EDUC 476
Learning Communities: Reflection & Practice
Fall 2001
Meeting Time: Monday 4:30
Room: Marsh 212 / Seth A. Agbo, Ph.D.
Office: 312 Carnegie
Phone: (503) 352-3073

Office Hours: By appointment and

M,Tu,W: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon



The Learning Communities: Reflection and Practice course looks at the teacher as a decision maker and a transformative leader reflecting on teaching to develop professional knowledge and skills over time. The course is based on a proposition that it is important for teachers to be able to explain their methods and the reasons underlying their behaviors. Readings, activities, discussions and assignments will focus on developing knowledge of the foundations from which to examine teacher and student interactions within the classroom and the school. The main purpose of this course is for you to identify issues, problems, dilemmas and opportunities of teaching and acquire both theory and practice of classroom management. You will use knowledge gained from your academic preparation, practical experiences, readings and field experience (student teaching) to formulate a variety of strategies that will enable you to start thinking about how to apply knowledge and skills to make decisions and how to assess the consequences of the decisions and outcomes of actions.

Required Readings

Instructor-provided handouts


The course objectives are:

(a) To enable you to analyze your teaching metaphors, that is, to give a meaning to your teaching self;

(b) To enable you to develop confidence in making professional decisions that encourage student optimal learning;

(c) For you to attain a greater awareness of classroom management strategies that will assist you in promoting a productive learning environment, preventing behavior problems and applying a hierarchy of interventions to change inappropriate behavior;

(d) To prepare you to plan and implement effective instruction which uses diverse learner characteristics as the basis of choosing appropriate objectives, materials, and strategies; and,


The course will address the themes of a reflective teaching process.

Part 1: Introduction to Teaching

In the introductory part, we will overview the course and develop a concept of teaching.

Week 1: M 8/27 Introduction and overview of the course.

The meanings composing the teaching self—teaching metaphors.

Week 2: M 9/10 - Emerging as a teacher

The first-year teacher--“Larry” & “Nancy” (Handouts)

Discussion of Journal Entries

Week 4: M 9/17 – Metaphor and practice

Discovering your teaching self--“Marilyn” & “Barbara” (Handouts)

Discussion of Journal Entries

Week 5: M 9/24 – Challenges of Teaching Pressures

Changing Teaching Metaphors--“Heidi” & “Kay” (Handouts)

Discussion of Journal Entries

Part 2: Problems and Issues in Discipline

In the second part of the course, students will overview the causes of discipline problems and the roles of the home, society and school in ensuring that a proper learning environment is maintained. This part will also review how to make decisions about discipline and explore a number of discipline theories or models available for teachers’ use in the classroom.

Week 6 10/1 - Classroom Management--Discipline problems and their causes.

Discussion of Journal Entries

Week 7: 10/8 – Making Decisions About Discipline

Management Theories

Leadership Theories

Nondirective Intervention

Week 8: 10/15 – Meeting with your supervisors to discuss areas of concern

Part 3: The School in Its Political and Governmental Context

The third part will deal with the constitutional bases for educational governance; the roles of federal, state and local authorities; the meaning of public control; professional organizations; accreditation and approval of professional programs; teacher certification.

Week 9: 10/22 – School Organization and Administration

The structure of education in the U.S.

Schooling alternatives—public schools, public alternative schools and private schools.

Week 10: 10/29 – Teacher Organizations:

American federation of Teachers (AFT)

National Education Association (NEA)

Teacher Associations in Oregon

Week 11: 11/5 - Professionalism

Teachers as professionals in bureaucratic organizations

TSPC Licensure Procedures/Placement Files—Nancy Watt, Associate Dean

Week 12: 11/12 – Evaluation of teachers and students in Oregon

The evaluation of teachers in Oregon

Teacher self-evaluation, teacher portfolios

Student evaluation in Oregon

Oregon benchmarks

Role of administrators in program evaluation

Part 4: Preparing for a Teaching Position

Part 4 will afford the opportunity to prepare you for securing the right teaching position.

Week 13: 11/19 - Application/Hiring Process

The Hiring Process—Resume/Cover-letter, Interviews

Week 14: 11/26 – Interviewing for a Teaching Position

Preparation for interviewing

Mock interviews

Instructional Process

The course will function in a seminar format where participants are expected to contribute actively and knowledgeably in the discussions. Most discussions and other class activities will come from practical experiences in the field. There will be assigned readings that will involve extensive discussions.

Course Requirements:

1. Attendance

As the instructional formatin this course will be in a seminar and cooperative learning format, it is imperative that you attend class and complete the assigned readings before class. It is your responsibility to inform me and group members about your absence and to find out what you missed during the discussions. Being absent does not exclude you from anything that was discussed or due in class. In case you will absent from class during the period of the field experience, it is important for you to inform your mentor teacher and the coordinator of the cluster. A percentage of the total grade will be based on attendance.


Because this course will function in a seminar format, and not a lecture class, the active participation of all students is required. Participation will be evaluated, not on the quantity of what you say but on the quality of your contribution to class and group discussions. While I will provide you with feedback as to my evaluation of your participation, I will also occasionally ask you for a self-evaluation of your participation to determine how you perceive your own participation.

