ED 632 LANGUAGE, MEANING, AND DEVELOPMENT OF GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES

Summer 2018 | Pace University, School of Education

Course schedule:

Online

Location:

gradgrinds.com/ed632

Instructor:

Tom Liam Lynch, Ed.D., Assistant Professor of Educational Technology

Email:

tlynch@pace.edu

Office:

SOE 11th Floor, 163 William St., NY, NY 10038

Office Hours:

Tuesdays, 2:00 – 5:00 pm or by appointment

Web:

gradgrinds.com, blackboard.com, various platforms

Emergency:

In the event of emergency, communications will come through Blackboard and email.  

Course Description

This course will expose students to theories of how language is used in the school context and how it affects cognitive and social development. Content includes an overview of the relationship between language and thought, understanding classroom discourse by discussing the foundational issues related to language, exploring how students construct meaning in everyday classroom discourse, and how teachers can help students use language to develop critical thinking abilities and positive social relationships with peers. Students will learn to take a worldview, examining how various cultures contribute to the complexity of what and how we learn and know, using technology to make connections with teachers and students across the globe. Fieldwork is required.

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Introduction

Welcome to ED 632: Language, Meaning, and Development of Global Perspectives. In this course, we will explore something that, to some extent, you already know. We will examine language. What is language? Where does language come from? What is the relationship between language and meaning? How does language relate to learning? These might be some of the most important questions you can ask as a teacher. The reason is simple. You see, it is through language that most formal learning occurs. If we are being honest, it is also through language that a great deal of informal learning occurs too. As a teacher, if you can better understand how language works--and if you can be open to the possibility that you have misconceptions about language--then you might just begin to see a whole new way of working with young people.

Let me state some of the popular misconceptions about language and learning we will examine. First, language is a cognitive function. Well, yes, but it isn’t just cognitive--it’s social and cultural. Second, there are correct and incorrect ways to use language. No, that’s not wholly true. Third, students must be explicitly taught the right way to use language. Yes, that one is true, but how you do so makes all the difference. Fourth, students’ home and out-of-school lives are the reason they struggle in school. This one is knotty; we will untangle it.

Be open to new ways of understanding the relationship between language and learning. And know that the misconceptions I describe above are not just often held by individual teachers. They are held by schools, districts, and society writ large.

There are lots of ways to embark on a course like this.  Here are some of the key curricular decisions I’ve made with a brief rationale for each:

  1. Lots of kinds of texts. You will notice that the “readings” for this course are not actually all written texts.  Rather, I embrace multimodal texts as essential to creating an engaging course.  There will be some traditional reading, but also other kinds of texts like images, video, and audio.  
  2. No papers. Building upon (1), academic institutions like K-12 schools and universities tend to value traditional written texts. That goes for the texts that are consumed as well as those produced.  To be clear, writing clear, coherent, insightful, and engaging prose is incredibly important (and my favorite mode of composition). However, it is not the only mode of communication.  I will ask you to compose texts this semester, but not traditional papers.  (See below for more.)
  3. Mostly individual work. You will have plenty of opportunities to engage with each other in this course.  However, when it comes to the formal assignments and assessments, you will be working mostly solo.  One of the unique affordances of online environments is that it makes it manageable for an instructor to actually track, support, and assess individual students quite well.  Group work will be formative, a social support mechanism to help yourselves individually.
  4. Global engagement.  Many of the texts in this class are posted on my education blog called Gradgrind’s (www.gradgrinds.com).  The course description requires us to use technology to connect with teachers and students across the globe. We will do just that in some innovative ways.  
  5. Gamification. As you will see below, this course is probably unlike other courses you have taken. Instead of starting with an A and keeping it, you start with a 0. Twice a week, I release a series of texts with which you can engage (heavy on the videos). You then have up to three possible quests you can take on, earning as much as 20-30 points per week. The course should be fun, engaging, and of great use to who you are becoming as a teacher.

So, what will this course look and feel like? Let’s see.

