ED503 Spring 2021 Syllabus

Are you willing to explore and discover who you are, deeply and comprehensively, and who you might become as a teacher? […] And are you willing to commit to teaching as a practice, an ongoing life project of discovery and surprise about the world, about other people, and, yes even about yourself?

– Bill Ayers, about Becoming a Teacher

Welcome to ED503 Orientation to the Educational Environment

This course is an introduction to diverse educational settings. Students become familiar with the foundations of education, school policies, procedures, and various instructional arrangements through selected readings, class discussions and field based experiences. Students will examine state minimum standards for different subject areas, course of study, student discipline policies, board policies, teacher preparation, and intervention procedures within a general education frame -work.  Additionally, this course has a mandatory five-hour per week field based component. Students learn how to conduct ecological assessments, and become acquainted with various professional roles and educational settings. 

ED503 Wednesday 5:00pm-7:40pm (Synchronous Web/online)

Professor David Shutkin, Ph.D.

Office Hours (online)

M/W 3:30pm-4:30pm
T/R 2:00pm-4:00pm

And by appointment

Course Website https://exploringeducation.org/

Required Textbook

William Ayers. 2019. About becoming a teacher. New York : Teachers College Press.

Course Learning Outcomes

Students will…

  • Develop knowledge of some basic elements of educational professional practice (e.g., licensure; standards frameworks; assessment and accountability; instructional resources; professional organizations).
  • Develop conceptual knowledge of key issues currently facing educators in the 21st century (e.g., civic responsibility, school reform, teaching all students, curriculum, standards, effective use of technology).
  • Develop conceptual knowledge of teacher’s role and job responsibilities in and out of the classroom (e.g., professional development; collaboration; home-school-community relations).
  • Develop conceptual knowledge of some basic principles and patterns of practice that create and support a learning environment in the classroom (e.g., how students learn; effective teaching; motivation; classroom management).
  • Develop procedural knowledge of basic teaching skills (e.g., observing, communicating effectively, planning, assessing)
  • Develop self-knowledge of one’s strengths and weaknesses in relation to teaching as a career choice

ED503 Course Alignment Matrix

CourseConceptual FrameworkJCU Academic GoalsEducator StandardsAssessment
Develop self-knowledge of identity as a subject of the field of educationPerson
Seeks out opportunities for professional development and growth
7Standard 7Autoethnography and Digital Comic Strip
Develop knowledge of basic elements of educational professional practice.Contexts  I-1. Understands the contexts of professional practices1- Demonstrates an integrative knowledge of the discipline that extends beyond that attained at the UG level
2- Develop habits of critical analysis that can be applied to essential questions, issues, and problems within the field
Standard 7Learning Experience, Current Connections, Autoethnography and Digital Comic Strip
Develop conceptual knowledge of issues currently facing educators in the 21st century      Contexts
I-1. Understands the contexts of professional practices
1,2Standard 2
2.3 – Teachers understand school and district curriculum priorities and the Ohio academic content standards.                  
Learning Experience, Current Connections, Autoethnography and Digital Comic Strip
Develop conceptual knowledge of the teacher’s role and job responsibilities in and out of the classroom.Learner Practice III-7. Demonstrates knowledge of content and pedagogy1Standards 1,2,3,4Learning Experience, and Digital Comic Strip
Develop procedural knowledge of basic teaching skillsPractice III-7, 8. Demonstrates knowledge of content and pedagogy as well as knowledge of resources1Standards 3,4,6Learning Experience, and Digital Comic Strip
Develop conceptual knowledge of the basic principles and patterns of practice that create and support a learning environment in the classroom. Learner Practice III-11 Uses knowledge of communication techniques to foster collaboration and supportive interactions4,7Standards 1,5Learning Experience and Current Connections


Learning Experiences | Throughout the semester, we will engage in many small group discussions and a variety other types of learning experiences.  While I will lead many, so you will have opportunities to design and lead experiences as well. The ED503 class is divided into learning communities responsible for planning and engaging the whole class in three (3) learning experiences (~30 minutes) based on the assigned reading(s) for that week. Readings will be assigned from the selection of the eReadings. The Schedule for these learning experiences is available under the Learning Communities tab on the ED503 Course website. 

