Final Paper Topics
Spring 2003
ECS 4111/Audrey Thompson and Amadou Niang

Your final paper should address one of the topics listed below. The paper must offer an argument, well supported by relevant material from the 1) assigned course readings since the midterm, 2) in-class videos, 3) in-class activities (e.g., the biography project, textbook deconstruction, and process drama), 4) lectures, and 5) analyses and arguments covered in your discussion section. A paper that is not appropriately informed by the relevant course materials will not be considered a passing final paper. Take into account any important counter-arguments or counter-evidence introduced in the course. Also be sure to make use of your instructor's comments on previous assignments to sharpen and polish your argument and writing in this paper.

You are encouraged to work with other students in studying for the paper, but the actual paper should be distinctively your own work. The paper should be 7 to 10 pages long (standard 12-point font and 1-inch margins), typed, and double spaced. When quoting, indicate page numbers. Also cite your reference when paraphrasing. Be careful not to paraphrase too closely.

1. Choosing transmittal, nurturance, or craft pedagogy as your framework, discuss its strengths and limitations with regard to how it addresses cultural, power, language, and gender differences. Consider both arguments and counter-arguments concerning these strengths and limitations and include specific examples from lecture, discussion, course readings, and class videos. Explain how you think that the limitations you describe might best be addressed in democratic classrooms. (You may wish to specify elementary, middle, high school, or college level teaching in your paper.)

2. As institutions, schools often attempt to address issues of conflict and difference through generic, colorblind and genderblind rules or through tightened forms of control. Focusing on the institutional analyses offered in relevant articles and books from the course, discuss how schools' attempts to institute conflict-free institutional settings may either accept or problematize deficit assumptions about particular groups. Your paper should include a discussion of deficit and difference theories, as well as the ways in which "welcoming" approaches may inadvertently produce "unwelcoming" signals.

3. Imagine that you are assigned to teach a novel, biography, non-fiction book (e.g., about music, art, dance, or science), or textbook that you consider to fall short of standards of cultural consciousness about a non-dominant group. Choosing a particular children's or young adult fiction or non-fiction book, biography, or textbook, explain how you as a teacher would address this problematic text within each of the three pedagogical frameworks (transmittal, nurturance, and craft). In your discussion, specify the grade level (or general age category) and describe the concerns that you think that the book (or some part of the book) raises. Explain which of the three pedagogical frameworks you think would be most valuable for teaching students to think critically about this aspect of the text, and why.

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