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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Karen M Gourd
B EDUC 230
Bothell Campus

Culture, Knowledge, and Education

Explores the intersection of culture, knowledge, and education. Examines each concept separately then focuses on ways they interact and affect educational opportunities. Cultural issues include; race, socio-economic histories, language, gender, sexual orientation, and religious views. Uses perspectives from diverse academic disciplines and considers education as extending beyond school settings. Offered: W.

Class description

This course will address the intersection of three concepts fundamental to our time and place: culture, knowledge, and education. Each of these concepts will be explored separately using seemingly simple yet complex questions such as: (a) What is culture? (b) What is knowledge? (c) Whose knowledge counts? and (d) What is the purpose of education? Then the focus will turn to considering ways these concepts interact and affect educational opportunities. How do race, culture, socio-economic histories, language, gender, sexual orientation, and religious views affect educational opportunities? We will consider perspectives from diverse disciplines including psychology, multicultural education, philosophy, cultural and language studies, and science. “Education” will be understood as extending beyond the school setting.

We will approach issues from positions of empowerment rather than victimization, even as we discuss the realities of individuals and groups frequently marginalized or underserved in schools and society. Additionally, this course is about acquiring strong communication skills (written and oral) and learning to read, write, and listen critically. This is not a methods course. Instead, it will provide a knowledge base relevant to any major or profession, including those planning to be educators.

This course is open to first- through fourth-year students.

Student learning goals

1. Define culture, knowledge, and education and discuss issues relevant to culture, knowledge and education (e.g., immigration, myths associated with language acquisition, historical context of US education relative to students’ backgrounds and needs).

Use appropriate academic vocabulary necessary for discussing connections between culture, knowledge, and education (including but not limited to academic knowledge, cultural knowledge, familial knowledge, critical literacy, power, access, multiple perspectives, diversity, self-identity, group-identity, stereotype/generalization, prejudice, equity/equality, pluralism, democracy, and social justice).

Use collaborative skills.

Sensitively and honestly engage in critical discussion of sensitive issues.

Discern between opinion and critical analysis (own and others).

Write academically, including but not limited to critical reflection, control of writing conventions, and complex thinking.

General method of instruction

Full class and small groupwork--all students participate; all students' voices matter.

Meaningful understanding, rather than superficial familiarity, is necessary for effective participation in class activities and successful completion of assignments and the course exam. Close reading of texts will facilitate more in-depth learning. Groupwork, risk-taking, and reflection will be used in class activities. Come to class prepared to discuss the readings and to apply them to class activities.

Recommended preparation

A mind open to exploring and critical thinking.

Class assignments and grading

Course participants are expected to meet all learning objectives. Assessment of individuals’ meeting of objectives will be based on self-evaluations, class interactions, and written assignments.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Karen M Gourd
Date: 02/25/2014