Educ 1100 Human Diversity & PEA 299 Intercultural
Understanding and Competence: Spring 2004 - Vaxjo University: Kajsa Higgins
& Helen Mongan-Rallis
[This syllabus is just for Educ 1100 and does not include PEA
299 Intercultural Understanding and Competence. However, the schedule has been
combined for both classes)
|WELCOME TO A FUN, CHALLENGING, AND EXCITING COURSE!
The following guidelines are designed to help to make the course as "user
friendly" as possible by describing the course content, components, requirements,
assumptions, and the expectations for all of us. I do have very high
expectations of myself and of you for this class and believe it is
important that these are made clear right away. I look forward to working
with you this semester! Helen MR
|see schedule (times vary so do check this)
|Helen Mongan-Rallis & Kajsa Higgins
|F204 Instit. Pedagogik
|Helen: 070-423-3692 (mobile)
Kajsa: 0470-70-8256 (office)
| Following class each day
and by appointment.
Explores the cultural,
physical, socially constructed and psychological differences in people. Class
examines the social, political and economic implications of human diversity
in modern society. A practicum in a community human service agency is required.
Learner Sensitive Teacher Model Conceptual
Framework: This course in UMD’s Department of Education is based on a Learner Sensitive
teacher philosophy, which encompasses 5 themes: Diversity (D), Collaboration
Reflection (R), Empowerment (E), and Technology (T).
Overview of Course
This course will offer an introductory overview of the great variety of human
differences. To be different from something,
normal must exist. Often what is normal
is not noticed or is invisible. This course will begin by considering the unmarked
normal and the privileges that give the normal its power. Some differences
can be seen and others are invisible. Because the variety among human beings is endless,
we can not study all differences, but will study a sampling such as disability,
class, race, sexuality, gender culture, language, learning styles, and religion.
For each difference, we will consider how it is visible or not, and the way
power and privilege play out. While aspects of our culture tend to homogenize
us through television, clothing ads, and fast food, we will discover that we
are not all the same. The course will focus on specific issues, problems and
unique strengths of groups, processes of interacting with people, the intersection
of issues, and the real people living the issues. We will look at issues faced
by individuals and groups in Vaxjo and other parts of Sweden, and then expanding
outward to look at other regions in the UK, Europe, the USA, and the rest of
the world. The practicum for the course will provide the
students with opportunities to work in a helping agency and thus a context
synthesize information and ideas developed in class work with actual
- There is no text required for this class. You will be assigned selected
readings (including online readings which will be linked to the course schedule)
By the end of this course students will be able to:
A. Compare and contrast differing
points of view regarding diversity issues and synthesize information
presented. Begin to make connections to classrooms:
- use information about student's families, cultures,
and communities as a bases for connecting instruction to
- bring multiple perspectives to the discussion
of subject matter, including attention to students' personal,
family and community experiences and cultural norms
- understand cultural and community diversity and
knowing how to learn about and incorporate student's experiences,
cultures, and community resources into instruction
- understand the power of language for fostering
self-expression, identity development, and learning
- understand how factors in a student's environment
outside of school may influence student life and learning
All of the
five themes are integral to all aspects of this course:
B. Describe examples of the
experience connected with the course which heightened sensitivity
toward, and action regarding , human diversity, especially in relation
to classrooms and counseling:
- use a student's strength as a basis for growth,
and a student's errors as opportunities for learning
- understand how student's learning is influenced
by individual experiences, talents, and prior learning, as well
as language, culture, family and community values
- understand how to recognize and deal with dehumanizing
biases, discrimination, prejudices, and institutional and personal
racism and sexism
- understand that all children can and should learn
at high levels and persist in helping all students achieve success
- understand how cultural and gender differences
can affect communication in the classroom
- understand the influences of the teacher's behavior
on student growth and learning
- understand some of the contributions of various
racial, cultural and economic groups in our society
barriers, both societal and personal, which can limit people in their
potential and make suggestions for elimination of barriers:
- become sensitive to community and
- identify when and how to access
a variety of appropriate services or resources to meet exceptional
- use a variety of media communication
tools, including audio-visual aids and computers, i.e. educational
technology, to enrich learning opportunities
- understand the influence of use and
misuse of tobacco, alcohol, drugs and other chemicals on student
life and learning
D. Participate in a volunteer
capacity within a community human service agency
- understand how social groups function and influence
people, and how people influence groups
- identify and use community resources to foster student
- understand mandatory reporting laws and rules
- collaborate with other professionals to improve
the overall learning environment for students
detailed description and self-rating on each disposition
Response to Feedback/Supervision
to Improve Own Teaching Performance
to the Profession
Towards Learners (seeks strategies that provide opportunities for
Ethics and Demeanor
Your learning will include: small and large group discussion and activities,
lecture, videos, readings, homework assignments, guest presentations, personal
reflection and service learning. Class sessions will revolve around the complex
themes of human diversity. Daily attention will be given to relating new
information from readings, videos, and speakers to personal past experience,
present experience in community and practicum settings, and plans for action
regarding social change.
