Effective: Late Fall 8-Week, 2018/2019

EDUC 555: Development,Gender & Cultural Differenc

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  Course Description

The study of diversity as it pertains to gender and cultural differences. Issues examined include the impact of economic, social, cultural, political, religious, ethnic, racial, and gender influences. Diversity in the classroom is addressed, including the role of the classroom teacher.

Prerequisite: Graduate standing and admission to the Teacher Certification Program or full MAT or M.Ed. status

Proctored Exams: None


As part of TruitionSM, students will receive their course materials automatically as described below.


  •  Cushner, K. McClelland, A., and Safford, P. (2018). Human Diversity in Education: An Intercultural Approach (9th ed). New York: McGraw-Hill.  eText
  •  Payne, R. K. (2013). A Framework for Understanding Poverty (5th ed). Highlands, TX: aha! Process, Inc.  eText
  •  Purcell-Gates, V. (1995). Other People's Words: The Cycle of Low Literacy (1st ed). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.  Physical Book

Bookstore Information

Visit https://www.ccis.edu/bookstore.aspx for details.

eText Information

If a course uses an eText, (see Textbook information above) the book will be available directly in Desire2Learn (D2L) and through the VitalSource eText reader the Friday before the session begins, if registered for courses prior to that date.  Students will have a VitalSource account created for them using their CougarMail email address. Upon first login to VitalSource, students may need to verify their account and update their VitalSource password.  More information about how to use the VitalSource platform, including offline access to eTexts, can be found in D2L.  Students that would like to order an optional print-on-demand copy of eligible eTexts can do so through the VitalSource bookshelf at an additional cost.  Once orders are placed, it can take approximately five to seven business days for students to receive their print-on-demand books.

Physical Course Materials Information

Students enrolled in courses that require physical materials will receive these materials automatically at the address on file with Columbia College.  Delivery date of physical materials is dependent on registration date and shipping location.  Please refer to confirmation emails sent from Ed Map for more details on shipping status.

Returns: Students who drop a course with physical course materials will be responsible for returning those items to Ed Map within 30 days of receipt of the order.  More specific information on how to do so will be included in the package received from Ed Map.  See here for Ed Map's return policy. Failure to return physical items from a dropped course will result in a charge to the student account for all unreturned items.

Note: Students who opt-out of having their books provided as part of TruitionSM are responsible for purchasing their own course materials.

  Course Overview

This course exposes students to a variety of topics relevant to diversity. Much of the course focuses on diversity in the classroom setting, although some topics are designed to encourage critical thinking that is vital to the development of the individual as a multicultural educator.

  Technology Requirements

Participation in this course will require the basic technology for all online classes at Columbia College:
  • A computer with reliable Internet access
  • A web browser
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Microsoft Office or another word processor such as Open Office

You can find more details about standard technical requirements for our courses on our site.

  Course Learning Outcomes

  1. Recognizes diversity and the impact it has on education.
  2. Can plan learning activities to address students’ prior experiences, learning styles, multiple intelligences, strengths, and needs in order to positively impact learning.
  3. Demonstrates an understanding that instruction should be connected to students’ prior experiences and family, culture, and community.
  4. Recognizes and identifies the influence of classroom, school and community culture on student relationships and the impact on the classroom environment and learning.
  5. Develops sensitivity to differences in culture, gender, intellectual, and physical ability in classroom communication and in communication with families.
  6. Understands school-based systems designed to address the individual needs of students by working with the cooperating teacher/supervisor to engage with the larger professional community across the system to identify and provide needed services to support individual learners.
  7. Recognizes the importance of developing relationships and cooperative partnerships with students, families and community members to support students’ learning and well-being.


Grading Scale

Grade Points Percent
A 549-610 90-100%
B 488-548 80-89%
C 427-487 70-79%
F 0-426 0-69%

Grade Weights

Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussions (14) 210 34%
Reflection Papers 200 33%
Other Peoples Words Paper 100 16%
Final Project 100 16%
Total 610 100%

  Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 1: Introductions 15 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 2: Real Americans 15

Week 2

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 3: Patterns of Adjustment 15 Wednesday/Sunday
Reflection Paper 1 50 Sunday

Week 3

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 4: White Privilege 15 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 5: Diversity as the Norm 15
Final Project Proposal 20 Sunday

Week 4

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 6: Understanding Poverty 15 Wednesday/Sunday
Reflection Paper 2 50 Sunday

Week 5

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 7: Religion in Public Schools 15 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 8: Polygamy 15

Week 6

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 9: Other People's Words 15 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 10: Teaching the Global Perspective 15
Reflection Paper 3 50 Sunday

Week 7

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 11: Other People's Words 15 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 12: Language 15
Other People's Words Paper 100 Sunday

Week 8

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 13: Gender and Sexuality 15 Wednesday/Saturday
Discussion 14: Speaking from Experience 15
Final Project 80 Saturday
Reflection Paper 4 50
Total Points: 610

  Assignment Overview


Class discussions are the heart and soul of this course. Therefore, you are expected to thoroughly answer discussion questions. You are expected to respond to at least one classmate in each discussion topic. Initial posts are due by Wednesday before midnight. Responses to your classmates are due by Sunday before midnight, except for Week 8 where responses will be due Saturday by 11:59 pm CT.

