Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2023

Course Description

This course examines education through multiple lenses, exploring both the power of education to transform lives and the ways in which it can work to reproduce social inequality and oppression. It explores the difference between education and schooling and introduces the Education Studies Department mission’s core concepts: the critical educator, transformative intellectual, and public pedagogue. As we explore these concepts, we analyze the purposes, history, and contemporary context and future possibilities of schooling and education with a primary focus on the United States. As an introductory course, EDUC170 is designed to expose you to four main areas of educational thought— historical, philosophical, socio/cultural, and political/economic—and introduce you to some of the critical debates within the field. You will also participate in field experience, getting into local classrooms and other educational spaces and talking with educators in the surrounding community. At the end of the semester, you will engage in an action project designed to transform some small aspect of any educational (broadly defined) space you are a part of.

Student Outcomes

1) Ask and address deep questions about education and schooling (i.e. what are they? What purposes do they serve? Who benefits and who loses within our current systems? How have education and schooling changed over time and how are they changing? 2) Think critically and creatively about historical and current issues in education 3) Creatively engage in educational projects and educational change Within these broad goals, we will focus on the following objectives: Engage your own educational story to critically reflect on how stories about schooling and education are told and the scripts and biases we carry with us into this work. • Explore diverse philosophical approaches to education, explore questions of power and identity in philosophy & develop tools for critically grounding philosophy as a lived human praxis. • Study and critique standard educational timelines, engaging critical questions about time, place, authorship, representation, and identity • Explore key concepts in political economy & sociology of education, developing tools for critical reflection on and application of a concept to observed or lived contexts. • Develop tools for close observation of educational contexts and explore local educational contexts and engage with local educators and students. • Engage in transformative social action and reflection as a means of both creating change on issues you care about and better understanding the core concepts of critical educator, public pedagogue, and transformative intellectual.