The Core of Philosophic and Practical Underpinnings

The Core of Philosophic and Practical Underpinnings

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2656-9.ch004
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This chapter begins the detailed description of doctoral program components by focusing on the coursework for the philosophic and practical underpinnings of the field. Three specific doctoral programs are used to illustrate the content and format of these core courses. The programs represent three different universities and three different areas of specialization within the field of education. This examination of diverse programs highlights both the similarities in structure and the variety of content and delivery unique to each program.
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Each student must complete three of the four core departmental courses—the first two are required, and students may choose between the remaining two courses. The core allows students to collaborate with other doctoral students in the Department of Learning, Teaching, and Curriculum.

  • Philosophical Perspectives in Education Research: An examination of the history and philosophy of social science research, including perspectives on ontology, epistemology, and axiology. Students will consider how various philosophical assumptions shape research paradigms, purposes, interests, and methodologies.

  • Teacher Education Research: This course is designed to prepare doctoral students as researchers who understand current trends and challenges for teacher education across the professional continuum and who have the ability to formulate, compare, and problematize relevant research in the field.

  • Curriculum Theories: The purpose of this course is to examine some of the key theoretical and ideological orientations surrounding curriculum theory. This course explores the notion of “curriculum” as more than “a course of study” or “structured knowledge.” This course asserts that the creation and development of curriculum is embedded within various historical discourses and practices of race, class, gender and sexuality.

  • Theories of Learning and Implications for Education: The purpose of this course is to develop students’ ideas about learning in general, and their specific content area in particular. Students will survey a number of perspectives on learning including the historical and theoretical underpinnings and related research.

The second is from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Wisconsin has been a member for the American Association of Universities since its inception in 1900. Its doctoral program presently ranks 3rd in the annual report of best graduate schools from U.S. News & World Report.

From the PhD program in Special Education at University of Wisconsin-Madison, School of Education:

  • Foundations of Special Education: This course is designed to engage doctoral students in a critical exploration of Special Education issues and trends as located in social, cultural, philosophical, and historical contexts. Students in this course will develop and use a conceptual framework as a tool to situate their own scholarly interests and research trajectories within or intersecting with broader special education scholarly communities. The course is designed to build and expand critical, technical, and contextual foundations in Special Education through engagement with topics, theories, empirical works, speakers, and learning experiences.

  • Research in Special Education: This course is designed to equip students with knowledge and skills necessary to be thoughtful critical consumers and producers of education and special education research. To that end, the course is structured to foster students’ development of knowledge and skills necessary to summarize, synthesize, and extend the special education research base on topics of personal interest and professional relevance.

  • Multicultural Issues in Special Education: This course is designed for graduate students interested in multicultural research. In this seminar, we will explore the role of culture and its implications for the construction of difference and deviance in national and international educational systems. A central goal of the course is to expose students to a more complex and instrumental view of culture and understand the key role cultural diversity, power, and privilege play in human affairs. More specifically, participants of this course will engage in a critical exploration and discussion of issues and trends in special education as they relate to the diversity of populations receiving special education services.

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