Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What counts as being "educated"?

Consider this article from The Atlantic.

And now the author has published this in book form, Lost in the Meritocracy.

Also consider "The Truth about Harvard"

Grain of Sand, resources

Books by Eduardo Galeano

Comparing public and private schools, from the US Department of Education.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

To Consider. . .

Is there an educational crisis?

What do you know/think about the "achievement gap"?

Can we truly measure a "reading level"?

Look at this effort to reform schools: Extra time in Miami

Books of interest related to "Hard Time":

A Hope in the Unseen

Savage Inequalities

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Critical Pedagogy and Critical Theory

This work by Joe Kincheloe may help you frame the concepts of "critical pedagogy" and "critical theory" better, but the discussion is not easy reading. I do think it is worth your time; feel free to ask about anything you read here:

"Critical Theory and the Moral Dimension: Emancipation, Complexity and Power" by Joe. L. Kincheloe
(download the Word .doc at the link below the title)

If you would rather watch/listen than read. . .a wonderful video of Joe Kincheloe is available in which he discusses critical pedagogy. Sadly, Joe passed away in December of 2008 far too soon. . .

Many more available documents at the Critical Pedagogy Reading Room offered at The Freire Project.

See work by Henry Giroux grounded in critical pedagogy:

Youth in a Suspect Society

Militarized Conservatism and the End(s) of Higher Education


The Knowledge Factory, Stanley Aronowitz

Why the Unites StatesIs Destroying Its Education System, Chris Hedges
Why the United States Is Destroying Its Education System
Why the United States Is Destroying Its Education System

Traditional v. Progressive Education (Kappan)

This article from Phi Delta Kappan may help you understand the tension between traditional and progressive views of schooling: "Taproots for a new Century: Tapping the Best of Traditional and Progressive Education" (Phi Delta Kappan, 84 (5), 344-349, January 2003).

Overview of the Development of Documnetaries (Henderson)

EDU-115: The Reel World: The Depiction of Schools on Film

Overview of the Development of Documentaries

Documentary: A purposeful, accurate arrangement of existing and/or selected images (which usually includes vocal commentary and/or music) to provide information and a point of view about a particular subject. Some questions to keep in mind:

1. Can we study documentaries strictly as an aesthetic medium?
2. What is the difference between a documentary and a home movie?
3. Do we have to know the social/political context of the time in order to understand documentaries?
4. What is the difference between a documentary and a film based on “actual” events?
5. Can documentaries stage “real” events?
6. Does the documentary filmmaker have any ethical responsibilities?
7. Has the technology democratized documentary filmmaking?

Brief Time Line:

1827: Joseph Nicéphore Niépce (1765-1833) produced the world’s first permanent photograph.
1839: Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre (1787-1851) announced the latest perfection of the Daguerreotype. Images are “captured.”
1888: Mr. Edison and his new “instrument” (1888).

“Actualities”: Real things in real places:

• Ethnographies (daily life)
• Scenic Views
• Travelogues
• Newsreels
• Propaganda (the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person—not necessarily accurate)


Blacksmith scene (1893)
Sioux Ghost Dance (1894)
Seminar Girls (1897)
Waterfall in the Catskills (1898)
Black Diamond Express (1896)
Arrest in Chinatown (1897)
Images from the Spanish-American War:
U.S. Calvary Supplied Uploading at Tampa, Florida (1898)
Shooting Captured Insurgents (1899)

Websites: (National Park Service website on Edison) (Library of Congress’s American Memory website on Edison’s films) (Library of Congress’s American Memory website, “The Spanish-American War in Motion Pictures”)

Sunday, March 8, 2009


EDU 115-01
The Reel World: The Depiction of Schools on Film
2 hours undergraduate credit

Paul Thomas

Hipp Hall 101 F (Thomas)

294.3386 (Thomas)


Class Room
HH 102

9 am-12 pm (per below)


Vision Statement
The Teacher Education Program at Furman University prepares educators who are scholars and leaders.

Mission of the Program
Furman University prepares teachers and administrators to be scholars and leaders who use effective pedagogy, reflect critically on the practice of teaching, promote human dignity, and exemplify ethical and democratic principles in their practice. Furman is committed to a program of teacher education that calls for collaborative, interdependent efforts throughout the academic learning community.

The teacher education program is anchored in the university’s commitment to the liberal arts—encompassing the humanities, fine arts, mathematics, and social and natural sciences as the essential foundation for developing intellectually competent educators. Furthermore, candidates develop professional content knowledge, pedagogical skills, and dispositions through:

• Mastery of subject matter
• Understanding of philosophical, historical, and sociological foundations of education
• Understanding of human development and its implications for learning
• Understanding of social/cultural relationships
• Understanding the interrelationship of curriculum, instruction, and assessment
• Practice of critical inquiry and reflection on teaching and learning
• Opportunities for leadership development
• Opportunities to study and practice effective communication
• Collaboration with peers and others

Course Description
Do documentaries about schools create or reflect the reality they seek to depict? This course will investigate documentary films as social and political texts in order to identify historical and contemporary views on schools and the purpose(s) of education. The May X will examine primarily films addressing poverty, class, race, and privilege as they intersect with the purposes and realities of public education in the U.S.


We will meet 9 am until 12 pm (or longer if needed depending on the film) on dates listed below.

Date/ Session
Session 1 (5/13/15)
Introduction: Film, documentaries, education (educational debate), critical perspective, Introduction to Book Club, choices


Press on Crenshaw

Session 2 (5/14/15)
Corridor of Shame / Book Club
Session 3 (5/15/15)
Heart of Stone / Book Club
Session 4 (5/19/15)
Flock of Dodos / Book Club
Session 5 (5/20/15)
Little Rock Central: 50 Years Later / Book Club

LRC doc 9-10:45

Derek Black, USC Law professor 11-12

Education Law Prof Blog

Session 6 (5/21/15)
Hard Times at Douglass High / Book Club
Session 7 (5/26/15)
Clearcut / Book Club
Session 8 (5/27/15)
Prom Night in Mississippi / Book Club
Session 9 (5/28/15)
Grain of Sand / Book Club
Session 10 (6/1/15)
Session 11 (6/2/15)
Final Book Club/ Workshop essay
Session 11 (6/3/15)
Group presentations/ debrief 


(1) After each film session, submit a reflection (which should be emailed to the professors within 24 hours of viewing each film).


(2) Choose, read, and share book (see above) throughout May X.

(3) Consider and choose one or two key misconceptions presented to the public about public education (through the media, through documentaries or films), and then write a 750-1250 word commentary to be published on this blog at the end of the course.

Identify the misconception, the source(s) of the misconception, and then clarify the topic(s) for the general readership. You should include hyperlinks and citations (proper format per style sheet chosen) and submit a clean draft by the last day of class.

Please submit the work in multiple drafts throughout the course.

(4) In groups of TBD, create a set of interview questions and select at least three people to interview about their impressions, beliefs, and understandings related to school, teaching, and learning. Using the Flip cameras (available through the Education Department), film and create a mini-documentary about schools based on your questions. The film should not exceed 15 minutes.