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Kasey Topousis

UEDU 5070 Final Exam


Part I:
Prompt 1: Think about the content (the readings, videos, etc.), instructional activities,
assignments, and assessments of this course. What are the two or three curriculum
ideologies that are most represented in our course and why? Choose from the
following:
Learner Centered / Progressivism
- Choice in how we complete assignments
- Choice with in-person meetings vs. online discussion some weeks
- Choice to collaborate with a partner
- Voice in our work if we were confused or were unclear of what the assignment
was asking
- Flexibility with unpredictable circumstances (make-up assignment)
- Feel valued, understood, and challenged as an individual/student/educator
- The Learner Centered approach to curriculum involves an effort to create and
use curriculum in such a way that the childs organic nature, the childs own
needs, and his immediate interests furnish the starting point of education
(Rugg & Shumaker, 1928, p. 58). Learner Centered educators are concerned
about people rather than theories regarding people, about sensitivity and
responsiveness to people rather than scholarly rigor in the study of people, and
about helping people learn the things of greatest concern to them rather than
teaching people what they need to know, (Schiro, 2012, e-book p. 350).

Critical Theory / Social Reconstructionism


- Looked through a lens of criticism at current curriculum and instruction design
- Acknowledgement that the education system is unjust and broken
- Deep reflection on the role of white dominant culture as the oppressor
- Looking at case studies, scholars, and wise individuals to hear diverse voices in
education and its role in schools
- What is an excellent education?
- What is TFAs role in education? Intentions? Positive and negative impacts?
- First, they assume that our society is unhealthyindeed, that its very survival is
threatenedbecause the traditional mechanisms developed by society to
contend with social problems are incapable of doing their job. Second, Social
Reconstructionists assume that something can be done to keep society from
destroying itself, (Schiro, 2012, e-book p. 449).

Prompt 2: What were the Explicit, Hidden, and Null curricula of this course?
Explicit: We will gain a better understanding of our curriculum and instruction design
influence the impact educators have on students. Curricular orientations, mindsets,
ideologies, and personal upbringings determine the activities and outcomes in the
classroom.

Hidden: The curriculum that is in classrooms today is biased and not beneficial to
students. As educators, we have a responsibility to deliver content to students that will
reach their individual, cultural, and personal needs. We are currently teaching one
homogenized curriculum in the education system. Our current teaching system is not
benefiting teachers or students.
Null: The cultivation of imagination is not a utopian aspiration, (Eisner, 2001, p.100).
This course never examined other forms of curriculum; for example, home schooling,
exploration schools, vocation schools, etc. After diving deep into the course materials,
my mind cant help but wander into other forms of education. Even Social
Reconstructionists work within the framework of the traditional education system. We
have fallen into a hole and it take a long time to get out, because our systems are so
deeply engrained in societys customs, history, and relations.
Part II:
During our semester together, most people are fully engaged in and willing to think
deeply about the ideas presented within this course. However, it is our experience that
when people leave this course and are not forced to think about, read about, and
discuss how their own privilege and power can create subtractive conditions within their
classrooms and within their schools, they often return to familiar and often-damaging
pedagogical and curricular habits. To illustrate this phenomenon, please read the
vignette below of an actual encounter with a UCD student Dr. Kim met at a
neighborhood a local coffee shop.
While grading [your] work at a local coffee shop, a young White woman who had earned
her license through the UCD urban teacher prep program told me (and her friend sitting
with her) how difficult the program was because she felt she was constantly being called
racist or being shown her White privilege in her coursework. I asked if she had to read
the R. Allen piece, and she said Yes; it was awful! She told us how she cried when
she read that article and others like it, and that she almost quit her program because
she became really upset and depressed. She also stated, though, that she had come to
realize it was important for her, especially as an urban teacher, to recognize and work
against her privilege. Her friend inquired about how she feels now; he asked, Do you
still struggle with it? I mean are you still upset when you look around and see your
privilege? Do you still cry? She said, No, because since I finished the program, I do
not have to think about it anymore. I dont have to constantly read, think, and discuss
those issues . . . now my life is back to normal.

Prompt 3: Self Evaluation: With respect to the vignette above, please share in what
ways, if at all, this course changed and entrenched your thinking or actions either
personally or professionally. Also, please describe how, if at all, you plan to continue to
push yourself to read and discuss pieces that support our revised definition of an
excellent education. If you plan to continue to support the teachings of this course,
please include how you will work against the phenomenon of subtractive schooling and

encourage teaching all children (including White, suburban children) to identify,


challenge, and transform the systemic White Supremacy of our society. If you do not
feel inspired to support the ideas from our course, please help us understand your
perspective(s) as well.

Dr. Kim,
I really enjoyed this course. It is the first education course I have taken where I can directly
apply what I am learning into my practice and daily life. My thinking, perspectives, and
awareness for others have been drastically impacted from the course readings, assignments, and
discussions. You did a great job of facilitating this course, to make sure everyone felt valued and
challenged as an individual and educator. You said one thing at an in-person meeting that has
stuck with me and frequently comes up in my thinking you mentioned that some children have
difficult situations and unfair circumstances, and as a teacher you should NEVER make a student
feel bad about himself/herself. I have never intentionally made a student feel bad about him or
herself, however, as humans it is easy to get bogged down and act irrationally, without thinking
of how another person may feel. I really appreciate you saying this powerful and simple

statement. It is our role as educators to make sure that our students feel cared for and loved, we
need to inspire them and make them realize how brilliant they really are.
Thank You,
Kasey