ED570 Critical Teach for Social Change

for S2P 2011

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Park University School for Education  Conceptual Framework


ED 570 Critical Teach for Social Change


S2P 2011 DL


Dennis, Kay S.


Assistant Professor


Ed.D., North Carolina State University
M.S.N., East Carolina University
B.S.N., University of Kentucky

Office Location


Office Hours


Daytime Phone

252.241.9463 (From 8:00 - 8:00 eastern, M-Th; other times as arranged)

Other Phone

skype  kdennis



Semester Dates

March 14  -  May 8, 2011

Class Days


Class Time



ED 500, ED 538, ED 554

Credit Hours



Title: Developing Critical Thinkers: Challenging Adults to Explore Alternative Ways of Thinking and Acting
Author: Stephen D. Brookfield       ISBN: 1-55542-356-6

Title: Empowering Education
Author: Ira Shor                              ISBN: 0-226-75357-3 

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:
As found in the course.

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
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Course Description:
ED570 Critical Teaching for Social Change: This course evaluated the work of the most cited critical educators in the field of education (Gramsci, Freire, and Shor) and analyzes the challenges to, and resources for, empowering adult educators toward social change and transformative action. This course will also compare the work of these leading theorists and apply their principles toward adult education in a variety of contexts. Prerequisites: ED 500, ED 538, ED 554

Educational Philosophy:
Students achieve optimal success when they participate actively in a timely manner, consistently apply their best effort, and share the responsibility for their own learning. As an educator I will guide, facilitate and support your learning by:

1.   Creating an organized, positive, and interactive learning climate

2.   Focusing your attention on important aspects of the course

3.   Clarifying performance expectations

4.   Encouraging reflection

5. Assessing and acknowledging your achievements

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Examine and interpret the concepts of epistemology and critical teaching theories toward application in educational contexts for adult learners.
  2. Analyze assumptions underlying one's thoughts and actions, and facilitate others' examination through the development of strategies and critical questioning.
  3. Synthesize the work of key authors in the field of critical teaching for social change.
  4. Distinguish factors that produce conditions of empowerment, and the links that exist between knowledge and power.
  5. Appraise and critique current issues in society that impact an adult learner's ability to access or participate in lifelong learning.
  6. Develop and assess one's role as a change agent in adult education.

Core Assessment:

Class Assessment:
Critical Incident Exercise Unit 1 (weeks 1-2). You are to review several video collections (approximately 2 hours of footage) related to persons who experience a ‘perspective transformation’ in their lives. Identify the 5 stages of critical thinking, and reflect upon the manner in which each person progresses through such phases. Examine their espoused theories and their theories-in-use, and apply conceptual information to each real life scenario. Then identify and examine a critical incident in your life that led to a perspective transformation and describe your progression through the 5 phrases of critical thinking. Also, examine your underlying assumptions, espoused theories, theories-in-use, and application of concepts. Due at the close of week 2. (100 points)



Point Value

Demonstrate a clear understanding and provides the description of each individual in the featured videos (according to the indicators listed in the assignment)


Integrate the readings, theories, and concepts covered in class


Provide 3-6 citations and references from separate sources to support your ideas, perspectives, and interpretation. (using both internal and external resources)


Describe your progression through the 5 phases of critical thinking based on an event in your life and the resulting transformation. Include a detailed description of the following (each worth 10 pts):

  • Phases of critical thinking (10 pts.)
  • Underlying assumptions (10 pts.)
  • Espoused theories (10 pts.)
  • Theories-in-use (10 pts.)
  • Perspective transformation (10 pts.)


Use APA style formatting throughout



Total Points




Agency VisitUnit 2 (weeks 3-4). Goal: To demonstrate synthesis and analysis of course content as it applies to the practice of adult education. Visit an agency (other than your place of employment) that provides education services to adults. Select the agency and notify your instructor before the close of week 2. (100 points) During your visit you will interview the director and determine:

1.      What services the agency provides

2.      History, mission, and goals of the agency

3.      Who the learners are that use the services

4.      Challenges in directing the agency

5.      Its source of funding

6.      Impact of legislation on the agency

7.      Challenges the learners face in meeting their goals

8.      Other information you find important. Then,

  1. Identify the active social change and transformation the agency is trying to address
  2. Develop recommendations which may help to better meet the mission and goals of the agency
  3. Cite course content to support your recommendations.






