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Education 4381: Perspectives on Education (Spring 2013)

Memorial University Faculty of Education

Part Two: Ethical Perspectives on Teaching and Learning

Instructor: James Scott Johnston
Office: ED 5002
Office Hours: Tuesday and Thursday 1-3 pm or by appointment
Tel: 709.864.6924
Email: Course mail or
Time Slot: Tuesday and Thursday
Section 002: 900-1015 am
Section 004: 1030-1145 am

Course Description:

This course examines educational theory, practice, and policy from the disciplinary perspectives of philosophy, sociology, history and/or comparative education. Its aim is to foster an appreciation of the intrinsic value of these specific forms of inquiry as contributions to contemporary understanding of educational enterprise. Topics include: ethical and epistemological considerations related to areas such as critical pedagogy, equal educational opportunity, educational reform, change and social justice.

My Description:
The specific perspectives we will be looking at in the class are three: Perrenialism, Progressivism, and Poststructuralism. Perrenialism is a way of understanding the role of school that stresses its importance in developing moral and intellectual virtues for the good of society or humankind. Perrenialism is a very old understanding of the schools; it has its roots in Aristotle as well as in modern-day champions. Progressivism is a way of understanding the school that champions the child, and lays stress on modifying the environment, including the curriculum. Progressivism is a late 19th century understanding of the schools that has its most famous champion in John Dewey. However, many current educational theorists are broadly progressivist, including Nel Noddings. Finally, a more recent way of understanding schools has arisen. Poststructuralism is skeptical of the very idea of schools as they exist and operate; schools serve to regulate and control persons. This view has its roots in philosophers such as Jacques Derrida and historians such as Michel Foucault. It also has its recent champions, including Thomas Popkewitz and the authors of his edited volume.


We will move quickly through the readings, so please read ahead. The question of the nature and make-up of schools will be one asked throughout the term, in regards to the readings. There will be group work at the end of the term (presentations).

Readings (copy pack):

Aristotle: Nichomachean Ethics
Mortimer Adler: the Paideia Proposal
John Dewey: Experience and Education
Nel Noddings: The Challenge to Care in Schools
Michel Foucault: the Archeology of Knowledge
Thomas Popkewitz and Marie Brennan, ed: Foucault’s Challenge


There are five assignments for this class.
The first assignment is to post discussion points on D2L. A discussion thread is set up for this. Once per theme, a group of students (to be assigned the first class) will be responsible for responding to the class question posed at the end of the section (usually having to do with schools/schooling). Use the thread to comment on one another’s posts. These posts will prove useful in compiling the final presentation. All members of the group should post.
The second assignment is a short (2-3 page) annotated bibliography due approximately week 6 of the class, in lieu of a mid-term examination. This bibliography will consist in brief summary paragraphs for at least 5 references regarding one of the authors discussed/to be discussed, as well as a proper citation of the source. This annotated bibliography is designed to help you practice summarizing articles/chapters and may form part of the bibliography for your final assignment should you choose.
The third assignment is an outline of your paper. It will consist in an introduction, a thesis statement, a summary of the body of the paper, and a working bibliography. The length should be approximately 4 pages double-spaced, including bibliography.
The fourth assignment is a group project, due the last three classes of the term. In this, you will work together with other members of a group (approx. 5-6 people) and address, in an oral presentation, the question, ‘what does the school, according to the author, look like? The presentation should take approximately one-half hour, with about 15 minutes for class discussion.
The fifth and final assignment is a class paper. Here you will write a 10-12 page paper with at least 10 references (including the author). The paper is due on the last day of class and is given in lieu of a final exam. The paper should discuss one or more authors on the question of schools/schooling, and should do so in detail. You will want to discuss the paper with me several weeks in advance of its being due.
The breakdown for grades is

Group Posts: 10 percent
Annotated Bibliography: 10 percent
Mid-term Paper Outline: 20 percent
Final Group Presentation: 30 percent
Final Paper: 30 percent

Class Schedule:

Module One Readings:

Class One: Introduction and syllabus

Class Two: Aristotle, NM Book I

Class Three: Aristotle, NM Book II

Class Four: Aristotle, NM Book V

Class Five: Aristotle, NM Book VI
(group 1 post)

