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Master of Arts in Educational Studies

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  • Objectives
    The M.A. Program in Educational Studies reflects the multi-disciplinary nature and evolution of education as an academic, intellectual, and professional field of study. The program therefore approaches broad issues in education as they connect with the domains of anthropology, history, philosophy, political education, and sociology. The program also includes a concentration in adult education. The emphasis is on the application of fundamental and theoretical concerns to practical issues and problems in education.
  • Academic Title
    Master of Arts in Educational Studies
  • Course description
    601 PHILOSOPHICAL ISSUES IN EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH
    There are a number of important philosophical questions that lie behind the
    everyday practice of education research. The questions include: What does it
    mean to say that research in education is “scientific”? Is science (and, by
    extension, educational research) really value neutral and objective? What kinds
    of education research should count as legitimate? In the first part of the course,
    we will examine Karl Popper and Thomas Kuhn’s definitions of science, and we
    will look at some influential critiques of the scientific enterprise. In the second
    part of the class, we will analyze some of the ongoing debates about appropriate
    research methods in education.

    611 PHILOSOPHICAL PERSPECTIVES IN EDUCATION
    The main point of this course is to provide a forum for common inquiry and
    reflection upon issues that have deep significance for our lives as human beings,
    students, and educators. Some emphasis is placed on gaining an understanding
    of historically significant philosophical ideologies and their application to
    problems of teaching and education. However, the primary focus is on cultivating
    a desire and commitment to engage in philosophical thinking as it applies to
    matters of concern to teachers and teaching. The course is premised on a
    number of questions. These include but are not limited to: What is education?
    How do we understand education in its moral, ethical and spiritual dimensions?
    What role does education play or has the potential of playing in personal and
    social transformation? What is effective teaching and how can we cultivate the
    courage to teach effectively?

    612 HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES IN EDUCATION
    The course seeks to acquaint students with a broadly historical approach to a
    variety of significant educational issues. The emphasis will be placed on the
    examination of a number of critical components of modern educational thought
    and practice (comprising, for example, alternative schools of educational thought,
    politics and education, the changing curriculum, or the organisation of schooling)
    as seen and presented in historical perspective.

    613 ANTHROPOLOGICAL CONCEPTS AND METHODS IN EDUCATION
    The course introduces the students to qualitative methods in educational
    research. The first purpose is to review studies of education which utilise
    anthropological concepts and/or methods. The second purpose is to examine
    the three principal foci of qualitative research in the area: a) schools and their
    relations with the socio-cultural milieu in which they exist; b) the description and
    analysis of classroom processes; c) the study of individual pupils and educators.
    The third purpose is to assess the strengths and weaknesses of studies focusing
    on these areas. This includes describing and discussing some of the systematic
    methodological biases apparent in the literature and suggesting directions for
    future research.

    614 SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGICAL FOUNDATIONS OF EDUCATION
    The course attempts to provide a basic understanding of the ways in which
    psychologists examine and analyse human behaviour, collect and interpret data,
    develop theories and form generalisations. It is not intended as a general survey
    course in the area of Educational Psychology. Several topics in an area will be
    studied in order to exemplify the methods and techniques employed in the
    psychological analysis of behaviour in educational settings.

    615 INTRODUCTION TO RESEARCH
    This course provides an overview and basic understanding of the commonly
    used research methods in education today, as well as the knowledge required to
    critique research that is reported in the education and social science literature.
    Topics to be covered include the nature of educational research, the different
    qualitative and quantitative research approaches, types of data collection, and
    knowledge of research ethics. Student will gain experience in developing a
    research problem statement, writing a mock research proposal, and designing an
    appropriate methodology.

    635 STUDIES IN EDUCATIONAL CHANGE
    This course is concerned with the investigation and comparison of problems of
    education in the context of time and society. Concentrating on concrete "case
    studies" chosen from the 19th century and the contemporary period, it focuses on
    the principles on which systems of education are constructed, and their change
    or retention, in the broad socio-economic and ideological context.

    644 SCHOOL AND SOCIETY
    This course is concerned with the family, the educational system, the economy
    and the polity, and with the relations between them. The main concern is with
    social institutions and the socialisation process with which they are involved.
    Particular emphasis will be placed on the social class differentials in the
    conditions of socialisation and educational opportunity, and on social class
    differentials in educational achievement.

