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Writing Across the Curriculum
Assignment #2
September 14, 2005

Long Island University/Brooklyn Campus
Department of Teaching and Learning, School of Education
TAL 801 - Issues in Urban Education - Section 003
Fall 2005 - Wednesdays 4:30 - 6:20 – PB421
Instructor:  Dr. Kathleen Kesson

Office:  P-236 

Hours: Wed. 2-4; Thurs. 2-4, or by app’t.

Phone: (718) 488-1388 (office)  Email: Kathleen.Kesson@liu.edu

Remembering, Re-calling, and Reconstructing Experience & Identity
…by its very nature, ethnicity involves ways of thinking, feeling, and acting that constitute the essence of culture.   That ethnic groups have unique cultural character can hardly be denied.   The problem, however, is that culture doesn't exist in a vacuum; nor is it fixed or unchanging.   On the contrary, culture is in constant flux and is integrally a part of a larger social process.
(Steinberg [1989], The ethnic myth: Race, ethnicity, and class in America , p. 1)

For next week,
Read: Teacher With a Heart

In this section, Leonard Covello, an educator born in the 19 th century and active in New York City schools for much of the 20 th century, touches on many themes that are still very much with us today.   Some of these themes include: the alienation felt by newcomers to this country and the need for a sense of belonging; the ever-present reality of race and racism, even within racially or ethnically defined communities; the way that poverty and social class position shapes identity; the difficulties of upward social mobility (moving from one social class to another); the way that not knowing the dominant language is confused with not being intelligent; the possibilities for schools to be the center of communities; the role of teachers as social activists and community organizers.   These are just a few of the themes that are touched on in the reading.  

Choose two passages that seem to connect to important contemporary, as well as historical educational issues.   Using the reading journals handout as a guide, reflect upon these passages in light of your “calling” to be an urban educator.  

Paper #1: Cultural Autobiography
DUE September 21 st

 Both Covello and Perrone, in Teacher With a Heart ,   use the genre of autobiographical narrative to explore educational issues and topics.   In this paper, you will do the same.   Drawing upon your own “cultural autobiography” (a narrative that has both public and private dimensions), explore your “call to teach” in the context of the many challenges of teaching in urban schools. In your paper, please refer to, or draw some connections, between your life and the lives of Perrone and/or Covello, and/or reference any of the issues raised in the two documents on immigration that we read.  

This assignment is designed to partially meet KEEPS Claim K2 :

Students use knowledge of self , theory, practice, and/or child development within sociocultural/linguistic contexts to create appropriate learning environments and to teach in urban settings.

  4-5 pages, typed, double-spaced.

An “A” paper:

  • Demonstrates knowledge of self (esp. in terms of cultural/academic/linguistic strengths)
  • Honestly explores your “call to teach,” especially in a diverse urban setting
  • Makes some connections to the texts read
  • Is well organized, clearly written and mechanically sound (mostly error-free)
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