Agency selected serves adult learners


Interviewed an appropriate agency representative


Described the services the agency provides


Described the history, mission, and goals of the agency


Defined the adult population who uses the services


Identified the source of funding of the agency


Identified the challenges in directing the agency


Identified the impact of legislation on the agency


Described the challenges facing target learners in meeting their personal goals



Identified the active social change and transformation the agency is trying to address


Developed a minimum of three recommendations to better meet the mission and goals of the agency

Stated insights from reflecting on agency visit and interview 




Included at least three citations from course content/texts to support recommendations


Described four significant new insights related to social change and transformative action in education as a result of the visit.



Organized presentation effectively


600 word limit

While the entire paper provides more depth, the executive summary will include your comprehensive, well written feedback that will be shared with the agency's director with whom you met.  Upon instructor review, you will share the executive summary with the director via email or a follow-up meeting.  The summary should include the following components:  1) a statement of your appreciation to the director for meeting with you and sharing information, 2) your understanding of the agency's mission, role, and intended impact to educate adult learners, and 3) the strengths you found in the agency and your observations/suggestions that may help it continue to flourish and grow.





Social Entrepreneur ProjectUnit 3 (weeks 5-6).  We will explore Social Change and Influence. This project is intended to create meaningful change and lead to significant, tangible results in the real world. Working individually or in self-selected small groups, you are to identify one topic in need of education to promote social change (previous topics have included global warming, education for the incarcerated, educating on the genocide in Africa, promoting women’s equality, parent education, etc.). Each group or individual will complete an “entrepreneurial project & grant proposal” that describes (1) a cost effective approach for implementing programming; (2) how the project will affect the intended population; (3) the program creation and implementation plan; (4) how the funding will be used; and (5) how success of the project if implemented would be assessed. The goal is to design a project that would cost less than $100.00. This is your opportunity to flex your creative muscles! After constructing the project, you are to write a reflection of your work to include an analysis of the values that led to this particular project. (100 points)



Point Value

Title of the project

10 points

Rationale for topic and project selection

10 points

Statement of purpose and objectives

10 points

Anticipated value added to society (anticipated social change and population affected)

10 points

Description of resources needed
(Examples: experts, colleagues, books, videos, software, etc.)

10 points

A summary of methods and planning
(what you plan to do and how you plan to do it)

10 points

A detailed summary of strategies for utilizing the grant money (up to $100.00)

10 points

Breakdown of activities and timeframes for accomplishing the project– (which must be limited to 3 weeks for completion, conducted collaboratively by classmates)

10 points

Specification of criteria for assessment of project success

10 points

Specification of indicators for judging whether these criteria have been met.

10 points

Total Points Available

100 points

Criteria Analysis & SimulationUnit 4 (weeks 7-8). We will conclude with a criteria analysis, which will consist of four decision scenarios in which you are to make a value-based judgment/ reflection and justify your rationale. In moving through the four-part scenarios you will examine and explain why you believe these criteria are most critical, and how knowledge of these criteria may affect your adult education practice in the future. (100 points)


Particularly given the topic and nature of this course, for our concluding activity we have a method for outlining the progression of critical inquiry and what is expected from critical thinkers. While historically it has been challenging to identify or assess one’s critical thinking, the opportunity to create a synthesizing rubric emerged in the work of Randolph Smith (2002), who asserts that critical thinkers possess seven characteristics:

(1)   critical thinkers are flexible – they can tolerate ambiguity and uncertainty

(2)   critical thinkers identify inherent biases and assumptions

(3)   critical thinkers maintain an air of skepticism

(4)   critical thinkers separate facts from opinions

(5)   critical thinkers do not oversimplify

(6)   critical thinkers use logical inference processes

(7)   critical thinkers examine available evidence before drawing conclusions

Smith’s (2002) characteristics will be used as identifiable “markers” to seek while assessing your progress toward critical thinking. The focus of all work should be on the process of learning, rather than the points; however, here we have an example of how these characteristics can translate to points for this assignment. For full credit, I expect all of you to display all 7 characteristics in this activity.