Readings

All texts for this course are provided online and consist mostly of videos. If you are interested in reading more in-depth studies of the relationship between language and learning, check out these two openly available texts:

Quests & Grade Derivation

Everyone starts the course with a zero. You earn points each week based on the quality of your completion of three possible quests: video notes, direct messages, and global engagements. Each week usually offers 12-24 points you can earn before Monday at 9AM. (The first week will be shorter.) At the end of the course, I add up the total number of points offered and convert the total number of points you were awarded into a percent and letter grade. I keep you posted each week as to your progress. Here are descriptions of what each entails:

  1. Video Notes | 0-3 points | For this quest, you view videos assigned in class and take time stamped notes. To do this, you will: 1) install VideoNot.es into your Google Drive account; and 2) for each video, take notes while watching and share them with me at prof.tomliamlynch@gmail.com. Your Video Notes are guided by the question: What is this video suggesting about the relationship between language and learning? I will use the rubric below to assess your notes.

  1. @ Messages | 0-3 points | As you read and watch and think throughout this course, you will will make connections to your classroom practice. When you do, I want to hear about it. Send me a message directly to me on Twitter or LinkedIn with a thoughtful explanation of what you are thinking. A @ message should explain tersely how a specific phrase or concept from a class video might apply to a specific classroom practice or student need. (Please don’t use students’ or colleagues’ names.) Be sure to include @tomliamlynch in your post so I see it. Check out the rubric below for more information.

  1. Global Engagements | 0-3 points | There’s a whole big professional world out there. In this quest, you write a response to one of my class-related posts in global environments where education conversations occur. Global engagements can be limited to Gradgrind’s or to other platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Reddit. A global engagement must deepen or expand the conversation presented, not just give a thumbs up or like. I outline in detail what makes a global engagement high quality. One guide for posting should be: What is this post suggesting about the relationship between language and meaning? Be sure to include @tomliamlynch in your post so I see it.

A note about Redemption Slips beginning Level 2. One of the challenges of this course is keeping track of all your activity. It is easy to lose sight of where you have contributed, when, and so on. To address this, I ask that you submit a weekly Redemption Slip for your points. The Redemption Slip itself is an online form you submit to me. To prepare for it, you want to do the following. First, open up in your browser all the quests you have completed for the current level (i.e. video notes in one tab, comments to a post in another). Second, create a 3-5 minute screencast that walks me through all your completed quests. Third, paste the link to the screencast and links to the evidence of your quests in the final form.  Upon receipt, I will assess your quests based on the rubrics provided below.

I also monitor your attendance, preparation, participation, and disposition (APPD) throughout the course.  In an online course, this means that you check in on the course regularly, read or view all communications, submit all assignments in a manner that conveys their thorough and thoughtful engagement with assigned texts, provide peer feedback in a timely manner, and communicate professionally with each other and the instructor. If I have any concerns regarding APPD, I will reach out to you directly. Poor APPD records can pull your final grade down by as much as half a letter grade.

Communication Tips

In addition to these formal assessments, it is also important to be aware that there are other behaviours and traits that contribute to the quality of work, and which can affect your performance in the class less obviously.  Most important relates to communication.  In an online environment, it is imperative that you take time to really think about how you are communicating with others.  Before sending a communication to someone else--whether a message board post, an email, a text--be sure to re-read it for tone and clarity.  Ask yourself: what’s the worst way someone could reasonably read this communication?  Revise accordingly.  

If you are unsure of what to do or concerned about the course in any way, the onus is on you to speak up and get what you think you need.  It is almost always better to ask your classmates first for two reasons: 1) they might have already grappled with the same question in which case you will get an answer or you will have a compatriot in your inquiry, and 2) depending on what I have going on it might take up to 24 hours to respond, though anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours is more likely.  (If you don’t get a response from me after 24 hours, prod me. It’s cool.) I tend not to respond to emails at night and on weekends very quickly, though it can happen.

Course Schedule

Every course has a rhythm to it.  In online classes, where part of the appeal is temporal flexibility, I’ve found it important to impose a rhythm to help students manage their time.  In this course, we will use Tuesdays as our downbeat.  That is, all assignments will be due on Wednesdays at noon.  Take a look.

Weeks

Guiding Questions

Read/View/Watch/Listen

What’s Due

Level 0: Getting Started

Tuesday,

5/29

Who are we as learners and teachers? What will we be doing this semester, why and how?

