Purdue University > College of Education > Curriculum & Instruction > EDCI 205


EDCI 205: Exploring Teaching as a Career

 Department of Curriculum and Instruction
of Education    Purdue University 

Spring 2006


Syllabus | Instructors | Course Policies | Readings | Writing | Schedule
  Projects 1 2 3 4 | Web Assignment 1 2 3 | Field Experience | Distance

Study Abroad in Honduras

Teacher Education at Purdue

An important link to explore is Teacher Education at Purdue, which will inform you of requirements in the teacher education program. In addition, this page contains useful links regarding teaching accreditation and standards required in the profession.


Course Syllabus

This course syllabus is available only on the web.  It details the purpose, policies, assignments, readings, and projects of the course.

Purpose and Rationale

Purpose: The purpose of this course is to provide students with experiences that will assist them in making informed career choices and build a foundation for future education courses. The course is designed to help students explore four questions:

The course is designed to assist students in thinking about what it means to learn to teach as they reflect on why, whom, and how they will teach.

Rationale: One role of teacher preparation is to move learners from a student perspective to a teacher perspective through the examination of teaching, learning, and schools. Throughout this process students of teaching clarify, refine, and apply their personal theories of teaching and learning in classroom contexts.  Teaching is a complex activity in which teachers apply knowledge from multiple subject matter domains and from personal and professional experience to develop curriculum, enact instruction, and assess learning. Learning to teach is a lifelong process. Exploring Teaching as a Career provides the context for the formal beginning of career-long development.

Purchase the following materials:
EDCI 205: Exploring teaching as a career: Course packet available at Copymat (
Chauncey Hill Village)

1) Carger, C. (1996) Of borders and dreams: A Mexican American experience of urban education. NY: Teachers College Press.

2) Johnson, L. (1992). Dangerous minds. NY:
St. Martin’s Press.
3) Paley, V.G. (1989). White teacher.
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Keene, M.N. & Adams, K.H. (2002, third edition) Easy access: The reference handbook for writers. McGraw-Hill.*
* This text is used in both Block I courses and in other courses of the Teacher Education Program.

Readings from the EDCI 285 texts should also be used in course papers and class discussions. 

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Coordinator and  Instructors


Office Phone

Office in BRNG

Ms. Tracy Thoennes (coordinator)




Ms. Inna Abramova




Mr. Josh Brown




Mr. Jeff Bulington




Ms. Sybil Durand




Mr. Jeremy Garcia                           jtgarcia@purdue.edu


             63024                    4129
Mr. Bryan Hains



AGAD 221

Mr. Pablo Llerandi-Roman




Ms. Eloisa Rodriguez





Ms. Nahyr Rovira-Figueroa




Mr. Leon Walls




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Course Policies

Students with disabilities: Students with disabilities must be registered with Adaptive Programs in the Office of the Dean of Students before classroom accommodations can be provided. If you are eligible for academic accommodations because you have a documented disability that will impact your work in this class, please schedule an appointment with your instructor as soon as possible to discuss your needs.

Attendance: If you complete fewer than eight visits to your assigned school you risk a failing grade for the course. Any unexcused absences from the field experience could result in a student receiving a Dispositions Document http://admin2.education.purdue.edu/ncate/Documents/UAS/DispositionsAssessmentProcess2003.doc If you complete fewer than fourteen campus-based class meetings you will lose 50 points for each unexcused absence. If you have a Monday class you may only meet 14 times; therefore you are required to attend every class.  You are required to provide official documentation for each missed class; you must supply documentation within one week of the absence or it will not be considered a valid excuse.

School Cancellations/Absences from School: School delays or cancellations may postpone a scheduled school visit.  You are expected to make up the day you missed.  If you are unable to attend the school for any reason, it is your responsibility to call the school and leave a message for your teacher and email the teacher.  Also, you are required to email your 205 instructor immediately about the missed field experience.

Listen to WBAA 920 AM for school delays and closings. 

School phone numbers | Block I TiP Syllabus

Academic Honesty: The instructors of this course expect, and will enforce, a strict policy of academic honesty.  Students who engage in cheating, plagiarism (from books, articles, the Internet, etc.),  representing another student's work as one's own, knowingly furnishing false information to the instructor or university, or other forms of academic dishonesty, will receive a failing grade in this course. 

