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Educ 881 - Comparative Education
Spring 2006 Schedule #55630
Draft syllabus Final detailed version available in class

Mondays, 4-7 PM273 Hills South

Jacqi Mosselson, 264 Hills South - jmosselson@educ.umass.edu

Introduction to the course

In this course we will examine methods, major concepts and current trends in comparative education and explore various facets of societies that impact the educational system, including, but not limited to, historical, economic, social, political, ethnic and religious forces as they relate to education. Starting with an overview of cultural and social theories of the purposes, structure and outcomes of education, we will develop our analytical skills in examining our assumptions surrounding schooling and international education. We will then start applying these theories, exploring practical applications and expressions of contemporary problems in international education, examining the remarkable diversity within contemporary educational systems that are subject to global political and economic forces.

As a class, we will discuss an overview of the history and methods of the field of comparative education, compare the theoretical perspectives that shape the field, compare the approaches that different disciplines and theoretical orientations take to similar topics. We will also discuss contemporary issues in educational systems across the globe and examine, in this context, prevailing common-sense notions of education and development.

Course Materials

The readings for this course include books and articles about theoretical issues related to comparative education. There are two required books for this course and a set of required readings. The required texts can be purchased at Food For Thought in Amherst and a set of required readings available in my office.

Required Books:

Feinberg, W. & Soltis, J. (2004). School and Society. New York NY: Teachers College Press.

Memmi, A. (1992). The colonizer and the colonized. Boston: Beacon Books.

Grading and Course Requirements

Grades in this class will be Pass/Fail unless you notify me, in writing, by the end of February that you would prefer a Letter Grade. Letter Grades will be based on the Rossman/Rallis Grading Rubric, found in Appendix B. Evaluation in this course will be based on the following:

Participation………………………………………………….….......……….……15%

It is expected that you attend regularly and participate actively in all course experiences. The content of this class emerges from students’ and professor’s interpretations of concepts, theories and experiences raised by the readings, course discussions and assignments. The success of this course depends on the commitment of each of the students to being an active learner, coming to class prepared to share your ideas, experiences and questions.

Short, in-class exam……………………………………………………………….25%

For students to work out their own interpretations of the key theories in Comparative Education, space is provided for a closed book exercise in which students define and apply the theories in their own words. The exam format may include short essays and/or a case study to analyze from a theoretical perspective. It is designed to tie the material together and not intended to trick students! March 27th.

Presentation…………………………………………………….………………….25%

Each student will be asked to prepare a short presentation on the education system in either their home country or the country in which they have field experience to share with a K-12 classroom in the area. To complete this project, students will develop some understanding of the US grade school experience and learn how to present their own experiences in another system from a comparative perspective.

Final Paper………………………………………………………………………....35%

For your final paper, choose a theme in comparative education and undertake a comparative analysis of colonial education to explore that theme (e.g. educational transfer and borrowing; post-foundational thinking; globalization debates). For further details on this assignment, please see Appendix A of the syllabus.

Office Hours

In order to best accommodate the variable schedules of participants in this class, I will make individual appointments with students. If you need to make an appointment, please send an e-mail to: jmosselson@educ.umass.edu and we can try to find a time that is mutually convenient. Also, if you have any other problems or concerns, I find it best to communicate via e-mail, which I check frequently. I strongly encourage you to take advantage of email and office hours.