3.Field Experience Journal Keeping

Students in EDUC 476 are required to keep journals in which they enter their day-to-day field experiences. The daily journal keeping will form an integral part of class discussions and will also be useful to the student in completing the final project.

4.Course Assignments

Apart from the assigned readings, there will be ONE final (typed double-spaced) written project as follows:

A final project, aided by day-to-day journal keeping will expect you to tie everything together—teacher scenarios in the readings and case studies, your field experiences, and the meanings forming your self-perceptions as a teacher (your teaching metaphor). The final assignment will be in FIVE parts, namely:

(a)Education-related life history describing some of your school experiences that have led to your beliefs about teaching and learning and how these experiences are related to your initial and changed/maintained teaching metaphors.

(b)Ethnography of the field experience classroom. During the first few days in the program, you will document ethnography of the field experience classroom which means basically describing your field experience classroom using the following guidelines:

(c)Classroom Organization: how was your classroom organized by your mentor teacher for learning (number of students, seating arrangements, schedules, learning centers, bulletin boards, etc).

(d)Relationships within the Classroom: Identify the patterns of interaction in your classroom, that is, what were the routines and the formal and informal rules underlying them? What parts did the teacher and students play in maintaining order?

The classroom ethnographies enable you to identify how teachers organize their classrooms for learning, and to derive meaning from the assumptions supporting that organization. The ethnographies also help you to investigate how the relationships within the classroom constitute its climate and the parts played by the teacher and students in providing and maintaining order.

(3) Description of discipline model/models practiced by your mentor teacher in the field experience classroom, that is, how did your mentor teacher manage misbehavior--how often and when did s/he intervene and what was the nature of the intervention? Give examples.

Your Classroom Management Model: Describe a particular discipline model/models that you would adopt in your classroom (assuming your field experience classroom were your own). Use the following guideline:

a.Explain the level of control--whether it is a management, a leadership or a noninterventionist model.

b.Explain how the model works.

c. How would you personally apply it?

d. Give an example of an incident of misbehavior that occurred in your field experience classroom and explain how you will apply the discipline model/models you have chosen in dealing with the incident.

(4) A Mini Portfolio of Lesson Plans: You will submit a minimum of three lesson plans incorporating teaching strategies from methods course texts and class sessions. The lesson plans will pertain to lessons that you actually taught and should contain the following elements of your work sample:

a)Appropriate selected content and instructional materials

b)A narrative rationale justifying your choice of topic for the particular grade level.

c)Effective assessment rubrics for student performance activities.

(5) Self-evaluation: In this part, you will critically analyze your teaching by describing your strengths and weaknesses using the following:

(a)Interaction with students;

(b)Working independently;

(c)Seeking and accepting advice from mentor teacher;

(d)Active participation in class;

(e)Your classroom management skills and,

(f)Implementation of instruction.

You will then document your overall impression of the student teaching experience. Please note that a good self-evaluation clearly delineates your perceived weaknesses of your own teaching. Good teachers never think that they are perfect!

4Electronic Mail

All students taking EDUC 476 should have e-mail addresses ready by the second session. We will develop a list-serve program by which we can communicate outside the classroom at all times. Because of the Field Experience, we may have to communicate by e-mail.


Your final grade will be based on the following:

(a)Your attendance and participation in the seminar—Your attendance and participation will reflect the effectiveness of your journal entries (30%)

(b)Quality of your final project (70%).

You can achieve a maximum of 100% or a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 4.0. Your final grade will be determined by the total grades you earned in both the class participation and in the final project. The total score will be transformed into a final Grade Point Average (GPA) from 0.0-4.0 using the table of scaled scores that follows:

Total Score Interpretation / Letter Grade / Final Grade / Qualitative (Scaled Score)
95-100 / A / 4.0 / Excellent
90-94 / A- / 3.5 / Very Good
85-89 / B+ / 3.0 / High Attainment
80-84 / B / 2.5 / Above Average
75-79 / C / 2.0 / Satisfactory
70-74 / C- / 1.5 / Minimally Satisfactory
65-69 / D / 1.0 / Minimum for which Credit is Awarded
64 or less / D- / 0.0 / Failure

Academic Honesty Policy

I anticipate that our interactions in this course are based on mutual trust and integrity. While group work is permitted, and, in fact encouraged for some of the assignments, you are required to do your own work in the class assignments and papers. In preparation of papers, books, reports, essays, compositions and speeches, you will generally utilize information gained from others. It is absolutely necessary for you to acknowledge this help and information. The Library and the University Bookstore carry manuals of instruction in the style of preparing reports and papers. Such manuals as the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA)contain extensive information on proper ways of avoiding academic dishonesty. It is your responsibility to learn and apply general and specific guidelines. Disciplinary action may be taken against the violators of academic honesty as per statement of forms of Academic Dishonesty (see Pacific University college of Arts & Sciences Catalog 2001-2002, page 187 and Graduate Professions Catalog 2001-2002, page171) with special reference to “cheating” “plagiarism”, and “fabrication”. If you are in doubt as to whether some act constitutes a violation of the honesty policy, please ask me.