Grading: The field experience is pass/fail. If you fail the field experience, then you may fail EDCI 205. If you pass the field experience, then your overall grade is dependent on how well you do in the campus-based portion of the class.  There are a total of 1000 points associated with the campus-based portion of this course. These points are distributed as follows:

Attendance and Class Participation




Project 1: Educational Autobiography


Project 2: Journals


Project 3: Educational Philosophy 


Project 4: E Portfolio Artifact *

+ 160



Your final grade is determined by comparing campus-based points to the distribution of points shown below.
* The Taskstream eportfolio assignment must be completed in order to pass the course. Failure to satisfactorily complete this assignment results in an "F" in the course and the inability to continue in teacher education.


Points earned











All Purdue teacher education programs use the commercial electronic portfolio system from Taskstream for storage and assessment of portfolio assignments. This requires students to purchase a software license to use Taskstream in order to complete course work and obtain a teaching license. For more information, please see the following PDF document, which provides a Q&A for students:


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Reading List

AAEE Job Search Handbook. (1998).  Evaluate the job market: Put AAEE research to work.

Campbell, D. M. (1997).  How to develop a professional portfolio: A manual for teachers. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon. (Chapter 1 and 4)

Carger, C. (1996) Of borders and dreams: A Mexican American experience of urban education. NY: Teachers College Press.

Exploring your autobiography

Fox, C. & Metzger, M. (1985).  Two teachers of letters. Harvard Educational Review, 56(4), pp 349-354.

Johnson, L. (1992).  Dangerous minds. New York: St. Martin’s Paperbacks.

Kantrowitz, B.  (2001). A year in the life.  Newsweek, pp 42-48.

Keene, M.N. & Adams, K.H. Easy access: The reference handbook for writers. McGraw-Hill.

Kozol, J. (1991).  Savage inequalities: Children in America’s schools. New York: Crown Publishers, Inc.

Looking and Listening: Gathering external information using ethnographic research techniques.

Michie, G. (in press). Teaching in the undertow: Advice for new teachers on resisting the pull of schooling-as-usual. In The new teacher book: finding purpose, balance, and hope. Rethinking Schools Press.

Miller, P.C. & Endo H. (2004). Understanding and meeting the needs of ESL students. Phi Delta Kappan, 85 (10), 786-791.

Oakes, J.(1985). Tracking: Why schools need to take another route. Rethinking Schools Press.

Paley, V.G. (1989).  White Teacher.  Cambridge, MA Harvard University Press.

Parkay & Stanford.  (1998). Becoming a Teacher.

Rand, M.K. & Shelton0Colgano, S. (2003) Voices of student teachers: Cases from the field. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Silverman & Welty-Lyon. (1992). Case study: Mary Ewing. McGraw-Hill Inc.

There may be additional readings selected by the course instructor.  In addition, you may be requested to search for materials on the Web or in the library.

Films used in the class:

Hayden, J. & Cauthen, K (Producers) & Hayden, J. (Director).  (1996).  Children in America’s schools with Bill Moyers [Film]. (Available from South Carolina ETV Network, P O Box 11000, Columbia, SC 29211.)

Lavoie, R. (Presenter). (1990). How difficult can this be? The F.A.T. City Workshop. [Film].
(Available from PBS Video, 1320 Braddock Place, Alexandria, VA 2231.)

Class Discussions of Readings

A major responsibility that you have in this course is to prepare for class discussion. Class discussions are based on readings from the three course books (teacher narratives) and readings from the course packet. Other discussions will come out of your personal educational experiences and your field experiences. Relevant EDCI 285 readings may also be used in class discussions. This section details how to prepare for discussions.

The teacher narratives (by Vivian Paley, Lou Anne Johnson and Chris Carger) present stories about real teachers and real schools. They require you to think about how you might act in similar circumstances. The readings are relatively short and, on the surface, easy.  The Paley book examines the experiences of a kindergarten teacher.  We will discuss this book during the beginning of the term.  The Johnson book examines the teaching experiences of a first-year high school English teacher.  We will discuss this book during the middle of the term.  The Carger book examines at the education of a middle school ESL student. We will discuss this book during the last part of the term.  Reading guides are provided for all books.

