Contemporary Issues in Education course description

Welcome to UNIV 1810-017: Contemporary Issues in Education (Part of the Pre-Teaching Secondary English Learning Community)

Thursdays, 2-3:15, OAK 269
Professor Jason Courtmanche, Austin 161, 860-486-5772
undergraduate mentor Sammy VanValkenburg

The Contemporary Issues in Education course is designed to complement the Pre-Teaching Secondary English Learning Community, and is intended for those Freshmen and Sophomores who have declared English as their major and intend to pursue a degree and/or a career in secondary education. The course is intended to familiarize students with the field of secondary English education in particular, though we will cover subjects as diverse as federal legislation, the Common Core State Standards, the growing population of English Language Learners, the impact of technology, the tension between academic and creative writing, the writing process, issues surrounding standardized assessment, teacher professional development, and teacher evaluation, and we’ll even have a brief overview of the education programs available at UConn. Students taking this course will have a mentor (Marisa Nazzaro) who took this course last year, will be in contact with students from the IB/M or TCPCG programs, and will communicate with English teachers in local public schools. These teachers will likely be affiliated with the Connecticut Writing Project, which is an outreach and professional development program housed in the English Department and directed by Professor Courtmanche. I’ll also offer a couple opportunities for field trips. Likely destinations are the Mark Twain House and Museum and the Wadsworth Atheneum. In past years we have also traveled to the Yale Art Gallery and the Yale Center for British Art.

Students will write each week, either in response to the week’s readings or in response to a classmate’s writing. Each week, Sammy will post a prompt that ties into the readings in a “blog.” You will be required to respond to this posting by the following Thursday. Half of you will respond in 300 words directly to the posting, and the other half will respond in two 150 word postings to two of these initial responses. The following week, you switch.

You will also conduct two interviews, one with an IB/M or TCPCG student and one with a veteran teacher.

You will also each take a turn leading class discussion, most likely with a classmate.

For the final, you will compose a short (750 word) final paper. The final writing assignment will be on what it takes to be an effective secondary English teacher today. You can use this as practice for your application to Neag.

Final grade will be based on attendance, participation, and the quality of your written work.