Dramatically increasing economic inequality in a rapidly globalizing world, major capitalist crisis, massive financial fraud, high unemployment, longterm warfare, environmental devastation, increasing corporate political influence, attacks on public employees and unions and elimination of public sector resources, escalting college costs and student debt -- all of this and more has led to one of the most significant global protest movements of recent history.
K-12 and university education is also caught up in the complex dynamics that inspire Occupy Wall Street. A struggle over educational purposes and resources is manifest in demands for curriculum control, imposition of state and national standards, standardized testing, uniform assessment, accountability, and accreditation. While the message to the 99% may be "let them eat tests," there are simultaneously powerful avenues of resistance including critical pedagogy, multicultural and perspectival teaching, expanding canons, new conceptions of text, and potentially empowering new technologies.
From the beginning of the course students will focus on a literature course that they currently teach, or would like to teach, and this seminar's course work and the final project will be carefully and systematically developed around that class, putting into practice the critical and transformational approaches we will be studying.
The ambition of this course will be for teachers to able to "Occupy Literature" -- to develop meaningful and relevant cultural studies, critical pedagogy literature curriculum related in some way to one or more of the myrid topics, issues and themes animating the Occupy Movement. By drawing on Occupy Wall Street, the seminar hopes to illustrate the pedagogical value of teaching literature as a history of the present, and a utopian aspiration for the future.
Addressing secondary and university levels, this seminar aims to foster teacher intellectuals and professional leaders in the teaching of literature. To do so in the light of Occupy Wall Street entails attending to issues of inequality, racism, and nationalism in the historical development of our discipline and the institutionalization of literature instruction, questions of textual and interpretive authority, canon formation, and the standardization and corporatization of education. It also calls for exploring the democratizing possibilities of cultural studies, multicultural materials and perspectives, literary theory, textual intervention and alternative knowledges, emerging Internet tools and resources, and alternative pedagogies and democratic decision making.
Editors at the journal Rethinking Schools have encouraged our class to craft an article addressing English teaching and the Occupy Movement. And, our syllabus is, in some measure, designed around the possibility of such an article -- which I believe we could substantially and collectively write via participation in our on-line Nicenet computer conference. (Our Nicenet class name is "6800 2012" and the class key is "2327450624.")
Our course will be taught in the WMU English Education wireless laptop classroom suite and will experiment with a variety of free resources and open-source teacher-driven technologies (rather than coporate course management tools) including remote hosted websites, collaborative writing forums, wikis, threaded discussion, social networking, blogs, etc.
Of course books, too, are technology, caught up in systems of production and market distribution...
Students are expected to join the National Council of the Teachers of English, Michigan Council of the Teachers of English, Association of Writers and Writing Programs, and/or the Modern Language Association and write a proposal to present at a professional conference, such as the NCTE Conference (Las Vegas, Nov. 15-18) or the AWP Conference.
Since the seminar is discussion-based, attendance and preparation are essential. Missing any classes will affect your learning. Missing classes may affect your final grade and missing three or more classes may lead to failing the course. See my philosophy regarding preparation, attendance, and participation.
Introductions / Professional Proposals
2) Purposes of teaching literature
3) Review syllabus
4) Respond to #Occupy English on Nicenet.
4) Develop ideas for professional presentation. (Wednesday, Jan. 20: NCTE Proposals Due)
1)Read: Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison by Michel Foucault. Focus on pages 3-16, 23-24, 27-31, 58-69, 112-116, 123-126, 135-194, 200-209.
3) "The Body Literate: Discourse and Inscription in Early Literacy Training" by Allan Luke (use library login for full text, partial text handed out in class).
3) Optional: Schrag, Francis. Why Foucault Now?
4) Participate in Nicenet discussion
Read: 1): Communist Manifesto, sections I, II & IV by Karl Marx (1848)
2) "Althusser on Education" from Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses.
4) "Advanced Placement on the Ladder of Success" (51-65) from English in America by Richard Ohmann.
