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Page history last edited by David Shutkin 10 years, 10 months ago


Students with Disabilities

Students with documented disabilities are entitled to reasonable accommodations if needed.  If you believe you need accommodations, please see Professor Shutkin or JCU’s Coordinator of Students with Disabilities (Ext. 4967) as soon as possible.  Accommodations will not be granted retrospectively.

Catalog Description




Personal and professional development of educational practitioners through critical, reflective inquiry into philosophical, historical and sociological scholarship that focuses on educational institutions in their socio-cultural settings.




Course Rationale




What is the place of educational foundations in teacher education?  While study and practice of teaching methods and the design of learning environments are central to the teaching profession, methods and design make sense only in historically specific contexts with specific goals. 


In the wider society, these goals are frequently contested and made the objects of partisan debates. Yet education is perhaps the least understood institution in the United States; while most Americans spend 12 or more years attending school, the issues that define “effective” schools shift and change through time. From democracy and citizenship to equity and accountability, what are the issues and goals determining “effective” schools today?  


As citizens of this great democracy, as agents of the institution of education and as members of local school communities, teachers must make informed decisions about teaching methods and learning environments that affect the lives and futures of school children in the United States.



Course Themes and Topics 

  • A History of the Present: Schooling in These United States;
  • Questioning the Philosophy of Mind: I.Q., Intelligence, and Merit;
  • Learning Theories for the 21st Century;
  • Curriculum Studies: Justice, Power, Knowledge;
  • Inside Classroom Communities; and
  • Multiculturalism and Hybridity in School. 

Learned Society Standards

The Council of Social Foundations in Education 

(CSFE) is a national federation of professional associations and societies in the educational foundations, educational studies, and educational policy studies fields.


Standard IV: Interpretive, Normative, and Critical Studies Component of Non-Foundations Graduate Degrees and Programs in Education shall include foundational studies which promote the development of interpretive, normative, and critical perspectives on education.


Candidates seeking master’s degrees in education require informed interpretive, normative, and critical perspectives on educational arrangements, practices, and discourse. At levels appropriate to masters programs, foundational instruction exposes students to research and field experiences that promote knowledge and understanding of the content and context of fundamental issues and themes in education. Instruction in the behavioral sciences alone cannot satisfy this Standard.


Goals of Educational Foundations

The interpretive perspective

  • Use historical, philosophical, and cultural concepts and theories developed within the humanities and the social sciences to:
  • Examine, understand, and explain education within different contexts; and 
  • Analyze the intent, meaning, and effects of educational institutions, including schools.


 The normative perspective

  • Examine and explain education in light of value orientations;
  • Understand normative and ethical behavior in educational development;
  • Recognize the presence of normative influences in educational thought and practice;
  • Probe the nature of assumptions about education and schooling;
  • Examine the relation of policy analysis to values and the extent to which educational policymaking reflects values; and 
  • Develop value positions regarding education on the basis of critical study and reflection.


The critical perspective

  • Employ normative interpretations to develop inquiry skills;
  • Question educational assumptions and arrangements;
  • Identify contradictions and inconsistencies among social and educational values, policies, and practices;
  • Employ democratic values to assess educational beliefs, policies, and practices in light of their origins, influences, and consequences;
  • Examine, understand, and explain educational proposals, arrangements, and practices;
  • Develop a disciplined sense of policy-oriented educational responsibility; and 
  • Develop an awareness of education and schooling in light of their complex relations to culture.



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