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U-M EDUC 783 - EDUCATION 783 syllabus

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PAGE 1 (VERSION 1) EDUCATION 783-001 MATHEMATICS CURRICULUM: RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT FALL 2007 Professor Vilma Mesa [email protected] 1360F SEB/647-0628 Class Meetings Tuesdays 9:00-12:00 pm Room 2225 SEB Class website http://www.ctools.umich.edu/ Description What are researchable questions in investigating curriculum in mathematics? What are the methods that will yield interesting results in investigating mathematics curriculum? What are basic principles for developing curriculum in mathematics? These and other related questions will be addressed in this course. The main purpose of this course is to help students develop an understanding of the school mathematics curriculum, with a particular emphasis on the U. S. and grades K-16. In this course, the curriculum is understood as both the explicit planned course of learning put before students, and the hidden or latent experiences that students encounter in school settings. Students will become familiar with many key issues faced by diverse stakeholders concerned with the school mathematics curriculum, including curriculum designers, researchers, evaluation specialists, assessment developers, and teachers. To provide useful contrasts that should deepen students’ understanding of contemporary mathematics curriculum issues in the U. S., the course incorporates historical and international perspectives and current philosophical underpinnings of general curriculum theory. In this course we will get acquainted with issues of the intended curriculum (e.g., the nature of curriculum guidelines or textbooks), the implemented curriculum (e.g., teachers’ enactments of curriculum goals), and the attained curriculum (e.g., assessment of the effectiveness of curriculum). Because this course is intended to help develop emergent scholars in the field of mathematics education, there will be in-depth investigations of the relationship between curriculum and research. COURSE EXPECTATIONS This 3-credit course is organized as a seminar format, in which the essential feature will be the in-class discussion of the weekly readings by all the attendees. Supportive, productive, and critical inquiry into curriculum issues is both an aim and a means for the course. Students are expected to attend all class sessions, to complete course readings prior to the class for which they are assigned, and participate actively in the discussions. Students are expected to inform the instructor, in advance, of absences.PAGE 2 (VERSION 1) Reading is a critical component of the course, and as an advanced graduate level course, the reading load is substantial. It is expected that students will come to class having read the assigned material thoroughly and thoughtfully and that they be willing to share their understandings of the readings in order to contribute to the learning of all class members. For each class session there will be a reading assignment. Students are expected to post a reflection on the readings, as indicated in the schedule, by the previous Monday, at noon. These contributions will be tracked in the Discussion section of CTools. Limit your contributions to 1,000 words. Special Forms of Participation Book review: Each student will select a piece from the list provided and write a review that will address the following seven questions, that are useful as a framework for beginning an inquiry into curriculum: 1. What is worth knowing and what is worth experiencing? 2. What conception of good life is implied by the curriculum? 3. Whose interests does the curriculum serve and for what kind of future is the curriculum explicitly or implicitly preparing students? 4. What stand does the curriculum take on questions of democracy and diversity? 5. What is the relationship between the knowledge embedded in the curriculum and those enacting the curriculum? 6. What kinds of relationships among school participants are best for enacting the curriculum? 7. How do the broader social conditions influence the shape of the curriculum and students’ experiences of the curriculum? (Beyer and Liston, 1996)1. The review must include also a final recommendation about the value of reading the book. The reviews will be presented to the class in one of the three following sessions: October 30, and November 6, and November 13. The presentation should be given in the form of a “Radio Book Review,” (à la NPR) which usually consist of a text that is read in no more than 4 minutes (for an example of such reviews see the examples provided in the Resources folder in CTools). Students are advised to talk to the instructor about their book choice and about their review piece at least two weeks before the due date. Post your review in CTools, prior to the class when you will give your review, in the corresponding folder under Resources. The New Math, The Standards: A Debate. Each student will participate in a special class session on October 23. In preparation for this session, the class will be split into two groups. One group will be the experts on the “New Math” reforms; the second group will be the experts on the “Standards” 1 Beyer, L., & Liston, D. (1996). Curriculum in conflict: Social visions, educational agendas, and progressive school reform. New York: Teachers College.PAGE 3 (VERSION 1) movement. Each group will prepare a non-talking-head presentation (i.e., a parody, a dramatization, a personification, a song, a poem, a video) about the principles and rationale behind each of these approaches to reforming the school mathematics curriculum. In the first part of the class, each group will have 15 minutes for such presentation. In the second part of the class, we will conduct a debate. The instructor and students will play different stakeholder roles in the debate, asking questions of each group and demanding action for issues that are aligned with their own stakeholder roles. A portion of class on October 2 will be devoted to helping groups organize this presentation. Group Research Project. Students working in pairs are expected to select a topic tied to the school mathematics curriculum issues treated in this course, to conduct an independent investigation of this topic, and to prepare a paper and a poster presentation based on this investigation. In many cases, the written paper will take the form of a review and synthesis of literature related to the topic, but other formats are also possible, depending on the


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