    670 ADULT EDUCATION IN QUEBEC AS A FIELD OF STUDY
    This course is designed as a survey at an advanced level, of the theory and
    practice of adult education through an examination of the existing literature.
    Emphasis will be placed on helping the student gain knowledge, understanding,
    and a critical perspective of the following: aims; history and philosophy; needs
    and characteristics of adult learners, functions and skills of adult education
    practitioners; settings, agencies and programme areas; and planning and
    evaluating in adult education. A Canadian and Quebec perspective will be
    emphasized.

    TOPIC COURSES
    Topic course descriptions are subject to change. The listing below is a sample of
    courses that have been offered in previous years.

    608A: SELECTED AREA OF EDUCATION:
    Feminist and Anti-Racist Pedagogies
    This course will examine feminist and anti-racist pedagogies. The course will
    draw upon theoretical work addressing intersectionality, positionality, racism and
    sexism developed by Canadian anti-racist/feminist scholars. An extended case
    study of the “Reasonable Accommodation” debates in Quebec will ground our
    discussions in contemporary public pedagogies and challenge us to develop
    classroom pedagogies that intervene in racist and sexist public discourse. We
    will also explore strategies for dealing with the affective aspect of anti-racist
    feminist learning. Students will be required to read key scholarly and activist texts
    in both fields, understand and apply key concepts, develop a pedagogical
    position paper or set of pedagogical materials that incorporate the insights of
    feminist and anti-racist pedagogies or a research paper.

    606: Study of a Philosopher of Education:
    The Educational Philosophy of John Dewey
    This course traces the sweep of John Dewey's philosophy of education from his
    earliest work in the 1890s until the 1930s. Key works examined include School
    and Society, Democracy and Education, Individualism: Old and New, and
    Experience and Education. Dewey's educational ideas are placed in their
    historical and philosophical context, and their contemporary relevance is
    highlighted. In addition, some of the most important and enduring criticisms of
    Dewey's work are addressed.

    640B: SOCIOLOGY OF EDUCATION II:
    Issues Of Difference: Gender, Class, And Race
    This course examines how feminist/critical theory and pedagogy provide a
    possibility for social change. The main focus is on how these perspectives
    attempt to address difference in gender, class, and race in educational practice.

    640E: SOCIOLOGY OF EDUCATION II:
    Popular Culture, Media & Education
    This course examines the relationship between popular culture, the media, and
    education. The premise is that learning does not only occur in formal educational
    institutions, but also through a myriad of everyday cultural practices. That is,
    learning is continuous, diverse, and occurs across many aspects of everyday life.
    Readings will engage students in discussions, which will help them understand
    popular culture, how it is created by and affects subordinate groups, and how it
    influences learning in educational settings. It is important to note that this course
    is not specifically concerned with the teaching of popular culture in schools.
    Although we will be reading about and discussing this aspect, the course has a
    broader purpose in that the intent is provide a conceptual vocabulary that can be
    drawn on to understand various educative dimensions of many aspects of
    contemporary culture.

    642A: SELECTED TOPIS IN EDUCATIONAL PROBLEMS:
    Globalization and Education
    The main focus of the course is to examine the ramification and consequences of
    globalization on education in the broader context of political, economic, cultural
    and technological processes of globalization. The course proceeds from the
    contention that while it may not be possible to roll back many of the processes of
    globalization and their negative impact on education it is imperative to critically
    examine and understand them so as to be able articulate effective resistance and
    safety nets. It also contends that while the impact of globalization on education is
    immense yet it remains one of the sites from where globalization can be critically
    understood and contested.

    642C: SELECTED TOPICS IN EDUCATIONAL PROBLEMS:
    Literacy in Cross-Cultural Perspective
    This course takes a broad and critical look at literacy, using a cross-cultural
    perspective to do so. The course seeks to develop an understanding of literacy
    as a social phenomenon as well as an individual skill, by exploring, the scope of
    its meaning, its forms, and the myths surrounding it. Various types of literacy will
    be examined (basic literacy, scientific literacy, math literacy, cultural literacy,
    visual literacy) and various themes will be explored (literacy and "progress",
    literacy and national development, literacy and "liberation" of the masses, literacy
    and social context, the literacy "crisis").

