Reflections on Teaching the Course “Curriculum Reform in an Era of Global Warming”
By Chet Bowers,
In the summer of 2009 I taught a course for students who were in the last stage of their masters program. I titled it “Curriculum Reform in an Era of Global Warming”, which should have left no doubts as to what the focus would be. Twenty-four students representing different subject areas signed up for the five week course. Years of listening to students and faculty in teacher education programs discuss the ideas of prominent thinkers in the field led me to conclude that the survey approach fails to provide an in-depth understanding of the importance and limitations of the ideas of educational theorists and the issues they addressed. The survey courses too often leave students with little more than a few phrases and concepts of such theorists such as John Dewey, Paulo Freire, Peter McLaren, and Nel Noddings, but little understanding of the cultural/ecological issues they did not address. I was determined to avoid turning the course on curriculum reform in an era of global warming into a survey that would leave students with little more than the sound bites of progressive and, now, “sustainability” thinking.
The following overview of the course, as well as the list of readings that were the focus of class discussions, clearly indicated that we were going to engage in an in-depth examination of the different ways in which the teacher, in a variety of subject areas, could introduce reforms that would support the efforts of grass roots community groups as well as political leaders who are attempting to reduce the human impact on natural systems. The following is the syllabus that served as the conceptual roadmap for the course.
[The article is to long to post here. Follow the link, it well worth it.]