #3


Read: Con Respeto, Ch. 3
-
4


1
1/1

Latinos in the Classroom (II of III). Guest: Doctoral Candidate Hugo Santos
-
Gomez from UCSB


Read: Con Respeto, Ch. 5
-
6


8

11/6

Field experience #4


Read: Con Respeto, Ch. 7
-
8


11/8

Latinos in the Classroom (III of III).


Read: Con Respeto, Ch. 9
;

No Excuses, Ch. 6


11/13

Asians in the Classroom


Read: Article by Ooka
-
Pang


11/15

Exploring issues of g
ender equity in the classroom. Part of class will also be
devoted to a guest speaker and Westmont alum,
Nate Monley from Cesar Chavez Charter
School
, reflecting on his experience with Latino students

and some issues of
educational equity more generally


Assignment:

Complete your written response to Con Respeto



Additional reading provided by Mr. Monley


11/20

Gays & Lesbians in the classroom; Child
ren of Gays & Lesbians. Possible guest
speaker.


Read:

Extract from Lipkin, Beyond Diversity Day


11/22

No class. Thanksgiving break


11/27

Muslims and other non
-
Muslim

minorities of middle
-
eastern origin


Read:
Article by Seikaly on The Arab
-
American
Community


11/29


Other religious minorities in the classroom. Multi
-
racial students


Read: Selections

from
Half & Half


12/4


Special celebration with field experience students


12/6

Final reflections/Review for final



Final exam:

Wednesday, 12/12
at 12:00 Noon (Should we make it 12:12?)



9

Course policies
:


Written work
. All work should be submitted in traditional, hard
-
copy form. Please do not e
-
mail
written assignments or submit work on disk.


Late work
. All work is due at the time stated on the

syllabus. Late work is accepted at the
discretion of the instructor and, if accepted at all, may be marked down significantly.


Academic honesty
. Academic honesty requires the acknowledgement of where one has located
important ideas or the particular wor
ding of those ideas. Breaches of academic honesty for work
completed in this course will be handled on an individual basis by the instructor with the
seriousness required in such matters
. If in doubt about whether to acknowledge the sources
for your wor
k, err in the direction of acknowledging your debts.


Attendance/Notification of missed classes
. As a participant in a pre
-
professional course, your
punctual attendance is expected at each class session. In the event of calamitous events that
preclude you
r attendance, you need to notify instructor as far in advance as possible, by e
-
mail (preferred) or voice mail.



***



Teaching Performance Expectations to which this course is particularly directed


TPE 7: Teaching English Learners






Practicum




Reading

and written response to:
Con Respeto: Bridging the Distances Between
Culturally Diverse Families and Schools

An ethnographic Portrait




Reading and written response to:
Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard
Rodriguez.



TPE 8: Learning about Stud
ents




Practicum




Reading and written response to:
A Framework for Understanding Poverty




Reading and written response to:
Con Respeto: Bridging the Distances Between
Culturally Diverse Families and Schools

An ethnographic Portrait



TPE 11: Social Envi
ronment




Practicum