Diversity is the subject matter for this course. Therefore, it will
be the fabric of our discussions and must be the theme of our interactions.
Working assumptions for class interaction
These will be discussed in class
and agreed upon by the whole group in order that respect for diversity permeates
all aspects of class interaction and learning.
- Acknowledge that sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia, and other types
of discrimination have most often been systematically taught and learned.
- We cannot be blamed for information we have learned, but we will be
held responsible for repeating misinformation after we have learned otherwise.
- We do
not blame others if they do not have the advantages and opportunities that we may have.
- We will assume that people are always doing the best they can.
- We will actively pursue information about our own groups and those of
others. We are each assumed to be the experts on our own reality and
very much involved in researching that reality with each other.
- We will share information about our own groups with other members of
the class and we will NEVER demean, devalue or in any way put down
people for their
- We each have an obligation to actively combat the myths and stereotypes
about our own groups and other groups so that we can break down walls, which
prohibit group cooperation and group gain.
- In every way we will work to create a safe atmosphere for open discussion.
- We will recognize the uniqueness of each student.
- The process of learning is an ongoing process for all involved in this
class and requires constant critique, reflection, and action. Learning is
seen to be
a collective process, where participants share and analyze experiences together
in order to address concerns, relying on each others' strengths and resources
rather than either addressing problems individually or relying on outside
experts to solve them. Throughout this process of learning we will contribute
fully to our cooperative groups in order that both positive interdependence
can be assured.
- Content in this process is emergent. Each of us has to be involved not
only in determining content but in explicitly reflecting on what counts as
how learning takes place and their own roles in this process. The "bank" from
which content is drawn is the social reality of our lives: it may range
from the very immediate context of the classroom itself to family and community
content to broader political issues.
- The teacher's role in this is to act as a problem-poser, facilitating the
process of uncovering important issues and reflecting on them rather than
as a transmitter of knowledge and skills. Because students are the experts
on their own reality, the teacher is a co-learner.
- We will become lifelong learners, continually accepting differences among
diverse populations to include: ethnicity, disabilities, social class, culture,
gender, religion, sexual orientation, and race.
- Professional Conduct: Demonstrate at
least the second highest level in all of the professional dispositions
listed above (see
assessment checklist for dispositions)
- Assignments: All assignments
are due on the date listed. Late work will be graded but may earn a reduced
grade (10% per week past due date). There
will be a variety of course activities and assignments on which you will
be graded, including presentations of research, a service learning project
and written reflections. Details of these will be given in class. You will
be expected to synthesize the information from readings, videos, observations,
lectures, speakers, and class discussions in the assignments that you complete.
Attend all class sessions. If you have to miss a class or portion thereof in
the case of an emergency, you must make up the class by completing
all required readings/tasks for the class and by having someone from
class teach you what you missed. Missing more than 20% of the course
may result in you earning a failing grade.
- Participation: Participate
fully in class activities and discussions. Work cooperatively & effectively
with others in class & on group assignments.
- Preparation: Prepare
yourself thoroughly for class sessions by doing the necessary outside
All readings and assignments will be posted on the course web site. It
is your responsibility to check the site prior to class for updates and
to link to readings and assignments.
- Incompletes: Incompletes will not be given without extraordinary
circumstances and prior discussion and permission of the instructor.
- Academic Dishonesty: Dishonesty in any form such as,
but not limited to, plagiarism or cheating on tests and assignments will
not be tolerated. Students who misrepresent their work or commit another
act of dishonesty will receive a failing grade for the course and will
be recommended for removal from the program.
Challenge yourself to make the most of in and out-of-class work. IMPORTANT*: If
you already have evidence demonstrating your achievement of the expected
knowledge and skills for any assignment, meet with Helen to
develop an alternative assignment that further extends and challenges
you and meets your needs.
Assignments & tests
- A =
93% ....... A- = 90 - 92
- B+ =
87-89 .... B
= 83-86 ........ B- = 80 - 82
- C+ =
77-79 .... C = 73-76 ....... C- = 70 - 72
- D =
60 - 69
- F = <60
INVITE ANY OF YOU WHO HAVE ANY DISABILITY, EITHER PERMANENT OR TEMPORARY,
OR ANY OTHER SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH MIGHT AFFECT YOUR ABILITY TO
PERFORM IN THIS CLASS TO INFORM ME SO THAT TOGETHER WE CAN ADAPT METHODS,
MATERIALS, OR ASSIGNMENTS AS NEEDED TO PROVIDE EQUITABLE PARTICIPATION.
THANK YOU! HMR
* This syllabus was adapted from course syllabi developed by Kim
Riordan and Joan Varney of UMD's Education Department. Many parts are taken
with permission directly from their syllabi. My thanks to them both for their
input in helping me develop this course.