San Diego State University

Policy Studies in Language and Cross-Cultural Education

 Spring 1999


Course Title: PLC 650, Designing Curriculum and Instruction

Course Time: Tuesdays, 4:00-6:40 P. M.

Course Instructor: Evangelina Bustamante Jones, Ph. D.

  • 594-1836 office (please state date & time of call on voice mail)

Office Hours: TBA, ED 123

Required Texts:

Levine et al. (1995).Rethinking Schools: An Agenda for Change. The New Press.

Miramontes et al. (1997). Restructuring Schools for Linguistic Diversity; Linking Decision Making to Effective Programs. Teachers College Press.

Watts. (1996). Critical Pedagogy Beyond the Classroom: Parnerships for Systemic Change. CABE.


Program Overview:

The mission of the Policy Studies Masters Program with emphasis in Critical Literacy is to prepare professional bilingual and cross-cultural educators and administrators who are reflective and transformational practitioners in addressing the needs of diverse learners through collaboration with schools, families and community. Coursework for the program has been designed to focus on six areas of study that build the candidates's knowledge base on critical literacy. These areas are:

  • Foundations of Critical Literacy
  • Sociocultural Context
  • Language and Cognition
  • Teachers as Mediator of Culture
  • Curricula Change: Evaluation and Transformation
  • Transformation for Democratic Schooling


Course Description:

More specifically, this course is focused on "Curricula Change: Evaluation and Transformation." Principles of curriculum and instruction development are contextualized as students use their particular educational institution work sites to conduct research and create curricular programs. Using action research methodology, students will: conduct needs assessments, select work-related objective, analyze findings, and design curricular/instructional component based upon social justice.

The course is designed to model the teaching/learning process as described by Paulo Freire, known as problem-posing educationn. Briefly, this consists of

(1) experiences to initiate critical thinking on a problem, issue, or concern;

(2) reflection on conditions;

(3) conceptualization;

(4) praxis (action through reflection);

(5) internalization, or knowledge/action, to improve the social condition.

Therefore, the class will function with the following learning contexts and structures:

  • Community-based action research
  • Dialogic--students/students, teacher/students, community/students
  • Reflection-Collaboration-Self-Evaluation Cycles consisting of response and feedback from peers, community-based resource people, and professor at various stages of class projects

Course Objectives: You will be able to:

  1. Identify features of and use problem-posing process throughout the course of study;
  2. Learn how to conduct a needs assessment that includes the principal stakeholders in the selected community;
  3. Utilize reflective/interactive writing and/or other structures as tools for recording experiences, reflecting on conditions, conceptualizing, and planning;
  4. Operationalize the basic components of action research through a student-selected curriculum project;
  5. Design a curricular program using the basic principles of curriculum development as defined by Miramontes, Nadeau and Commins;
  6. Construct and present the curricular program in a format that is authentic to the work site and a useful tool for the student to then utilize as a proposal for change.


Course Requirements and Assigned Values

The course requirements listed here are guidelines with which to begin the course; in keeping with the problem-posing format of the class, it is possible that course products may change to more accurately reflect the needs of the students and professor.

  • Reflective/Interactive journals/tasks focused on readings and course projects (6 entries @ 10 points each)

60 points

  • Needs-Assessment

110 points

  • Problematizing Paper

50 points

  • Curriculum/instruction project

130 points


350 points

Points and Grade Equivalents


329-350 (94-100%) = A 270-284= B- 210-224= D+

315-328 = A- 255-269= C+ 195-209= D

300-314 = B+ 240-254= C 180-194= D-

285-299 = B 225-239= C- Below 165= F


As graduate students, you are expected to produce high quality work that does not fall lower than a "C"; conversely, the grade of "A" is not simple or easy to earn. Should the quality of a product not be up to the professor's standards, the student may be asked to resubmit the work so that it reflects an understanding and adherence to the criteria included in the grading rubric. A detailed description of products and their grading rubrics will be distributed with assignment descriptions.


Sessions, Topics, and ASSIGNMENTS DUE (Subject to Change)


Please note that RS refers to Rethinking Schools, and RSFLD refers to Restructuring Schools for Linguistic Diversity.











  • none


Course Introduction

In-class writing


  • Watts
  • Syllabus and Course Organization
  • Ecological Schema: An Analytical Lens Relationship of School to Community
  • The Notion of Stakeholders
  • What is Critical Literacy?


  • Reflection #1:
  • A Dialogue with Watts
    • RSFLD, 6
    • Overview of Action Research: Its Components
    • What is curriculum? How does one’s philosophy inform curriculum?
    • Overview, Curriculum Development


    • R S, Levine, Pt. II, pp.52-60


    • Handouts: 2 by Hollins, "Learning About..." & "Reframing..."


    Dialogue, issues in Levine’s chapter

    Overview Data Collection Options for Needs Assessment (based on Hollins)

    Explicit, Implicit, Null Curricula


    • R S: choose 1 other chapter in Pt. II


    • Reflection #2: write summary/ critique, share in groups


    Read-Around-Groups with summary/critique

    Overview of RSFLD (1-3): Theoretical Framework, Basic Premises/Program Categories, Decision-Making Framework

    Applying RSFLD approach to curriculum to your work site


    • RSFLD, 1, 2, 3


    • Interactive Task #3: Chart or Web to Present in Class: Your Analysis of Work Site


    Presentations: How You See Your Work Site vis à vis Congruence, Sociopolitical Context, Underlying Assumptions (RSFLD components)

    Overview of Additional Data for Needs Assessment RSFLD, in Ch. 4



    • Continue to develop Needs Assessment
    • Arrange appointment with professor


    Task Time; individual or small group appointments with professor


    • Needs Assessment Due (this is your Mid-Term)


    • Presentations of Needs Assessments through an Executive Summary (Please make a 1-page handout for each class member)


    • RSFLD, 3
    • Skim RSFLD, 4-5

    (It is recommended that you read chs. 4, 5, 7, 8 before writing problematizing paper)

    • Dialogue: Using the Decision-Making Framework in RSFLD to shape your Problematizing Paper
    • Overview of RSFLD (4-8): primary language development; second language development; assessment; community outreach






    • Problematizing Paper is due/bring 1-page Executive Summary


    Presentations of Executive Summary, dialogue & feedback from class members (Please make a 1-page handout for each class member)

    Select Partner(s) for Extended Interaction & Feedback


    • RSFLD, chapters 9-11; Take notes to use in class critiques


    • Reflective Task #4: What you learned from Extended Interaction & Feedback about problematizing paper


    Critiques of the Three Case Studies, Chapters 9-11: Focus on what these case studies DO NOT address

    Work groups look at human & material resources to tap for developing curriculum: Prioritizing and strategizing


    • R S, Bigelow, pp. 155-168


    • R S, choose from chptrs. in Pt III or IV
    • Dialogue: Share issue(s) posed in chapter you chose in R S


    • R S, Peterson, pp. 253-263
    • Preliminary Outline of Proposal (make copies for 4 peers & prof)
    • Resources & Obstacles to Reform: Teachers
    • Peer Response & Feedback in Small Groups


    • Revision of Proposals
    • Set up individual appointment with professor


    Meet with professor


    • All Proposals Due


    Presentations of Proposals




    • Presentations of Proposals

    Please note that you are responsible for six (6) reflections/journal entries/ interactive tasks (such as an interview with an outside resource, such as a community member, student, administrator, resource teacher, etc.) that builds your knowledge base for the final project. Four of them as assigned and show up on the schedule above; two of them will be of your choosing, and will be turned in based upon your own timeline.