Critical Thinker Characteristics



Point Value


Examples of Evidence

Flexibility; tolerates ambiguity and uncertainty

15 points

·        Displays a willingness to question one’s own ideas, values, and beliefs.

·        Demonstrates openness to a new level of understanding through reflection.

Identifies inherent biases and assumptions

15 points

·        Shares one’s own biases and assumptions in the context of the learning topics

Maintains a healthy skepticism

15 points

·        Seeks to question the answers vs. answering the questions.

·        Integrates and considers multiple perspectives and ideas.

Separates facts from opinions

15 points

·        Cites specific information from reputable sources

·        Provides additional external resources (i.e. weblinks, videos, podcast, etc.) related to the material

·        Correctly cites all work using APA formatting.

Does not oversimplify

10 points

·        Avoids generalizations and instead focuses on specific values, ideas, and criteria that can be applicable in practice.

Utilizes logical inference processes

15 points

·        Draws logical conclusions from past experience, combining current knowledge and information to analyze how such criteria can inform practice.

Examines available evidence before drawing conclusions

15 points

·        Uses a holistic view that incorporates personal experience, research, individual perspective





Question of the Week – Weekly.  In an online environment your active participation is essential. In each unit, we will discuss two questions: 1) one instructor-developed question, and 2) one learner-developed question. Since each unit spans two weeks, the first week will be used to address the instructor-developed question. You are to work collaboratively as a class to develop one question pertaining to information and insights you would like to gain from that unit. Therefore, in week 1, you will respond to the instructor-developed question, and as a class, formulate the learner question to be addressed in week 2. In the second week of each unit, you will respond to (and engage with) the learner-developed question you created together as a class, offering ideas, insights, examples, and external web links to support the discussion. (80 point value total; 10 points per question per week)


Grading: 10-point scale

A = 432 - 480 points
B = 384 - 431 points
C = 336 - 383 points
D = 288 - 335 points


Number of

Point Value 


 Critical Incident Exercise




 Agency Visit




 Social Entrepreneur Project




 Criteria Analysis Simulation




 Question of the Week




 Total Points


Late Submission of Course Materials:
Late assignments are accepted at the discretion of the instructor and only when discussed prior to deadline.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

Timeframe & Topic 

Featured Readings

Learning Activities  
Due Dates
(All assignments are due
by midnight CST on due date)

Unit One 

Week 1 & 2
Understanding Epistemology & Critical Thinking
1, 2, 3


Brookfield, S.D. (1987).
Developing Critical Thinkers:
Challenging Adults to Explore
Alternative Ways of Thinking and Acting. Jossey-Bass: San Francisco.
(Read Chapters 1-3)

Schon, D.A. (Summer, 1992).
The theory of inquiry: Dewey's legacy to education, Curriculum Inquiry, Vol. 22, No. 2, pp. 119-139.

Mezirow, J. (1997).
Transformative learning: Theory to practice, New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education (74), p.5-12.

Moseley, D., Elliott, J., Gregson, M. & Higgins, S. (June, 2005). Thinking skills frameworks for use in education and training, British Educational Research Journal, Vol. 31, No. 3, pp. 367-390. 

Post personal introduction
(Due Wed. Week 1)

View Current Event Video: “open source learning”
(Due Fri. Week 1)

Question of the week:
Wk 1: instructor developed
(Due Sun. Week 1)
Wk 2: Learner developed
(Due Sun. Week 2)

Critical incident exercise and video analysis
(Due Sun. Week 2)

Submit agency selection to instructor via email
(Due Sun. Week 2)

Unit Two

Week 3 & 4

Knowledge, Power, & Access to Higher Education
Objective(s): 4, 5 

Freire, P. (1985). Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Continum: New York.
(Read Chapters 2-3)

Shor, I. (1992). Empowering Education. The University of Chicago Press:
Chicago and London.
(Read Chapters 1- 5)

A Global Perspective:
Moore, J. (Jan., 2005).
Is higher education ready for
transformative learning?
The Journal of Transformative Education,
3 (1), p. 76-91.  

