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Scenes of Teaching

ENGL 016.401

Teaching is considered one of the helping professions, but what does it help students to do? Does teaching aim to make students accept dominant social norms, or does it give them the tools to question them? In this course, we will consider the theory and practice of pedagogy in a range of texts. We will look both at classic statements on the meaning and politics of education as well as representations of teaching and learning in memoirs, novels, short stories, and films. Topics will include critical pedagogy, language and power, school reform, class and upward mobility, education and the professions, social control, pedagogical eros, race and racism, and the social space of the classroom. Reading may include texts by Plato, Rousseau, Henry James, Margaret Mead, Richard Wright, Muriel Spark, Richard Rodriguez, Helen Keller, Sherman Alexie, Américo Paredes, Toni Cade Bambara, Richard Powers, Barack Obama, John Dewey, Paolo Freire, bell hooks, Maria Montessori, Jacques Ranciere, Deborah Britzman, Michel Foucault, Pierre Bourdieu, Paul Willis, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick and others. We will also watch films including Blackboard Jungle, The 400 Blows, High School, Half Nelson, Happy-Go-Lucky, and The Class, and will consider the representation of pedagogy in The Wire. A few short papers, a class presentation, and a longer final paper. 

fulfills requirements