SS 325 - Education and Culture 


In a seminar format different theories and meanings of culture, cultural identities, the influences and relationships between learning and culture, and the different educational expectations of selected cultures are examined. Race, class, and genders will be discussed. Concepts are explored through dialogue, guest speakers, student presentations, and field trips. Prerequisite – Junior/Status Standing

Education and Culture Syllabus         

Spring 2013

Instructor:                     John Zaber 

Required Texts:           Sherman Alexie The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian


            Chose One: Autobiographical Reading/Memoir

                                   Bich Minh Nguyen (2007) Stealing the Buddha’s Dinner

                                    Brian D. Schultz (2008) Spectacular Things Happened Along the Way: Lessons

                                    Learned from an Urban Classroom

                                    Paley, V.G. (1989) White Teacher

                                    Robinson, John Elder (2008) Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s



This course is a reading and participatory heavy course reliant on your presence (physical and mental). The course format includes small and large group dialogue sessions, guest speakers, substantial reading and writing (reflection papers, personal essays, and final synthesis paper), and collaborative group projects, interspersed with field trips.

Course Objectives:

        1.     To gain an understanding of the history of American education through a socio-cultural lens.

        2.     To understand the “Culture of Power” in the U.S. and the role of minorities particulary in relation to education.

        3.     To gain empathy, world citizenship, and narrative imagination by reading autobiographical memoirs.

        4.     To engage in dialog around the notion of education as the practice of freedom.

        5.     To explore education on an international level.

        6.     To interact and engage with people of other cultures.



Component                                                     Value

Self Examination Paper                                            10%                            

Professionalism                                                           20%                                                    

Reflective Reading Response                                     20%                            

Dialogue Session                                                         10%                            

Autobiographical/Memoir Presentations                  10%                            

Discussions Series on Race                                         10%                            

Field Experiences                                                        10%                            


Students bring a variety of learning styles to class.  We do our best to support different learning modes by mixing lecture, discussion, hands-on work, and visual information.  Please feel free to let us know what mode works best for you—we will do our best to accommodate your learning style.   If you have a learning problem or documented disability, please check in with Leland Peterson, Learning Support Coordinator. Leland can help you determine what accommodations would be helpful for you in this course.