Educ 1100 Human Diversity & PEA 299 Intercultural Understanding and Competence: Spring 2004 - Vaxjo University: Kajsa Higgins & Helen Mongan-Rallis

1100 Syllabus|Schedule|Assignments|Resources

Educ 1100 Human Diversity Syllabus*
Spring 2004 

[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
Class meeting times:
see schedule (times vary so do check this)
Helen Mongan-Rallis & Kajsa Higgins
F204 Instit. Pedagogik
Helen: 070-423-3692 (mobile) 0470-70-8298 (office)
Kajsa: 0470-70-8256 (office)
Office hours:
 Following class each day and by appointment.
Educ 1100 Home Page

Course Description

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 (C), 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 to synthesize information and ideas developed in class work with actual situations.

Required Readings

  1. 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)

Course Outcomes

Course outcomes
By the end of this course students will be able to:
Educ Dept.Themes
(see description of the conceptual framework & themes)

A. Compare and contrast differing points of view regarding diversity issues and synthesize information presented. Begin to make connections to classrooms:

  1. use information about student's families, cultures, and communities as a bases for connecting instruction to students' experiences
  2. bring multiple perspectives to the discussion of subject matter, including attention to students' personal, family and community experiences and cultural norms
  3. understand cultural and community diversity and knowing how to learn about and incorporate student's experiences, cultures, and community resources into instruction
  4. understand the power of language for fostering self-expression, identity development, and learning
  5. understand how factors in a student's environment outside of school may influence student life and learning
  1. 3.35
  2. 3.36
  3. 3.15
  4. 6.21
  5. 10.12
  1. 3O
  2. 3P
  3. 3H
  4. 6E
  5. 10B

All of the five themes are integral to all aspects of this course:

  • Diversity
  • Empowerment
  • Collaboration
  • Reflection
  • Technology






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:

  1. use a student's strength as a basis for growth, and a student's errors as opportunities for learning
  2. understand how student's learning is influenced by individual experiences, talents, and prior learning, as well as language, culture, family and community values
  3. understand how to recognize and deal with dehumanizing biases, discrimination, prejudices, and institutional and personal racism and sexism
  4. understand that all children can and should learn at high levels and persist in helping all students achieve success
  5. understand how cultural and gender differences can affect communication in the classroom
  6. understand the influences of the teacher's behavior on student growth and learning
  7. understand some of the contributions of various racial, cultural and economic groups in our society
  1. 2.22
  2. 3.14
  3. 3
  4. 3.21
  5. 6.12
  6. 9
  7. 6.21
  8. 3.13
  1.  2D
  2. 3E
  3. 3D
  4. 3I
  5. 6B
  6. 9C
  7. 6E
  8. 3F

CExplain barriers, both societal and personal, which can limit people in their attempts to meet their potential and make suggestions for elimination of barriers:

  1. become sensitive to community and cultural norms
  2. identify when and how to access a variety of appropriate services or resources to meet exceptional learning needs
  3. use a variety of media communication tools, including audio-visual aids and computers, i.e. educational technology, to enrich learning opportunities
  4. understand the influence of use and misuse of tobacco, alcohol, drugs and other chemicals on student life and learning
  1. 3.24
  2. 3.34
  3. 6.35
  4. 10
  1.  3J
  2. 3N
  3. 6K
  4. 10E

D.  Participate in a volunteer capacity within a community human service agency

  1. understand how social groups function and influence people, and how people influence groups
  2. identify and use community resources to foster student learning
  3. understand mandatory reporting laws and rules
  4. collaborate with other professionals to improve the overall learning environment for students
  1. 5.12
  2. 10.33
  3. 10
  4. 10.25
  1.  5B
  2. 10J
  3. 10L
  4. 10G

Professional Dispositions

See detailed description and self-rating on each disposition

  • Attendance/Punctuality
  • Self-Initiative/Independence
  • Reliability/Dependability
  • Oral Expression
  • Written Expression
  • Critical Thinking Skills
  • Tact Judgment
  • Collegiality
  • Reflective Response to Feedback/Supervision
  • Interaction with Students/Peers/Teachers/Others
  • Desire to Improve Own Teaching Performance
  • Commitment to the Profession
  • Attitudes Towards Learners (seeks strategies that provide opportunities for all students)
  • Professional Ethics and Demeanor

Instructional Strategies

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.

  1. Acknowledge that sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia, and other types of discrimination have most often been systematically taught and learned.
  2. We cannot be blamed for information we have learned, but we will be held responsible for repeating misinformation after we have learned otherwise.
  3. We do not blame others if they do not have the advantages and opportunities that we may have.
  4. We will assume that people are always doing the best they can.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 experiences.
  7. 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.
  8. In every way we will work to create a safe atmosphere for open discussion.
  9. We will recognize the uniqueness of each student.
  10. 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 and individual accountability can be assured.
  11. 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 knowledge, 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.
  12. 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.
  13. We will become lifelong learners, continually accepting differences among diverse populations to include: ethnicity, disabilities, social class, culture, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and race.

Course Expectations

  1. Professional Conduct: Demonstrate at least the second highest level in all of the professional dispositions listed above (see assessment checklist for dispositions)
  2. 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.
  3. Attendance: 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.
  4. Participation: Participate fully in class activities and discussions. Work cooperatively & effectively with others in class & on group assignments.
  5. Preparation: Prepare yourself thoroughly for class sessions by doing the necessary outside work and readings. 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.
  6. Incompletes: Incompletes will not be given without extraordinary circumstances and prior discussion and permission of the instructor.
  7. 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.
  8. Challenge yourself: 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

 Assignment  % of grade  Due Date

Reflection Papers (see also Grading Rubric for Reflection Assignments):
1) Reflection Assignment # 1: Exploring What Diversity Means To You
2) Reflection # 2: School Visit - Examining Multicultural Aspects of School
3) Reflection # 3: final reflection & synthesis

1) 10%
2) 10%
3) 20%


Outside Event/Trip Summary
Interview of person from another culture (use guideline questions)
Media Analysis
Lesson plan
Practicum & travel journal (due later in term)
Total: 100%  

 Total Course Grade:
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

* 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.

1100 Syllabus|Schedule|Assignments|Resources