  1. Watch: My introduction video
  2. Read: The syllabus really really closely
  3. Do: Be sure to complete the pre-course survey if you haven’t yet
  4. Do: Confirm you have a Google account AND either a Twitter or LinkedIn account you can use for the course. (You don’t have to friend me on either and can set up a class-only account with your Pace email if you prefer.)
  5. Do: Set up VideoNotes with your Google Drive with the Google account you will use for the course. Share your final notes with prof.tomliamlynch@gmail.com

Do 1-3 first in the next day or two. You can handle 4 and 5 over the weekend if needed.

Thursday, 5/31

Why language? (and Video Notes practice)

  1. Introduction to the course by Dr. Lynch

Level 0 Redemption Slip (Due Monday, 6/4 at 9AM)

Level 1: Video Notes

Tuesday,

6/5

What is the nature of language?

  1. How Language Transformed Humanity by Mark Pagel
  2. The Capacity for Language by Noam Chomsky

Thursday,

6/7

How do humans learn language?

  1. The Birth of a Word by Deb Roy
  2. The Linguistic Genius of Babies by Patricia Kuhl

Level 1 Redemption Slip (Due Monday, 6/11 at 9AM)

Level 2: Global Engagements

Tuesday,

6/12

What is the relationship between language, learning, and school?

  1. On Intelligence at Work by Mike Rose [LinkedIn, Twitter]
  2. Eminem on Writing, Rhyming, and English Class [LinkedIn, Twitter]

Thursday,

6/14

What are the unique language needs in the disciplines?

  1. LRA Research to Practice Episode 1 by Ian O’Byrne [LinkedIn, Twitter]
  2. Developing Youth Literacies by Elizabeth Birr Moje [LinkedIn, Twitter]

Level 2.1 Redemption Slip (Due Monday, 6/18 at 9AM)

Tuesday,

6/19

Do all words really belong to everyone?  

  1. Some Words Don’t Belong to Everyone by Ta-Nehisi Coates [LinkedIn, Twitter]
  2. No Such Thing As Correct English by Kellam Barta [LinkedIn, Twitter]

Thursday,

6/21

How does one support the learning of multiple languages?

  1. Three Ways to Speak English by Jamila Lyiscott [LinkedIn, Twitter]
  2. Why is English So Damned Hard to Learn? by Judy Thompson [LinkedIn, Twitter]

Level 2.2 Redemption Slip (Due Monday, 6/25 at 9AM)

Level 3: Gamers’ Choice

Tuesday,

6/26

Is coding going to be the new language we all need to learn?

  1. Why to Approach Coding as a Composition Practice [LinkedIn, Twitter]
  2. The Secret Rules of Modern Living Algorithms [LinkedIn, Twitter]

Thursday,

6/28

What do video games teach us about language and learning?

  1. Literacy, Video Games, and Straight Up Insight [LinkedIn, Twitter]

Level 3 Redemption Slip (Due Monday, 7/2 at 9AM)

Level 4: Gamers’ Choice

Tuesday,

July 3

Is texting destroying or reviving our use of language?

  1. 1. Colbert’s Warning about the Dangers of Texting [LinkedIn, Twitter]
  2. 2. Face It: Emojis Could Be the Key to Learning [LinkedIn, Twitter]

Thursday,

July 5

What does all this mean for language in our own classrooms?

  1. Fall Goals: Review what you learned in this course (i.e. reread your posts, watch your screencasts). Then, create a 2-4 minute screencast that summarizes what you learned and identify 3 concrete things you are going to try in your classroom this fall. I will email you in early September to remind you and ask how it’s going

Level 4 Redemption Slip (Due Friday, 7/6 at 9AM)

Policies and Rubrics

Rubrics

In addition to the assessment overview articulated above, assignments also have additional rubrics.  Please see below for more details.

Video Notes

Good Start

Well Done

Stellar

Quality of Video Notes

You set up the note-taking software and have begun quoting specific language from the video every few minutes.

You summarize information from the video every minute or two while taking the time to include specific quotations from the video into summaries, really making sure you are in charge of the summary and not just quoting a few lines here and there.  

You summarize information from the video every minute or two while including your own initial insights and/or questions, not expounding on them but definitely conveying to me that you are thinking critically while watching.