One of the skills graduate students often need to work on is “economy of expression,” learning how to express their viewpoint in a way that is both thorough and concise. In order to encourage you to work on this skill, your main posts need to be at least 300 words but must not exceed 700 words.

Reflection Papers

Write a brief (700-1000 words), informal paper describing your experiences with and reactions to the past two weeks’ course material. The primary purpose of this paper is to encourage deeper thinking and reflection on what you have learned and experienced. Although this is a safe and open environment, you may have thoughts, concerns, questions, insights, and/or conclusions about your experience that you would like to share in a more confidential setting. This is your opportunity to do so. These papers will act as a conversation, so please write informally, as though you are speaking to me, like writing a letter. Grading will be based on how much thought goes into your paper, not how much information you report.

Other People's Words Paper

This paper will give you the opportunity to explore Other People’s Words in relation to our course and current educational practice. A more detailed explanation of this assignment can be found in the Content area of the course.

Final Project

The final project for this course will give you an opportunity to develop a multicultural lesson. You will choose the grade level and content area (if relevant) and the area of diversity you wish to focus on. A more detailed explanation of this assignment can be found in the Content section of the course.

  Course Outline

Click on each week to view details about the activities scheduled for that week.

  • Cushner, McClelland, & Safford Chapters 1-3 (you may skim Chapter 1)
  • Begin A Framework for Understanding Poverty, to be completed Week 4
Discussion 1: Introductions

Many online courses begin with student introductions, but this one will be different. In this discussion, introduce yourself with some of the basics, such as where you’re from, what you teach, and so on. Then, after reading Chapter 3, share with your classmates your ethnic, cultural, and religious background. Specifically address the following questions:

  • Consider the 12 sources of knowledge (see pages 77-84 and the resource in the Content area) and complete an inventory of yourself. You may post your responses to all 12 sources, but at minimum you must share sex/gender, ethnicity/nationality, religion/spirituality, geographic location/region, and language.
  • What are two traditions in your family (either as you were growing up or the family you may have now [your own children, etc.]) that are related either to your ethnicity, culture, or religion? Be specific about how and why those traditions are related.
Discussion 2: Real Americans

“It has long been recognized that culture is very difficult for humans to think about. Like fish in water, we fail to ‘see’ culture because it is the medium within which we exist” (Hernandez-Sheets, 2005, p. 14). Think about that. What do we think of when we think of what is truly “American,” and how might that differ from what someone from another country might think?

Is there anything you would add to the text’s monocultural perspective of American culture? To what extent are schools today perpetuating this perspective?

  • Cushner, McClelland, & Safford Chapter 4
  • Continue reading A Framework for Understanding Poverty, to be completed Week 4
Discussion 3: Patterns of Adjustment

Using the Model of Intercultural Interaction (pp. 119-129), describe a time when you have had to make adjustments when you encountered differences OR a time when you observed someone else (e.g., one of your students) experience this adjustment. What was it like? In what ways did the experience match the pattern proposed in the text? In what ways did it differ?

Reflection Paper 1
Write and submit a brief (700-1000 words), informal paper describing your experiences with and reactions to the past two weeks’ course material.
  • Cushner, McClelland, & Safford Chapters 5 & 6
  • Continue reading A Framework for Understanding Poverty, to be completed Week 4
  • Begin Other People’s Words, to be completed Week 6
Discussion 4: White Privilege

Watch the privilege videos in the Content section of our course (note that the Tim Wise video is nearly an hour long, so budget your time accordingly!). Please watch them in the order in which they appear – Tim Wise first, then Justin Ford, and then Tiffany Jana. Post your thoughts on the issue of white privilege, and on privilege in general. Are there other groups that have similar privileges, particularly in certain situations? What are some things you can do, both personally and professionally, to address these issues?

Discussion 5: Diversity as the Norm

“Success in culturally diverse classrooms often depends on [teachers’] ability to perceive diversity as the norm and to view it as fundamental to all aspects of schooling” (Hernandez-Sheets, 2005, p. xxi). Consider the suggestions throughout Chapter 6 for creating classrooms that address race and ethnicity. How do they relate to the notion proposed in Hernandez-Sheets’ comment about diversity as the norm rather than something that should be specifically taught?

