I've just finished my second week of classes, the first week of a full schedule. Last week, Monday was a holiday for Labor Day, and because we miss more Mondays than Tuesdays, Tuesday became a Monday. I've no classes Monday, so I had no classes Tuesday. Wednesday was a normal day, and I attended my first class at the Harvard Graduate School of Education from 4-7 pm in Longfellow 319. Thursday was Rosh Hashanah, so my Thursday class was canceled. This week, however, was pretty much normal. Here's the breakdown:
1. Philosophy of Education with Catherine Elgin. A course I had to take (and didn't even shop). Tom and I are in the class, and both agree after the first session that it's exactly what we'd hoped for. Elgin is brilliant. The readings will be Plato, Wollstencraft, Dewey, and others. She apparently described the readings as, "only the hits," which means we'll likely not address Heidegger, Marcuse, Rorty, Derrida, Foucalt, etc...at least not directly. I initially lamented the scope of the course, but this is exactly what I need, and she is clearly hip to talking about any and all of those folks. Our first reading was The Apology by Plato, which was absolutely lovely.
2. Education Sector Non-Profits with Jim Honan. Perhaps the most genuinely excited professor I've had in a long time. This class is my earthly course, and will provide a framework for building, maintaining, and expanding a non-profit. Honan's diction is unbelievable. He's incredibly personable, and really seems interested in working with us. My largest class, at about 25. Case study method, which is new to me, but will be a good experience.
3. Critical Race Theory with Kim Truong and Daren Graves. The only class I've been to twice. I have already read some incredible things in this course, and the discussions have already gotten much better (as we loosen up a little, and as the auditors drop the course). Not the easiest content to just blab about, but I need this to be difficult. I absolutely need to address my whiteness and understand what it affords me, especially in a teaching context. Critical race theory, as a lens through which we see the world, seems like a very interesting way to be a racial person. This class, in concert with Gender and Education (Spring 2013), lay a foundation for a lifetime of teaching with race and gender in mind.
4. Teaching and Learning - The Having of Wonderful Ideas. This is perhaps the most famous and most polarizing class at HGSE. Taught by Lisa Schneier, who apprenticed with Eleanor Duckworth, who apprenticed with Jean Piaget. The class functions based on a Freirian ideology, which will be interesting to see. We're not directly reading much Freire, so hopefully I can begin to bring that into the classroom experience. Schneier is wonderful, and has an incredibly knowledgable demeanor, which is comforting. We'll be mired in experience in the course, and will use these experiences to understand our thinking, as well as begin to explore the thinking of others. We're also doing a moon journal, an observational record of the earth's moon which is meant to have us interact with the natural environment, time, ourselves, observation, our fellow students, etc...spanning the length of the course, it aims to have us engage in an extended process of learning with our fellow students.
That's all for now. I've reading to do.