Total Points Earned

_____ / 3

 

Global Engagement

Good Start

Well Done

Stellar

Quality of Global Engagement

You write a response to a post that refers generally to what the original author wrote.

You write a succinct response to a post that refers directly to a particular point made by the original author while alluding to what you think as well.

You write a succinct response to a post that refers directly to a particular point made by the original author while adding your own specific insights or questions.

Total Points Earned

_____ / 3

 

@ Messages

Good Start

Well Done

Stellar

Quality of Direct Messages

You send a succinct @ message about a specific phrase or concept from a class text.

You send a succinct @ message that clearly shows how a specific phrase or concept from a class text is making you think generally about your classroom practice.

You send a succinct @ message that clearly shows how a specific phrase or concept from a class text is making you think about a particular classroom practice or challenge.

Total Points Earned

_____ / 3

 

APPD | Attendance, Preparation, Participation, and Disposition

 

A or A-

100-90

B+ or B or B-

89-80

C+ or C or C-

79-70

Below C-

69-under

A

20%

Attends every class, arriving almost always on time.  Contacts professor with regards to tardiness.

Misses no more than one class, seldom comes late.  Contacts professor re: absence or tardiness.

Misses no more than two classes, sometimes comes late.  Sometimes does not contact professor regarding absences and tardiness.

Misses three or more classes, often comes late.  Does not contact professor regarding absences and tardiness.

Prep

30%

Always up to date on readings and assignments.  Demonstrates being prepared for every class by handing in work on time and consistently referencing readings accurately and appropriately in discussions.  Always brings materials to share with peers in class as requested.  Always demonstrates preparation for online work.

Usually up to date on readings and assignments.  Demonstrates being prepared for most classes by handing in work on time and often referencing readings accurately and appropriately in discussions.  Almost always brings materials to share with peers in class as requested.  Sometimes preparation for online work is well done.

Sometimes, but not dependably, up to date on readings and assignments.  Demonstrates being prepared for some classes by handing in some work on time and sometimes referencing readings accurately and appropriately during class discussions.  Sometimes fails to bring materials to share with peers in class as requested.  Preparation is often inconsistent for online work.

Rarely up to date on readings and assignments.  Is prepared for few classes; often hands in work late and seldom references readings accurately and appropriately in discussions.  Usually fails to bring in materials to share with peers in class as requested.  Preparation is very uneven or incomplete for online work.

Part

30%

Consistently participates actively in person and online, both by listening closely and by offering informed, constructive and critical comments.  Submits excellent, quality work online and on time.

Usually participates actively in person and online; usually listens closely and offers informed, constructive and critical comments.  Submits competent, quality work online and usually on time.

Sometimes participates in person; sometimes listens closely and offers informed comments.  Inconsistent quality work online and work is often late or incomplete.

Seldom participates in person; seldom listens closely or offers informed comments.  Never or very rarely participates online.

D

20%

Consistently shows respect for others’ perspectives and ideas and demonstrates an openness to exploring and re-thinking own ideas.  Consistently displays professional courtesy and classroom decorum and never distracts from the learning environment by checking phone messages, taking phone calls, conducting other business, tardiness, excessive chatter, and visible lack of interest.  Never is disrespectful, aggressive or condescending toward others.

Always shows respect for others’ perspectives and ideas and usually demonstrates an openness to exploring and re-thinking own ideas.  Usually displays professional courtesy and classroom decorum and rarely distracts from the learning environment by checking phone messages, taking phone calls, conducting other business, tardiness, excessive chatter, and visible lack of interest.  Never is disrespectful, aggressive or condescending toward others.

Sometimes shows respect for others’ perspectives and ideas and demonstrates an openness to exploring and re-thinking own ideas.  Sometimes displays a lack of professional courtesy and classroom decorum and distracts from the learning environment by checking phone messages, taking phone calls, conducting other business, tardiness, excessive chatter, and visible lack of interest.  Sometimes can be disrespectful, aggressive or condescending toward others.

Seldom shows respect for others’ perspectives and ideas and demonstrates an openness to exploring and re-thinking own ideas.  Often displays a lack of professional courtesy and classroom decorum and distracts from the learning environment by checking phone messages, taking phone calls, conducting other business, tardiness, excessive chatter, and visible lack of interest.  Often can be disrespectful, aggressive or condescending toward others.