Final Project Proposal
Complete your proposal for your Final Project. The Final Project assignment can be found in the Content section of the course.
  • Cushner, McClelland, & Safford Chapter 13
  • A Framework for Understanding Poverty
  • Continue reading Other People’s Words, to be completed Week 6
Discussion 6: Understanding Poverty

One of the most profound assertions Payne makes is that schools are structured on middle class values and those students who are not from the middle class face a culture shock at school that is not unlike that of a student from a foreign country.

Although each chapter of Framework discusses how the information provided applies to the school setting, Chapters 7 and 8 touch on the topics more directly relevant to teaching, tying in factors discussed in previous chapters. Discuss one thing related to discipline and one related to instruction/achievement that you can do in your classroom to better serve low-income students.

Reflection Paper 2
Write and submit a brief (700-1000 words), informal paper describing your experiences with and reactions to the past two weeks’ course material.
  • Cushner, McClelland, & Safford Chapter 9
  • Continue reading Other People’s Words, to be completed Week 6
Discussion 7: Religion in Public Schools

Chapter 9 focuses on religion and in what ways it is a part of our schools.  As you read the chapter you will find the answer to that is "many!"  The separation of church and state is by no means as clear and definitive as we tend to think it is. This is, of course, yet another example of cultural practices that we fail to "see" and therefore pay minimal attention to.  The chapter does a good job of bringing all of it to light.  Additionally, the case scenario that opens the chapter deals with the issue of teaching about religion, which while seemingly innocent and simply informative, ended up creating controversy.

Where do you stand on the role of religion in public schools?  What are your thoughts on some of the issues raised in this chapter?

Discussion 8: Polygamy
Watch the videos in the Content section of the course. Then challenge yourself to come up with three arguments in support of or justifying polygamy. Be careful to explain your arguments.
  • Cushner, McClelland, & Safford Chapter 7
  • Other People’s Words
Discussion 9: Other People's Words

This discussion is meant to help you with the process of writing your paper. You will have the opportunity to share your thoughts on the book next week, so hold off on that for now! Choose one of the passages you intend to use for your paper and explain why you chose it. You should not share a replica of what you will put in your paper, as this is meant to be less formal than that. Instead, use this as an opportunity get your thoughts going, and to receive some feedback and suggestions from your classmates. Your responses to one another need to focus on providing meaningful thoughts and ideas that will be helpful to your classmates.

Discussion 10: Teaching the Global Perspective

At this point much of our class discussion has been centered on our culture, our nation, and our classrooms.  But there is a larger world out there, and our students are more likely to be actively involved in it than any generation before.

After reading through Chapter 7, think specifically about the information on pages 230-232 under "Teaching the Global Perspective."  What ideas do you have for promoting your students' understanding of the global community?  What are some possible lessons or units that would address this perspective, relevant to your grade level/content area?

Reflection Paper 3

Write and submit a brief (700-1000 words), informal paper describing your experiences with and reactions to the past two weeks’ course material.

Course Evaluation
Please evaluate the course. You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link sent to your CougarMail will allow you to access the evaluation. Please note that these evaluations are provided so that I can improve the course, find out what students perceive to be its strengths and weaknesses, and in general assess the success of the course. Please do take the time to fill this out.

Cushner, McClelland, & Safford Chapter 8, pgs. 254-264

Discussion 11: Other People's Words

What did you learn that you didn’t know before? What surprised you? What stood out to you? This is an open forum so you are welcome to share whatever you would like, relevant to the book.

Discussion 12: Language

Discuss the connection between language and culture or language acquisition.  Pick one and share your thoughts and experiences.

Other People's Words Paper

This paper will give you the opportunity to explore Other People’s Words in relation to our course and current educational practice. A detailed description of the assignment can be found in the Content area of the course. Be sure to reference this and the provided template when completing this paper.


Cushner, McClelland, & Safford Chapters 10 (pgs. 323-326) & 12

Discussion 13: Gender and Sexuality

In Chapter 10, focus on pages 323-326.  This will give you some insight into gender stereotypes and legislation related to gender in schools, but ultimately leads you to a discussion of gender and sexuality. Once you've read the chapter and have considered your own thoughts and feelings on this issue, take a look at the Exercises on pages 327-328 under "Sexual Orientation: A Matter of Experience?".

Choose two scenarios that would be most challenging for you and share how you would feel in that situation.  What is your current comfort level in dealing with situations such as these? 

Discussion 14: Speaking from Experience

What advice would you give a teacher education student preparing to work for the first time in a classroom with a student or students with disabilities? What are some things you think everyone who plans to teach ought to know? Draw on your own experiences with young people with disabilities as a teacher, a student, or family member, or perhaps your own experience as a child with a disability.

Final Project

The final project for this course will give you an opportunity to develop a multicultural lesson. You will choose the grade level and content area (if relevant), and also the area of diversity you wish to focus on. The final project should include a lesson plan, handouts and other resources, and an assessment plan. You can find more details about the assignment in the Content area of the course.