5) From Critical Teaching and Everyday Life (1-24) by Ira Shorr
6) "Corporatization of Public Education," by Marissa Litman
7) Participate in Nicenet discussion
Your presentation should be about 8 mins. Engaging visuals, handouts, resources, welcome.
3) Read: Textual Intervention: Critical and Creative Strategies for Literary Studies by Rob Pope, Chapters 1.
4) Participate in Nicenet discussion
2) Participate in Nicenet discussion
3) Attend scholarly speaker keynote lecture by Dr. Webb: "Drones, Gunships and Good Shooting: War and Video Games"
Incorporate Internet tools for English teachers: Nicenet, Literary Worlds, Google Documents, Webquests, Blogger, Word Press, LiveJournal, Animoto, IMovie, Audio Boo, Google Ajaz Feed, Illuminated Texts, Prezi, (Glogster) Tagxedo, Wordle, Erasure, AfterTheDeadline, freeforms.org, mind meister, bubbl.us, Pikistrips, Webspiration, Good Reads, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Second Life...
Incorporate Internet resources for English teachers: On-line literary archives, starting point LitArchives.com (Some of these archives are actually collections of archives--explore to find archives you might work with): NaNo WriMO, Literature Circles, Literature Resources; Teaching Resources; Web Research; lesson plan sites such as Read/Write/Think, Outta Ray's Head, Web English Teacher, the Discovery School, New York Times Lesson Plan Archive, Cyberguides, Lesson Plans Page, ERIC, NCTE's Notes Plus (subscribers only), Lesson Planz.com; ezines such as Alt-X, Zinebook...
------------ Spring Break Mar 5 - Mar 12 -------------
1) From Controversy in the Classroom: The Democratic Power of Discussion by Diana Hess (11-16, 27-36, 71-75)
2) "Teaching Toward Great Conversations" from Building Adolescent Literacy in Today's English Classrooms by Randy Bomer (2011).
2) From Looking in Classrooms (3rd ed.) by Good and Brophy "Chapter 1" "Questioning" 346-357, Form 10.3, 10.4, 10.6, Methods of Classroom Observation Appendix A, B & C, pages 63-73 (6th ed.).
3) "Questioning Behaviors" (from Making the Journey by Leila Christenbury, 1994,
4) "Managing Recitation and Discussion" (chapter 10) from Secondary Classroom Management (McGraw Hill 1996)
5) Optional: podcasts of Allen's lectures on discussion and related webpages:
6) Participate in Nicenet discussion
1) Literature as Exploration, Louise Rosenblatt
2) Read: Handout from Literature Circles by Harvey Daniels and the Literature Circles website.
3) Participate in Nicenet discussion
1) Read: Critical Encounters in High School English Second Edition by Deborah Appleman
2) Participate in Nicenet discussion
3) Due: Discussion Analysis
Occupy Education, Editorial Board, Rethinking Schools, Spring 2012.
Writer's Guidelines, Rethinking Schools.
Study Rethinking Schools website and past issues of their journal.
Apr 26 Finals Week: 7:15-9:15
Due: Final Project
Feb 29-Mar 35 AWP, Chicago
March 10-11 Michigan Reading Association Conference, Grand Rapids
March 21-4 CCCC Conference, St. Louis
Oct 3? MCTE Fall Conference
Nov 15-18 NCTE National Conference, Las Vegas
Jan 3-6 MLA Conference, Boston
Additional Relevant Websites
6800 student websites created in past courses
Examine English methods course syllabi at English Methods.com
Other Courses Informed by the Occupy Movement
Occupy This Class HUM 415 | Contemporary Culture, San Francisco State University, Dr. Robert C Thomas.
Occupy Movement, Social and Cultural Analysis, Lisa Duggan, New York University.
The Occupy Movement in America PHIL 493, Cory Watilo, Purdue University.
Occupy the Field: Global Finance, Inequality, Social Movement, Anthropology, Hannah Appel, Columbia University.
CEO Pay, Finance and Corporate Governance, Finance 533, Kevin Murphy, University of Southern California.
US Social Movements and Political Change, Political Science 386, Gerry Berk, University of Oregon.
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