    642E: SELECTED TOPICS IN EDUCATIONAL PROBLEMS:
    Democratic Education
    With the processes of globalization firmly entrenched, there are obvious tensions
    between the demands of global capital and the imperatives of education as a
    conduit for civic and democratic values. Taking this tension as its point of
    departure the course purports to engage with and investigate these tensions from
    multiple standpoints. In doing so it also purports to provide a forum for common
    inquiry and reflection upon issues that have deep significance for our lives as
    human beings, students, and educators in an age of globalization. The course is
    premised on a number of questions. Salient among these are: How can we
    articulate the relationship between democracy and education in the era of
    globalization? How do contemporary definitions of democracy and citizenship
    engage with the notion of a democratic education? What role can education play
    in framing democratic citizenship identities?

    642F: SELECTED TOPICS IN EDUCATIONAL PROBLEMS:
    Current Issues in Education

    This course purports to introduce students to a number of current issues in
    education that work inter-relatedly inside and outside of educational institutions.
    Although the range of issues will be wide and international the main focus of the
    course will be on issues affecting Canadian education. The main assumption that
    under-grids this course is that we cannot be effective teachers/educators without
    being cognizant of the ways in which ethical, moral, social and cultural issues
    and mechanisms inform educational practices.

    642J: SELECTED TOPICS IN EDUCATIONAL PROBLEMS:
    Multiculturalism and Education

    In this special topics course we will explore the vital links between
    multiculturalism and education. In this respect the latter is defined and
    understood in broad rather than narrow terms as the societal institution that is
    instrumental in knowledge formation that help us understand various other
    institutions and processes of the society. Much of the attention and emphasis of
    courses that deal with multicultural education has been on the pedagogical
    dimensions. These courses often do not aim at a deeper and nuanced
    understanding of the issues, debates and complex dynamics of multiculturalism.
    Our focus will be on examining how the knowledge with respect to
    multiculturalism is constructed, its strength and weakness and what more can be
    done.
    We start with the recognition that issues in and debates on multiculturalism are
    complex and thus need a multi-pronged exploration. We will, thus explore various
    issues and themes in multiculturalism through multiple conceptual and theoretical
    lenses.

    ADULT EDUCATION TOPICS
    Through a review of major concepts and approaches, students will be given an
    opportunity to engage in and focus on issues of personal and professional
    interest.

    671 ADULTS AS LEARNERS
    This course examines the unique physiological, psychological and sociological
    characteristics of adults, their influence on adult learning and development and
    their implications for educational intervention. Attention is given to changes
    which occur at various stages of the adult life cycle and particularly to dimensions
    which affect the adult’s self-concept and orientation to learning, the motivations,
    needs and interests which cause adults to participate in educational activities.

    672 FACILITATING ADULT LEARNING
    This course is designed to give adult educators an opportunity to practice and
    improve their skills in facilitating adult learning. Different models of educational
    processes and optimal conditions for promoting adult learning are examined;
    attention is given to small and large group methods and techniques, as well as to
    individualised learning formats.

    673 ADMINISTRATION OF ADULT EDUCATION PROGRAMS
    This course is designed to develop a better understanding of the principles of
    organisation and administration as they relate to educational programmes for
    adults. The course also examines the main factors which influence the provision
    of these programmes along with the various skills necessary at all levels of the
    decision-making processes: accessing needs, budgeting, staffing and
    advertising.

    674 EVALUATING ADULT LEARNING PROJECTS
    The purpose of this course is to assist participants in developing a clear working
    concept of various models of assessing the effectiveness of adult learning
    projects. The course emphasizes a systematic approach to evaluation,
    techniques for collecting information and providing feedback to programme
    operation and impact. Participants are given the opportunity to conduct an
    evaluation of an adult learning project.

    675 CONCEPTS AND VALUES IN EDUCATION
    This seminar-style weekly class is intended as a forum for discussing some
    fundamental issues in adult education. The main objectives of the course are: to
    understand the defining principles of educational values and orientations; to
    compare and confront these views with our own values about teaching and
    learning; and to observe how our personal educational values, and those of
    others, define and shape our educational practice.

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