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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Doris Mcewen
EDLPS 520
Seattle Campus

Education as a Moral Endeavor

An exploration of fundamental questions that have faced educational leaders in the past and most likely will continue to face them in the future. Foundational studies in history, philosophy, and sociology provide the basis for discussion and writing about these fundamental questions.

Class description

This course, one of a series of "leadership core courses", engages students in an exploration of fundamental questions that have faced educational leaders in the past and most likely will continue to face them in the future. Emphasis is placed on enduring educational problems and fundamental philosophical issues, concepts that feature centrally in educational discourse, and conceptual analysis as a means for clarifying decisions regarding educational policy and practice.

Student learning goals

1. Recognize ethical and moral issues in everyday situations

2. Develop analytical skills including methods of argument and reasoning

3. Elicit a sense of moral obligation and personal responsibility

4. Uncover and dissect your (often) hidden moral and ethical beliefs

General method of instruction

The format for the class will be small group discussions. I will serve as facilitator of the dialog. We will work together to build community so that discussions can be thorough and non-threatening. The issues of moral education are complex and require focused attention to the thoughts and opinions of authors as well as classmates. You will be asked to stretch and think deeply about education and the inherent moral consequences.

Recommended preparation

Please come to class prepared to engage in discussions, having read the assignments and spent some time in serious thought about their implications in the school setting or in education in general. In most cases, we will not come to a moral consensus. The intent is to become more informed about education as a moral endeavor and more thoughtful about our particular roles as a player in the development of young people, in particular, and our American society in general.

Class assignments and grading

Reaction papers

Write FOUR 2-page responses to the readings. You may submit your responses at anytime during the quarter, however you may only submit one reaction paper during a given class session. The reaction papers will be used to inform our class discussions. THEY ARE DUE AT THE BEGINNING OF THE CLASS IN WHICH THE READING WILL BE DISCUSSED. (Feel free to submit them ahead of time if you would like.)

Please reflect on your learning from the reading by addressing the following questions: What did the author say that validated/confirmed your view(s)? How did the author's views extend your knowledge and understanding of significant issues in education? The reflection is not a recount of the reading or simple assertion of opinions. Be thoughtful and seriously consider the merits of ideas, perspectives, information, and proposals from the readings on which you are reflecting.

All coursework may be submitted by going to the course website and select submit your work here and choose the response papers option.

Critical analysis/final paper

Select one of the readings for the course and find a paragraph/concept/passage that illustrates a point you find compelling and relevant (you should cite the paragraph/concept/passage, but it should not count in the page length requirements). Then, interpret and interrogate the author's ideas and be sure to use at least one other author in the course to make sense of them. The authors need to have been assigned on two different days of class. The critical analysis/final paper is independent of the reaction papers so please choose a paragraph/concept/passage on which you have not previously written. Again, present a thoughtful analysis and comparison with another author. Avoid summarizing and/or rehashing of the author's statements.

The final product should be approximately FIVE pages and is due June 2 by 4:30 p.m. We will discuss these as a group during the last week of class. To submit them, go to the course website and select submit your work here and choose the critical analysis papers option.

The paper should have 12pt. Times New Roman font, 1 inch margins, left-justification, double-spacing, and page numbers on each page. You should also have your name and the course number as a Footer.

This course is credit/no credit. Credit for the course will be determined by your attention to the class and assignments. This includes attending and participating in class discussion and turning in all assignments on time. They will be graded with a check (full credit), check minus - (partial credit; you need to try harder), or a 0 (no credit).


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 Doris Mcewen
Date: 06/10/2008