Current Connections | Throughout the semester, we will engage in many small group discussions and essay writing. One of these regular discussions will focus on connections between current events in the field of education and the foundational topics and issues we are reading about and discussing in class. This project also entails writing brief essays to synthesize assigned reading with your selection of a recently published newspaper or magazine articles.

DIGITAL COMIC STRIP PROJECT | Inspired by an earlier book, To Teach (2010), written by Bill Ayers together with Ryan Alexander-Tanner, this semester ED503 will engage in a digital comic strip project. On three (3) occasions across the semester, you’ll produce a digital comic strip featuring your avatar and a first person narrative in response to the assigned reading for the week from Ayer’s book, about Becoming a Teacher.

Autoethnography | As ED503 explores the histories, philosophies, politics, and cultures of education, I invite you to make deep personal connections. Who are you as a subject of education?  What have you experienced as a student? Why do you want to become an education professional (teacher, school psychologist, etc.)?  What do you believe about education? What is your personal narrative — what is your story? Beginning with analysis and synthesis of your ED503 weblog, and other course experiences and readings, research and produce an autoethnographic essay of yourself as a subject of education. Written in the first person, your essay should be approximately ~2000 words or eight pages.


All assignments are required. I encourage you to discuss your assignments and your grades with me while the course is in progress.

In each assignment, I am looking for evidence of thoughtful engagement and reflection on course readings, lectures, workshops and discussions. I invite you to carefully consult the assignment descriptions and assessment rubrics that I have developed to guide your work and to support your understanding of the expectations for each assignment.

Attendance | Attendance at every class is required. In the event that you are unable to attend class for a substantive reason, please contact me PRIOR to that class to arrange an excused absence. A pattern of unexcused absences will result in a pattern of reduced FINAL grades. (One grade for each unexcused absence, i.e. from A to B)

Late Assignments | Submitting assignments after the assigned due date will reduce the grade for that assignment by one letter (i.e. from A to B). However, PRIOR to due dates alternative arrangements can be made for late submissions. A final grade of “I” (incomplete) may be awarded upon request and pending approval.

Academic Honesty | I cannot stress enough the significance of ALWAYS giving credit where credit is due.In all that you do, you are expected to cite any and all resources that you use in the construction of any and all work. Print sources as well as electronic media must be cited. Any work submitted for evaluation must either be original work or cited work. Plagiarism is absolutely unacceptable. The University’s policy regarding academic honesty as stated in the John Carroll University Undergraduate Bulletin will be adhered to.

Assessment Rubric | For each assignment, I have designed a unique assessment rubric. I invite you to visit the both the Assignment and Assessment drop down menus above and to consult each assignment and rubric. Additionally, from the Assessment menu, there is a link to the Educational Foundations Grade Sheet for your section. On this page, you will find your name with a password protected link to your assessment grade sheet where you can review the numerical grades you’ve earned for each assignment.

Grading System | Students are evaluated by their understanding of substantive information, insight regarding the synthesis and transformation of this information into knowledge, capacity to apply this knowledge to new situations, and the ability to communicate this knowledge.  I use the John Carroll University four (4) point grading scale.  In my interpretation of this scale, the number adjacent to the letter grade indicates the highest number possible for that letter grade.  For example, while a 3.7 is an A-, an assessment earning 3.7001 grade points and above is an A.

AOutstanding scholarship. 4 quality points.
A-3.7 quality points.
B+3.3 quality points.
BSuperior work. 3 quality points.
B-2.7 quality points.
C+2.3 quality points.
CAverage. 2 quality points.
C-1.7 quality points.
D+1.3 quality points.
DLowest passing quality. 1 quality point.
FFailure. No quality points.