View Current Event Video:
“The American Graduation Initiative”
(Due Fri Week 3)

Question of the week:
Wk 1: instructor developed
(Due Sun Week 3)
Wk 2: Learner developed
(Due Sun Week 4)

Agency Visit
(Due Sun Week 4)

Unit Three

Week 5 & 6

Social Change and Influence


Teaching for Transformation
by Patricia Cranton (Chapter 6)

Cervero, R. M.,Wilson, A.L. (2000).
Power in Practice: Adult Education
and the Struggle for Knowledge and Power in Society.
Jossey Bass: San Francisco.
(One chapter – your choice).

Video summary: Thomas Friedman’s
590 page book, “The World is Flat”,
discusses globalization and its
impact on education and our world; highlighting issues is power, influence, and change. (1 ½ hour video)

View Current Event
Video: “How I’m trying to change the world”
(Due Friday Week 5)

Question of the Week

Wk 1: instructor developed
(Due Sunday Week 5)
Wk 2: Learner developed
(Due Sunday Week 6)

Social Entrepreneur Project
(Due Wed Week 8)

Unit Four

Week 7 & 8

Transformation and


Developing Critical Thinkers
by Stephen Brookfield
(Read Chapter 5-7)

Empowering Education
by Ira Shor
(Read Chapter 7, 8, 9) 

View Current Event Video:
“Writing a web for global good”
(Due Fri Week 7)

Question of the Week

Wk1: instructor developed
(Due Sun Week 7)
Wk 2: Learner developed
(Due Sun Week 8)

Criteria Analysis and Simulation
(Due Fri Week 8) 

Academic Honesty:
As a learning community, the University upholds the highest standards of academic integrity in all its academic activities, by faculty, staff, administrators and students. Academic integrity involves much more than respecting intellectual property rights. It lies at the heart of learning, creativity, and the core values of the University. Those who learn, teach, write, publish, present, or exhibit creative works are advised to familiarize themselves with the requirements of academic integrity and make every effort to avoid possible offenses against it, knowingly or unknowingly. Park University 2010-2011 Graduate Catalog Page 20


Plagiarism involves the appropriation of another person's ideas, interpretation, words (even a few), data, statements, illustration or creative work and their presentation as one's own. An offense against plagiarism constitutes a serious academic misconduct.  Although offenses against academic integrity can manifest themselves in various ways, the most common forms of offenses are plagiarism and cheating. Plagiarism goes beyond the copying of an entire article. It may include, but is not limited to: copying a section of an article or a chapter from a book, reproduction of an art work, illustration, cartoon, photograph and the like and passing them off as one's own. Copying from the Internet is no less serious an offense than copying from a book or printed article, even when the material is not copyrighted.

Plagiarism also includes borrowing ideas and phrases from, or paraphrasing, someone else's work, published or unpublished, without acknowledging and documenting the source. Acknowledging and documenting the source of an idea or phrase, at the point where it is utilized, is necessary even when the idea or phrase is taken from a speech or conversation with another person.

Park University 2010-2011 Graduate Catalog Page 20

Attendance Policy:

Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and report absences. Excused absences can be granted by the instructor, for medical reasons, school sponsored activities, and employment-related demands, including temporary duty. Students are responsible for any missed work. Absences for two successive weeks, without approved excuse, will be reported to the Director of the individual graduate program, or to the Executive Director for the Graduate School, for appropriate action. Students with such a record of absences, without an approved excuse, may be administratively withdrawn from the class and notified that an "F" will be recorded, unless the student initiates official withdrawal from the class(es).Park University 2010-2011 Graduate Catalog Page 24

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: http://www.park.edu/disability .


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Last Updated:3/4/2011 12:33:25 PM