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FOUN 455: Philosophy of Professional Practice (F08)

Queen's University

Professor: James Scott Johnston, PhD.
Office: A318 Duncan McArthur Hall
Telephone # 78395
Office Hours: TBA.

Course Description:

Keyed to the Standards of Practice of the Ontario College of Teachers, this course provides philosophical perspectives on students and student learning, professional knowledge, teaching practise, leadership and community, and Professional Learning. The course aims to develop criteria for critiquing educational activities that can also function as the basis for a genuinely professional approach to ongoing professional learning, and community involvement. We will begin by discussing the current Ontario College of Teachers Standards of Practice. We will then discuss three different methods of solving (or‘re-solving’) issues affecting the professional practice of teachers. The three models are pragmatic; critical-theoretic/discursive; and genealogic. Finally, we will use these methods together with the Standards to work through selected problems of professional practice.

This course is largely practical, and though we will read some material on constructing ethical judgments, the bulk of the time will be spent on cases and scenarios. Those wishing a more theoretical introduction to the ethics of education are advised to take FOUN 442: Ethics and Education, also offered this term.

Course Materials:

Jonsen, A. and Toulmin, S. (1988). The Abuse of Casuistry. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Standards of Practice of the Ontario College of Teachers. Booklets I-II.

Course Objectives:

Upon completion of the course, each student will

1) Be exquisitely familiar with the current Ontario College of Teachers Standards of Practice.
2) Be able to use the Standards of Practice in such a way as to inform personal values and professional practices.
3) Develop insights into the role and scope of Standards of Practice in selected educational concerns.
4) Understand models for making practical, professional judgments
5) Further develop library research and presentation skills.

Course Exercises:

Evaluate library research, synthesis, and presentation skills using the problem solving model discussed in class. Scenarios will be studied and ‘solutions’ developed in keeping with the models studied. Group work and student participation is stressed throughout. Practise case studies/demonstrations will begin week 2. Group Project 1 will be completed week 4. A short mid-term assignment will be completed at this time as well. Group Project 2 will be completed week 6-7.

Schedule of Readings:

Week 1
Course introduction
Albert Jonsen and Stephen Toulmin- The Abuse of Casuistry, Preface, Chapters 1.

Week 2
Albert Jonsen and Stephen Toulmin-The Abuse of Casuistry, Chapters 9-11.
Introduction: Demonstration of Application to Cases

Weeks 3-4
Albert Jonsen and Stephen Toulmin-The Abuse of Casuistry, Chapters 13-17
Discussion of Standards of Professional Practice and Professional Responsibilities:
Readings: Ontario College of Teachers Standards of Practise. General Overview: Ethical Case Studies, Books 1-2

Case construction practice

Practise analysis: Case Studies/Group Projects Part 1
Mid-term Written Assignment

Practicum and Alternative Practicum

Weeks 5-7

Integrating Standards of Practice and Methodology: Educational Issues and Professional Practice.

Preparing oral reports and synthesizing research material/In class group time