Syllabus Statement on Accessibility, Inclusion, Harassment and Bias

John Carroll University is committed to fostering an equitable and accessible learning and working environment, based upon open communication, mutual respect, and ethical values consistent with our Jesuit and Catholic tradition. We express this commitment in the following policies and procedures:

In accordance with federal law, if you have a documented disability you may request accommodations from Student Accessibility Services (SAS). For more information go to the accessibility page or you may contact the office directly at sas@jcu.edu or 216.397.4967. Please keep in mind that accommodations are not retroactive so it is best to register at the beginning of each semester.  Only accommodations approved by SAS will be recognized in the classroom.  Please contact SAS if you have further questions.

If you have experienced sexual harassment, assault, or misconduct based upon gender/sex/sexual orientation, and you share this with a faculty or staff member, that person must notify the Title IX Coordinator (TitleIX@jcu.edu or (216) 397-1559), who will discuss options with you. In most cases, communicating with the Title IX Coordinator does not automatically trigger a formal investigation. Members of the University community may communicate with the Title IX Coordinator in order to get more information and seek supportive measures without filing a formal complaint. 

For more information about your options and resources in a Title IX matter, please go to the Title IX page, where you can file an online report. An option to report anonymously is available. Members of the University community are encouraged to review the University’s Sexual Harassment & Interpersonal Violence Policy, as well as the Resolution Process & Grievance Process for Title IX Sexual Harassment.

If you have experienced bias or discrimination based on race, age, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion, ethnic or national origin, disability, military or veteran status, genetic information, or any factor protected by law, you are encouraged to report this via the Bias Reporting System

For more information about the University’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility, please visit the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Division home page


Hinchey, P. and P. Konkol (2018). Getting to where we meant to be : working toward the educational world we imagine/d.Chapter 2: What Are Schools For, Anyway? Gorham, Maine : Myers Education Press. pp. 20-51.

Janak, E. 2019.  The Cultural and Social Foundations of Education. Chapter 4: Education in the Progressive Period (ca. 1890s–1920s). Switzerland: Palgrave Pivot. pp. 43-63.

Koretz, D. 2017. The testing charade: pretending to make schools better. Chapter 7, Test Prep. pp. 93-118. Chicago; London: The University of Chicago Press.

Freire, P. 1972. The banking concept of education. In A. S. Canestrari & B. A. Marlowe (Eds.), Education foundations: An anthology of critical readings (3rd ed., pp. 103-115). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Mallett, C. (2016). The School-to-Prison Pipeline: A Critical Review of the Punitive Paradigm Shift. Child & Adolescent Social Work Journal33(1), 15–24.

Dewey, J. 1897. My pedagogic creed. In A. R. Sadovnik, P. W. Cookson Jr., S. F. Semel, & R. W. Coughlan (Eds.), Exploring education: An introduction to the foundations of education (5th ed., pp. 215-218). New York, NY: Routledge.

Stancil, W. 2018. The Radical Supreme Court Decision That America Forgot. The Atlantic. 29 May 2018. LC2

Meyer, E. 2007. “But I’m Not Gay”: What Straight Teachers Need to Know about Queer Theory. In N. Rodriquez & W. Pinar (Eds.), Queering Straight Teachers: Discourse and Identity in Education. (pp. 15-32). New York, NY: Peter Lang.

Greene, K. & Anyon, J. 2010 Urban School Reform, Family Support, and Student Achievement, Reading & Writing Quarterly, 26:3, 223-236.

Blakely, J. 2017, 17 April. How School Choice Turns Education into a Commodity. The Atlantic. Retrieved: 28 December 2018.

Ladson-Billings, G. 1995. But that’s just good teaching! The case for culturally relevant pedagogy. In E. Blair & Y. Medina (Eds.), The social foundations reader: Critical essays on teaching, learning and leading in the 21st century (pp. 285-292). New York, NY: Peter Lang.

Spring, Joel 2013. Deculturalization and the Struggle for Equality. Chapter 2: Native Americans: Deculturalization. Schooling, and Globalization. New York: McGraw Hill.pp. 21-40.

Greene, M. 1978. Wide-awakeness and the moral life. In A. R. Sadovnik, P. W. Cookson Jr., S. F. Semel, & R. W. Coughlan (Eds.), Exploring education: An introduction to the foundations of education (5th ed., pp. 218-224). New York, NY: Routledge.