- phase completed
- phase in-progress
The Department of Curriculum and Instruction, in the College of Education and Human Development, with 65 faculty members teaching more than 3,500 undergraduate students, focuses on three areas: Teaching, Equity, and Research. The department offers an Elementary Education Foundations BS, three minors (Teaching English as a Second Language, Racial Justice in Urban Schooling, and Learning Technologies), a DirecTrack to Teaching professional program, and additional programs and stand alone courses that serve the entire University community. The department is comprised of educational researchers and specialists, so attention to the development of pre-professional teachers is grounded in a disciplinary culture already committed to reflective practice, active learning, and culturally responsive teaching. The department’s vision is to support any student writer that takes a course in C&I, starting with those in majors, moving out to students enrolled in minors, and finally extending to every undergraduate course offered.
The vision statement for the elementary education major states: Graduates from our elementary education programs recognize schools as places for engaging children and communities in justice-oriented work. They are deeply engaged with children, communities, colleagues, and the field of education as advocates and leaders. Our graduates value an ethos of vulnerability, recognizing their knowledge and pedagogical skills as wide-ranging, ever-evolving, and in collaboration with students. They are part of a growing movement that disrupts the status quo in public education and that works to build a just future.
Writing in Curriculum and Instruction
The Curriculum and Instruction faculty generated the following description in response to the question, “What characterizes academic and professional communication in this discipline?”
Scholars in curriculum and instruction are always generating text: writing academic articles; writing letters of recommendation or other sorts of reviews; writing grants and reviews of grants; writing about student writing; emails and administrative writing; social media writing/promotion; interpersonal writing to prospective, former, current students and colleagues about a mix of academic, professional and life issues; PowerPoint writing, and student facing resources.
Members of the department are invested in finding descriptive forms of education writing that can capture multiple ways students experience the classroom. Writing related to teaching and inquiry, as well as reflective and creative writing related to other writing practices.
Reflective, creative, and multi-modal writing can help ground academic writing when engaging with genres that require more attention to rules and conventions. This also helps demystify the writing process for students—helping them see that writing itself is an act of inquiry. Helping students stay grounded in their own writing, regardless of genre and not lose their own voices.
Writing Abilities Expected of Elementary Education Majors
The Curriculum and Instruction faculty generated the following description in response to the question, “With which writing abilities should students in this unit’s major(s) graduate?”
- Students should be able to communicate the processes and practices of their classrooms to nonprofessionals,including parents, community members, and representatives of the school district and state.
- Students should be able to construct sound arguments and be able to identify when arguments involve false premises and false narratives.
- Students should be able to understand the role of reflective writing as an element of the learning and growth process.
- Students should be able to advocate for a position related to social justice in education.
- Students should be able to integrate their perspective into writing where they are working with sources.
- Students should be able to recognize how their positionalities and identities relate to how they enact the department’s mission.
- Students should learn to write in ways that capture authentic student voices and experiences and that illustrate meaningful understanding of their student learners.
- Students should be able to produce multimodal documents through creative practice.
- Students should be able to recognize and critique dominant narratives and create counter-narratives.
Menu of Grading Criteria Used in Elementary Education Courses
In light of our commitment to just and equitable assessment, C&I has settled on working criteria applicable across contexts. Our undergraduate writing plan rests on the following guiding principles for ability described above, and program faculty will continue to explore these questions through the implementation of our Second-Edition Writing Plan:
Students should be able to integrate their perspective into writing where they are working with sources.
- Students will offer their own perspectives and critique on sources.
- Students will be able to recognize and articulate the perspectives that sources represent and that they are not “neutral.”
Students should be able to advocate for a position related to social justice in education.
- Students will take a stand on important issues related to social justice.
- Students will be able to support their clearly articulated stance.
Students should be able to recognize and critique dominant narratives and create counter-narratives.
- Students will name norms, dominant narratives, or dominant discourse in their writing.
- Students will be able to construct a narrative that is counter to these hegemonic narratives.
Highlights from the Writing Plan
The Department of Curriculum and Instruction’s Second-Edition Writing Plan was approved by the Campus Writing Board in July 2023. In the Second-Edition Writing Plan for C&I’s Elementary Education majors, the department hopes to increase engagement among faculty members across research areas and to make explicit the various perspectives toward writing represented among faculty.
To foster conversation and collaboration, the department has retained its prior research assistant to facilitate workshops and coordinate a roundtable-teach-in for faculty and students. During AY 23-24, C&I will work to expand the resources on writing available to instructors and continue conversations on the assessment and evaluation of student writing in context.