Class Six: Adler Chapter 1-2

Class Seven: Adler Chapter 3-4
(Annotated Bibliography due)
(group 2 post)

Module Two Readings:

Class Eight: Dewey, EN Chapters 1-2

Class Nine: Dewey, EN Chapters 3-4

Class Ten: Dewey, EN Chapters 5-6
(group 3 post)

Class Eleven: Noddings, CC Chapter 3

Class Twelve: Noddings, CC Chapter 4

Class Thirteen: Noddings, CC Chapter 12
(paper outline due)
(group 4 post)

Module Three Readings:

Class Fourteen: Foucault, AK, Introduction

Class Fifteen: Foucault, AK, Chapters 1-2

Class Sixteen: Foucault, AK, Chapter 6
(group 5 post)

Class Seventeen: Popkewitz and Brennan, Chapter 2

Class Eighteen: Popkewitz and Brennan, Chapter 7

Class Nineteen: Popkewitz and Brennan, Chapter 9
(group 6 post)

Group Presentations:

Class Twenty: Groups One and Two

Class Twenty-one: Groups Three and Four

Class Twenty-two: Groups Five and Six

Class Twenty-three:
(Extra class if more than 6 groups)
(Final draft of paper due)

Paper Worksheet:

Part I: Content (MOST IMPORTANT)
Does the paper:0
Have a clearly defined thesis?
Support the thesis throughout the paper by providing evidence, examples, and arguments?
Contain a good deal of textual work?
Consider and respond to possible objections to the thesis?
Contain rigorous argument, discussion, and engagement with the text(s)?
Express your ideas in your words?
Clearly distinguish your ideas and words from those of any other authors you use?

Part II: Structure
Does the paper have:
A thesis statement in the opening paragraph?
A formal introduction or introductory paragraph which tells the reader exactly what the layout of the paper will be? In other words:
Could the reader use the formal introduction as an outline for the paper, classifying each and every paragraph of the body of the paper under some part of the formal introduction? (except for the conclusion, which is not the same as the body of the paper?)
Clear conceptual divisions that correspond to what you have promised to do in the formal introduction? (Recommendation: make this clear to the reader and yourself by using subheadings in the paper to convey the divisions).
A conclusion which sums up what you have done and then ties it together in some way that goes beyond the overview of the introduction?

Part III: Process, Communication, and Polish
In preparing the final draft, have you:
Inspected each paragraph to make sure it is actually doing work in the paper? Each paragraph should contribute to the clear conceptual division it falls under (see previous checkpoint).
Revised any sentences which are confusing or redundant? Ask yourself, when in doubt, “what is this sentence doing here?” Does it: explain, clarify, illustrate, help to provide an example, etc.
Edited the paper for grammar, spelling, diction, and general clarity? Remember, what you want to say must be communicated—grammar, spelling, etc., are necessary parts of such communication.
The length of the paper is limited to whatever the limit is? (or to the absolute max). If the paper exceeds the absolute maximum, cut it down—you will find sentences (perhaps even paragraphs) that are unnecessary. If you cannot, consult me.

Part IV: Logistics
Before handing the paper in have you made sure that:
You have properly acknowledged all uses of an author’s ideas, whether in his/her own words or in yours, in the text? This applies to any scholarly material as well.
All quotations and uses of an author’s ideas are properly cited and formatted?
You have a proper Works Cited page? These would be the readings you have used in the paper; see any manual of style for this.
The paper is properly typed (or prepared with a word processor)? You have proof-read it carefully for typing and other errors.
Double-spacing is used throughout (except perhaps, for footnotes and endnotes)?
The paper is stapled?
The paper has a title and your name on the page?