The three narratives have been selected to focus on issues that span elementary through high school. To get the most out of these readings, you will need to do more than simply read.  It will be up to you, in your preparation for discussions, to reflect on the guiding questions of the course, questions posed by your instructor, and identify problems and possible solutions. Our discussions will bridge elementary, middle school and secondary perspectives by focusing on questions that are pertinent to overarching themes. Here are some suggestions to help you prepare:

Read thoroughly: Start with a quick read to get a general idea of the main characters, the setting, and the situations. Then read it again, using the study questions provided as a guide.

Define the Central Issues: Try to understand the problems involved in each chapter -- both the obvious ones and the more subtle, or hidden problems.

Analyze: Make a list of questions that you have about how this teacher handled various situations.

Discuss: Discussions are meant to be open-ended, with no single solution as a goal. You must come to the discussion prepared to share your thinking. Be prepared to take risks and to open yourself to other ways of viewing teaching situations. If each participant prepares in these ways, the discussions will be meaningful and fruitful. It is your responsibility to help make them so.

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Writing Assignments

Journals: You will write a journal entry for each visit to your school. Each journal entry should consist of a brief record of your experiences, reflections on those experiences, and reflections on your classroom readings, writings, and discussions.  Number and date each journal entry (you should have a total equal to the number of visits to the school). The journal serves as a place to record your reflections and changing feelings about what it is like to be a teacher. The instructor will read and respond to each of your journal entries during the semester. Provide a copy of your journal entry in the form indicated by your course instructor (e mail, Web CT, handwritten, or typed). Your course instructor may also require that you write additional journal entries reflecting on readings, films, projects etc.

In the journal you keep for this course you can reflect on the following:

         A description of the school and surrounding area.

         A description of the classroom: How are seats arranged? What materials are displayed? Is student work up on the walls?

         What classroom routine activities are you performing? 

         What work have you done with individual students?

         What small group and/or large group activities have you engaged in?

         What lessons have you assisted the teacher with?

         Observe one student and write field notes on observation. Reflect on the field notes.

         Reflect on conversations with teacher (see Teacher Interview questions).

         Reflect on concepts being discussed in EDCI 285 (gender, race, ethnic, class and other diversity etc.)

         Other (Your instructor may provide additional guided activities for reflection).

The journal you keep in this course serves three functions:

         Writing to develop thinking: Writing helps organize your thoughts in a way that reading, listening, and speaking do not.

         Writing for communicating with instructors (and perhaps other students): Your journal will be read and responded to by others. This process of reading and responding should help us all to understand and communicate better about course content, field experiences, and other issues.

         Writing to develop self-understanding: It is important for you to think about the process through which you learn to teach. Your ultimate success as a teacher will depend both on your ability to guide your learning and your ability to reflect upon the effectiveness of your teaching.

Assignments: Week to week assignments contribute to your growing understanding of education. Being prepared for class means being ready to discuss new ideas. You will be asked to search for information (web, library, newspaper, etc.), view films, read, and write outside of the regular class period. These assignments must be completed in a timely fashion.

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There are four project assignments in this course. The guidelines provided below consist of a question and suggestions on how to gather information and compose a paper for all four projects.

What do I write?
Each paper is formulated in terms of a main question. Address the main question by:

         reflecting on your personal experiences, class discussions, field experience observations, readings, and class assignments, and

         developing a written response to the main question that draws on your reflections.

What format should it be?
Hard copies of the papers should be typed, double-spaced, and 12 point font. At the top of the first page, include your name, course number, instructor name, division, and title of paper.  The final eportfolio paper, artifact # 1 for EDCI 205, should be single spaced. References to course readings or outside texts should be cited using APA format. The manual can be ordered from http://www.apastyle.org/pubmanual.html or check on-line at http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/research/r_apa.html. Easy Access, the reference text, provides a comprehensive overview of how to use this citation format.

How will I be evaluated?
Project 1, 3 and 4 will be graded according to a rubric (project 2 consists of journal entries and will be responded to by course instructors). A rubric is an assessment tool that lists the evaluation criteria and relative value given to each.  Generally, the rubrics measure how well you:

         answered the major question thoroughly, giving examples and supportive explanations for your answers;

         integrated course readings and experiences into your response; and

         wrote clearly and professionally, and without mechanical errors using the guidelines of the Keene & Adams Easy access: The reference handbook for writers

INTASC Standards: Click below and go to page 14 http://www.ccsso.org/content/pdfs/corestrd.pdf 

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Comments to phillion@purdue.ed| Last updated June 28, 2005