What are students thinking about when they first enter your class?
What information are they looking for?
What are your purposes and goals for the first day?
What do you do to attain these purposes and goals?
What do you think students say to each other when they leave your class the first day.
“ The research on teaching and learning is consistent: The more information you provide your students about the goals of a course, their responsibilities, and the criteria you use to evaluate their performance, they more successful they will be as students and the more successful you will be as a teacher.” (p. xi)
“ A learning-centered syllabus requires that you shift from what you, the instructor are going to cover in your course to a concern for what information, tools, assignments, and activities you can provide to promote your students’ learning and intellectual development” (p. xiv)
“ As an instructor, making your students’ learning and development a priority means that you must consider their varied educational needs, interests, and motivations as you determine the content and structure of your course.” (p.1)
My office hours are 1-3pm on Monday and Wednesday. I would prefer you sign up for an appointment by notifying me in class or sending me an email fjones @uh.edu) and I will reply to confirm the appointment. In this way, I will be available to meet you at the time you requested. I also will have walk in appointments from 2-3pm on Monday where you do not have to have an appointment. I will also be available by phone during the appointments hours so you can schedule a phone appointment (847: 882-4356). Each Tuesday I am at the Coffee Bean on campus from 10:00 am to 11:00 am. Join me and we can talk about the class or try to solve the big issues of the day.
The purpose of this course is to explore important questions about contemporary families in the United States (and beyond): 1) How has the family changed in form and function over time? 2) What explanations do social theories offer for these changes and which are supported by empirical evidence? 3) What are the consequences of these changes for the well-being of individuals, families, and society as whole? The statistics cited on the previous page represent objective truths and collectively serve as a barometer for calibrating how today’s families are different from those in the recent and distant past.
However, there are many questions up for debate: How did we get to where we are today? What historical and societal forces have given shape to current family forms? Who are the “winners” and “losers” in the modern and post-modern family? Does social change signal that the family is at risk of disintegrating or losing its important functions? If so, is a correction needed to put the family “back on the right track”? Or, is the family an evolving institution meant to adapt to new societal conditions? How do families contribute to the welfare of society? How should we best strengthen families? There is no one set of answers.
Addressing the above questions will occupy much of our time this semester. Each student will come to their own position based on their assessment of the empirical evidence, their values and informed judgment, and their capacity to acknowledge the merits of the opposing position. In coming to a conclusion, students will be asked to confront their assumptions about the family.
You will develop skills in recognizing, defining and applying key learning and motivation theories, concepts, processes and principles taught in the course in order to plan instructional solutions to learning challenges for a variety of learners from different cultural backgrounds who are learning in diverse urban settings.
You will identify common learning problems, explain their cause and suggest instructional solutions based on learning research and theory.
You will develop skills in identifying educational goals, measuring current progress towards those goals and the gaps that must be closed to insure educational goal achievement for a variety of learners from different cultural backgrounds.
You will learn to identify common learning, motivation and cultural causes of gaps, and validate the causes in urban educational settings.
You will learn to identify instructional, motivational and cultural solutions for closing gaps that are based on learning research and theory.
You will practice gap analysis by developing a case study of an urban educational setting.
You will have the opportunity to practice group collaborative problem solving, speaking in front of others, active listening and analyzing problems.