Examines theories that support interactive learning-including constructionist-, critical-, and experientially based views. Emphasizes multiple dimensions of the learning situation. Mainly theory, with opportunities to relate practice to theory.
Students can use this course towards 5 credits of the education minor, but the course is not just for future teachers. It is for anyone who wants to understand the conditions that promote democracy and education. Interactive models of learning assume that democratic, reciprocal, and egalitarian relationships within the learning setting (home, workplace, classroom) foster authentic growth and development. Yet the assumptions involved in such learning theories can seem to fly in the face of common sense: In what ways are the teacher/parent/supervisor and the student/child/employee equal? Don't experts need to tell what they know? Isn't it better to play out expected social roles and learn what experts have to teach us? Can subject matter be mutated in the minds of the many and still keep its coherence and integrity? What is the role of culture in learning? These are some of the issues that students will have a chance to explore in this class.
Student learning goals
Students will be familiar with two major theories of progressive/liberatory education: John Dewey and Paulo Freire.
Students will understand the history of the challenges of teaching effectively to all groups of students, especially with adults in literacy classes.
Students will analyze the pressures of socialization on girls and connect those to their performance in school using the theoretical frameworks of progressive and liberatory education.
Students will strengthen their critical thinking skills as they compare and contrast theories and apply them to practice.
Students will work in structured groups and have the chance to practice effective group interaction skills.
Students will strengthen their analytic writing essays.
General method of instruction
This course will allow students to explore many different active learning strategies in a safe context, so that they can apply the theories we study. Some of the techniques include various kinds of dialogue, role playing, ethnography, fishbowl debates, small group discussions, and forum theatre. Except for small group discussions, students can choose their level of participation in various activities.
Any SEB or CP core.
Class assignments and grading
Students will be graded on participation, short reflection papers on the readings, a midterm test or analytic essay, and a final project.
About 20% of the grade is based on participation, 35% on reflection papers on the readings; 15% on the midterm or analytic essay, and 30% on the final project.