Journey Towards Mastery: Early Completion

In the pursuit of a Masters in Educational Leadership I decided to take two courses in the winter quarter at Capella University. This was a bold step given that I have a full time corporate career, a business as a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant, and a very active three-year old grandson. So, this was an experiment to see if I could “hang”: managing a double course load, organizing my time to complete all assignments, and managing my professional life. It was tough…but I found out that it was also doable! Based on the results of this experiment I have decided to continue doubling the course load which means I will finish all the course work by December of 2011! The Bible says I can do all things through Christ, which strengthens me and His strength is exactly what I need to pull this off. Those of you who know the worth of prayer please lift a sistah up! Here’s a recap of my winter quarter courses:

Historical and Social Foundations of Education

This course was an in-depth look at the historical and social foundations of the American system of public education, beginning with the colonial era and ending with the Obama era. The conclusion I have reached is that systemic and institutionalized racism is a root cause of many of the ills faced by public schools today. There was much discussion of multicultural learning communities, culturally responsive teaching, and education as human development. I read quite a bit of the writings of Paulo Freire, an important 20th century educator and author of Pedagogy of the Oppressed,  who viewed education as either domination and control or liberation and freedom. I focused much of my own writing on the education of Native Americans and the boarding school experience.

Teaching and Learning in Diverse Populations

Much of this course was based on the work of Sonia Nieto, author of The Light in Their Eyes: Creating Multicultural Learning Communities, and Geneva Gay, author of Culturally Responsive Teaching: Theory, Research, and Practice.  Both presented major insights into the importance of recognizing the role that culture and language play in teaching and learning; the role teachers can play in transforming the lives of students; and culturally responsive pedagogy. Nieto addresses some of the changes in the past decade that explain our current sociopolitical educational environment – an increasingly diverse society, the influence of poverty, and the impact of NCLB. Gay demonstrates that students perform better and achieve more when teaching is filtered through their cultural experiences.

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