Other recommendations for your Paper
Pick (or craft) a topic which genuinely interests you
Highlight or emphasize central words in your paper topic such as ‘compare,’ ‘explain,’ ‘support,’ and others like these.
Brainstorm or write freely in order to get the draft going
Use an OUTLINE, even if you do not like to; but remember, it is a tool, not a stone tablet
Write a rough draft of the paper (this is different from the first draft)
Revise this draft into the first draft
Keep using your outline (which is not carved in stone—revise the outline if the paper changes)
Keep using your outline throughout your drafting by comparing what you have written with the requirements of the outline (which is not carved in stone—revise the outline if the paper changes)
Consult me at any time in the process of preparing the paper—that’s what I’m here for
Use the resources of the WRITING CENTRE, located in SN 2053 (the science bldg.), 737-3168, email: (Bring any assignment sheet with you, including this one).
Use standard formats for citation and other stylistic issues: which format you use is up to you (MLA, APA, Chicago/Turabian, etc.) but it should be clear in the paper.

Detailed Rubric and Worksheet for Grading:

University Standards Grade Work that Receives tihs Grade
“A” indicates excellent performance with clear evidence of: comprehensive knowledge of the subject matter and principles treated in the course; a high degree of originality and independence of thought; a superior ability to organize and analyze ideas; and an outstanding ability to communicate






Exceptional work showing exceptional effort; no problems at all, either in form or content; well-organized; written assignments and papers have theses unless otherwise indicated; the thesis is developed well and thoroughly throughout the paper; it is supported throughout by evidence and argument; arguments are well-developed and well-connected throughout; evidence throughout of original and critical thinking; thorough knowledge and understanding of textual material; excellent use of textual material; textual arguments interpreted carefully and creatively; excellent and compelling writing throughout; this work is also very sensitive to issues raised in class.
  A- Excellent work; no major problems; few or no minor problems; well-organized; written assignments and papers have theses; thesis is well-developed and supported by evidence and argument; arguments are usually developed well and well-connected; evidence of original and critical thinking; very good knowledge, understanding, and use of textual material; good interpretation of textual material; very good writing; sensitive to issues raised in class.
“B” indicates good performance with evidence of: substantial knowledge of the subject-matter, a moderate degree of originality and thought; a good ability to organize and analyze ideas, and an ability to communicate clearly and fluently.





Very good work; no major problems; some minor problems; organized; thesis in written assignments and papers; thesis developed and supported by evidence and argument; arguments developed and connected, though usually needing more connection and more creative synthesizing; sometimes more reflection on the material; some creative or critical thinking; good knowledge, understanding, and use of textual material; good writing; good awareness of issues raised in class.
  B- Good work but usually a major problem plus minor problems; organization can be weak; theses in written assignments and papers; thesis not developed or supported enough by evidence and argument; not good enough development or connection of arguments; often some very good ideas but weakly supported; satisfactory knowledge and understanding of textual material and OK use of textual material; writing OK but needs improvement; awareness of issues raised in class; THIS IS OFTEN A ROUGH DRAFT.
“C” indicates satisfactory performance with evidence of: an acceptable grasp of the subject-matter; some ability to organize and analyze ideas; and an ability to communicate adequately.





Some good work and often interesting ideas; major problems; many minor problems; vague or undeveloped theses; not much evidence or argument for thesis; some satisfactory knowledge or understanding of textual material; some OK use of textual material; writing is sometimes OK but often vague or confusing; many generalizations without specific argument; some awareness of issues raised in class.
  C- Interesting ideas; many major problems; many minor problems; vague or undeveloped theses; not much evidence or argument for thesis; some satisfactory knowledge or understanding of textual material; some OK use of textual material; writing is sometimes OK but often vague or confusing; many generalizations without specific argument; some awareness of issues raised in class.
“D” indicates minimally acceptable performance with evidence of: rudimentary knowledge of the subject-matter; some evidence that organizational and analytical skills have been developed, but with significant weaknesses in some areas, and a significant weakness in the ability to communicate






Many major and minor problems; virtually no thesis, argument, or evidence; only a passing acquaintance with textual material; poor use of it; writing frequently vague or confusing; topic, assignment, or question very poorly addressed; rudimentary awareness of issues raised in class.
“F” indicates the student has handed in an incomplete assignment; plagiarized and/or attempted to pass off another’s assignment as one’s own; or did not hand in the assignment.
(Below 50%)
F For plagiarism, F = Zero. For partially completed assignments, or (very) late assignments, the grade will be dependent upon final completion and submission. You will still get points (below 50%) if you turn in a very late or incomplete assignment by the end of term.