Policies

Pace University School of Education’s Conceptual Framework

The School of Education believes that a fundamental aim in education is to create opportunities for individuals to realize their potential within a democratic community. Therefore, we prepare graduates of our programs to be:

These themes form the conceptual framework for the outcomes of the School of Education programs. They guide every aspect of our role in preparing educators for P-12 settings. We incorporate them through curricular planning, instruction, assessment and the evaluation of both candidates and our programs.

As reflective practitioners our candidates learn to appreciate the continuity between theory and practice and to seek an understanding of themselves in relation to others in social and historical contexts. Our candidates develop multiple perspectives on teaching and learning and gain increased awareness of their own learning strengths and weaknesses. The reflective process is promoted through course readings and assignments, case studies, field experiences, self-assessment and student teaching.

To become professionals who promote justice, our candidates learn to work toward equity in our society. As we understand it, justice implies a balance between the rights of individuals and the needs of society, equal protection under the law, fairness in the distribution and use of resources and equal access to opportunities. Through challenging coursework and varied field experiences our candidates are provided with multiple opportunities to recognize and address unjust policies and practices both within and outside of schools.

We believe caring classrooms and school communities are places where students are respected and cared for so that they learn to respect and care for others, discover and develop their abilities, and become engaged and responsible learners. At Pace we draw on our own experience of working in a caring professional community as additional evidence that such settings encourage people to develop high levels of commitment and competency. Through our respectful interactions with candidates and our insistence on similar behavior among candidates, we model caring communities in our classrooms to provide students with a framework for future practice.

 

Our candidates know that teachers who are successful at enabling all students to learn build upon the knowledge and experience that their students bring to school. Conscious that teachers can affect students’ sense of their potential, candidates plan and implement meaningful and effective teaching and learning activities. Drawing on constructivist theory and a strong base of content area knowledge, they provide scaffolding so that their students can develop habits of inquiry. Candidates use a variety of assessment tools to evaluate students’ needs and progress and to inform instructional decisions. As a result, it is our goal that our candidates’ students become proactive in posing and solving problems, understand the relevance of their studies to their lives, are more motivated learners who feel able to affect positive change in their society.

Pace University Policies on Students with Disabilities

Pace University believes that it is important that students receive appropriate accommodation for any disability.  In order to receive the accommodation, you must contact the University’s /counseling/Personal Development Office. Trained professional counselors will evaluate your medical documentation, conduct appropriate tests or refer you for same, make recommendations for your plan of accommodation, and contact your professors [with your permission] to arrange for the accommodations. You professor is not authorized to provide any accommodation prior to you arranging for the same through the Counseling/Personal Development Center.  If you have, or believe you have, a disability, be sure to follow the above procedure.

“Nothing is more common than for men to think that because they are familiar with words they understand the ideas they stand for.” – Cardinal J. Newman (1801-1890)

Pace University Policy on Academic Integrity        

Students must accept the responsibility to be honest & to respect ethical standards in meeting their academic assignments & requirements. Integrity in the academic life requires that students demonstrate intellectual & academic achievement independent of all assistance except that authorized by the instructor. The use of an outside source, including electronic sources, in any paper, report or submission for academic credit without the appropriate acknowledgment is plagiarism. It is unethical to present as one's own work, the ideas, words or representations of another without the proper indication of the source. Therefore, it is the student's responsibility to give credit for any quotation, idea or data borrowed from an outside source.

As a student, you cannot copy work from someone else's disk to your own, or print two copies of the same assignment to be handed in by two individuals. Each student must do his/her own work. It is easy for instructors to tell when data has been duplicated between students. All instructors reserve the right to challenge work they feel has not been completed independently.  Please note that students who fail to meet the responsibility for academic integrity subject themselves to sanctions ranging from a reduction in grade or failure in the assignment or course in which the offense occurred to suspension or dismissal from the University.  The first time that a student submits an assignment or an assessment that is not completely his or her own at Pace University, the student will receive a 0 grade for that individual assignment/assessment.  The second time that a student submits an assignment or an assessment that is not completely his or her own at Pace University, the student will receive an F for that course.  The third time that a student submits an assignment or an assessment that is not completely his or her own at Pace University, the student will be dismissed from the University.

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