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ED250: The Other Class: Teaching and Learning Across Communities

In this First Year Experience (FYE) course our goal is to understand how teaching and learning are defined and conceptualized differently in different spaces with different people. Most notably, the course will examine representations of teaching and learning through a sociocultural lens. During block one, we will explore the sociopolitical forces that influence teacher quality, development, selection, demographics, and agency as we consider what it means to be a teacher and engage in the process of teaching. We will consult the history of teaching in the U.S. while also investigating how historical narratives emerge in contemporary education politics (i.e. through current events). In hopes of juxtaposing various teaching methods, we will spend time in multiple classrooms examining how teacher practices differentially affect student outcomes. More specifically we will pay special attention to the oft-heard phrase, “Good Teaching is Good Teaching” by engaging in case studies of classroom students whose social characteristics yield unique learning needs. By the end of the course, students will be able to define and describe “good teaching”. The second half of the FYE is about learning. We will interrogate the process of learning by examining the learning brain, influences on the brain, and the nature of knowledge itself. We will also compare learning behaviors in different contexts to help elucidate the relationship between teaching practices, learning practices and educational outcomes. Finally, we will explore students’ role(s) in education to help answer the question, “what makes a good student good”?