Reflection Paper 4
Write and submit a brief (700-1000 words), informal paper describing your experiences with and reactions to the past two weeks’ course material.

  Course Policies

Student Conduct

All Columbia College students, whether enrolled in a land-based or online course, are responsible for behaving in a manner consistent with Columbia College's Student Conduct Code and Acceptable Use Policy. Students violating these policies will be referred to the office of Student Affairs and/or the office of Academic Affairs for possible disciplinary action. The Student Code of Conduct and the Computer Use Policy for students can be found in the Columbia College Student Handbook. The Handbook is available online; you can also obtain a copy by calling the Student Affairs office (Campus Life) at 573-875-7400. The teacher maintains the right to manage a positive learning environment, and all students must adhere to the conventions of online etiquette.

Plagiarism and Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a cumulative process that begins with the first college learning opportunity. Students are responsible for knowing the Academic Integrity policy and procedures and may not use ignorance of either as an excuse for academic misconduct. Columbia College recognizes that the vast majority of students at Columbia College maintain high ethical academic standards; however, failure to abide by the prohibitions listed herein is considered academic misconduct and may result in disciplinary action, a failing grade on the assignment, and/or a grade of "F" for the course.

Additionally, all required papers may be submitted for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers may be included in the Turnitin.com reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. This service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the Turnitin.com site.


There will be no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, veteran status, age, physical handicap, or marital status.

Student Accessibility Resources

Columbia College is committed to creating a learning environment that meets the needs of its diverse student body. If you anticipate or experience any barriers to learning, communicate your concerns with the instructor. In addition to speaking with the instructor, the following resources are available to ensure an opportunity to learn in an inclusive environment that values mutual respect.

  • For students with disabilities/conditions who are experiencing barriers to learning or assessment, contact the Student Accessibility Resources office at (573) 875-7626 or sar@ccis.edu to discuss a range of options to removing barriers in the course, including accommodations.
  • For students who are experiencing conflict which is impacting their educational environment, contact the Office of Student Conduct at studentconduct@ccis.edu or (573) 875-7877.
  • For students who have concerns related to discrimination or harassment based on sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy or parental status, please contact the Title IX Office at titleixcoordinator@ccis.edu. More information can be found at http://www.ccis.edu/policies/notice-of-non-discrimination-and-equal-opportunity.aspx

Online Participation

You are expected to read the assigned texts and participate in the discussions and other course activities each week. Assignments should be posted by the due dates stated on the grading schedule in your syllabus. If an emergency arises that prevents you from participating in class, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.

Attendance Policy

Attendance for a week will be counted as having submitted any assigned activity for which points are earned. Attendance for the week is based upon the date work is submitted. A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday (except for week 8, when the work and the course will end on Saturday at midnight.) The course and system deadlines are based on the Central Time Zone.

Cougar Email

All students are provided a CougarMail account when they enroll in classes at Columbia College. You are responsible for monitoring email from that account for important messages from the College and from your instructor. You may forward your Cougar email account to another account; however, the College cannot be held responsible for breaches in security or service interruptions with other email providers.

Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. The class discussions are for public messages so the class members can each see what others have to say about any given topic and respond.

Late Assignment Policy

An online class requires regular participation and a commitment to your instructor and your classmates to regularly engage in the reading, discussion and writing assignments. Although most of the online communication for this course is asynchronous, you must be able to commit to the schedule of work for the class for the next eight weeks. You must keep up with the schedule of reading and writing to successfully complete the class.

No late discussion posts will be accepted.

Late Dropbox assignments will be accepted up to 1 week past the due date for the Dropbox assignment, but a 10% penalty will be imposed per day that the assignment is late.  After 1 week, no late assignments will be accepted.

Course Evaluation

You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link will be sent to your CougarMail that will allow you to access the evaluation. Be assured that the evaluations are anonymous and that your instructor will not be able to see them until after final grades are submitted.

  Additional Resources

Orientation for New Students

This course is offered online, using course management software provided by Desire2Learn and Columbia College. The course user guide provides details about taking an online course at Columbia College. You may also want to visit the course demonstration to view a sample course before this one opens.

Technical Support

If you have problems accessing the course or posting your assignments, contact your instructor, the Columbia College Technology Solutions Center, or the D2L Helpdesk for assistance. If you have technical problems with the VitalSource eText reader, please contact VitalSource. Contact information is also available within the online course environment.

Online Tutoring

Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to all Columbia College students. Smarthinking provides real-time online tutoring and homework help for Math, English, and Writing. Smarthinking also provides access to live tutorials in writing and math, as well as a full range of study resources, including writing manuals, sample problems, and study skills manuals. You can access the service from wherever you have a connection to the Internet. I encourage you to take advantage of this free service provided by the college.

Access Smarthinking through CougarTrack under Students -> Academics -> Academic Resources.