Honors | Education
F205 | 5416 | Beyer


This course provides an introduction to the field of educational studies
for students who are considering, or who have already decided upon, a
major in education. It is also offered as an elective for students who are
interested in educational ideas, issues, and perspectives. The course will
emphasize thoughtful, careful, and engaged forms of writing, reading,
conversing, and interacting.
Education is both a universal process that shapes human life, and an area
of study not unlike those associated with other disciplines. As a
discipline, educational studies addresses perennial questions concerning
what it means to be an educated person, what obligations we have to others
within educational activities, what kinds of futures we seek to create
through educative experience, and what sort of society we should create
through educational initiatives. Education can be understood as providing
for ways of life, and for the very continuity of human existence. It is,
thus, an area of study with impressive scope and depth, and one that is
central for all people, whatever social or professional niche we may
happen to occupy.
This course is concerned with a critical examination of education, and
with a creative approach to examining alternative possibilities. For
example, we will consider the possible outlines of an ideal education, and
an ideal social order, and the implications of such ideals for teacher
preparation. Students will respond to readings personally as well as
socially, and develop and express understandings that have social
implications. They will draw on their own experiences with education to
help illustrate what they are studying and reading, or to help articulate
their own educational ideas and agendas.
This course will make clear that education, while a practical undertaking
in a literal sense--i.e. concerned with the creation of specific
educational practices--it is also an intellectual and theoretical one. The
preparation of teachers, too, is necessarily concerned with theoretical
orientations and understandings. Theory and practice form an indispensable
unity for education and for teaching. Practice divorced from theoretical
understanding and insight reduces activities to technical undertakings
often mandated by others, thereby eroding the prospects for an authentic
professional identity based on practical wisdom. Such a reductive
orientation is inconsistent with the view that intellectual engagement and
the development of practical insight are interconnected.
This course will highlight the importance of inquiry for educational
studies generally, and for teacher education as one aspect of educational
studies. In the process, we will locate teacher education at Indiana
University within the larger discipline. Our readings and discussions will
serve another purpose as well. In introducing you to the ideas that have
been important in the redesign of teacher education at IU, as well as the
range of program options that are available to you, our expectations for
prospective teachers will be clarified, and the requirements for the
successful completion of our programs outlined.