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Edmund T. Gordon, Chair 210 W. 24th Street , Mailcode E3400, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4362

Keffrelyn Brown

Associate Professor Ph.D., 2006, Curriculum and Instruction, University of Wisconsin - Madison

Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction



Keffrelyn is an assistant professor in department of curriculum & instruction with a primary appointment in the cultural studies in education area. She completed a Ph.D in curriculum & instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as well as holds an Ed.M in learning and teaching from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a B.S. in political science and psychology from the University of Houston. Keffrelyn is a former elementary and middle school teacher, school administrator, and curriculum developer. Her scholarly interests focus on understanding how pre-service and in-service teachers acquire, understand and use sociocultural knowledge to address the teaching of underserved student populations. She is also interested in the educational experiences of and knowledge produced and circulated about African American (students). Her work has been published in Educational Researcher, as well as in several education handbooks and encyclopedias. She is the past recipient of numerous scholarships, grants and fellowships, including the Wisconsin-Spencer Foundation Research Training Grant and the Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship. Keffrelyn is an affiliate faculty member with the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies and the Center for Women's and Gender Studies.

AFR 372D • Sociocul Influences On Learn

30285 • Fall 2012
Meets T 400pm-700pm SZB 426
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Instructor: Keffrelyn Brown


The purpose of this course is to explore and become familiar with the vital role sociocultural factors play in the learning process. These factors, which are embedded both in historic ways of constructing what it means to be “normal,” and in institutional practices and social inequalities, fundamentally shape how individuals understand themselves, their place in the world, as well as others around them. In particular, this course will consider how issues related to race, class, gender, culture and sexuality operate in and exert an influence on the teaching and learning process. Focus will be placed on the experiences faced by student populations that have historically experienced challenges and marginalization in U.S. educational systems. It is expected that at the conclusion of the course, you will have a more comprehensive and complex understanding of the role sociocultural factors have played and continue to play in learning; as well as the perspectives necessary to embark on working effectively with children and youth from all backgrounds.


PLEASE NOTE: This course includes a 15-hour service learning component. You will need to locate an appropriate location to engage in 15 hours of volunteer service learning. We will talk about some options for fulfilling this requirement during the first two weeks of class. I will provide in class time for you to discuss experiences in the service learning site. You will also reflect on these experiences in your final paper reflection.



Articles and Book Chapters: Course Packet (required). Can be purchased at Jenn’s Copy and Binding.

Books: All of the course texts below can be purchased at

(1) Gloria Ladson-Billings, The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African American Students

(2) Amanda Lewis, Race in the Schoolyard: Negotiating the Color Line in Classrooms and Communities

(3) Angela Valenzuela, Subtractive Schooling: U.S. Mexican Youth and the Politics of Caring

While this syllabus is intended to outline and frame the general goals and expectations of the course, it should be considered a “work in progress”. As I get to know the class and over the course of the semester, reading assignments and due dates may be subject to modification/change.



CLASS EXPECTATIONS. Since this course primarily relies upon your participation and effort, grades will reflect the degree to which your class participation (group and individual) is thoughtful, engaging and critical; as well as the assignments you submit are timely, well-organized and analytical. In addition, your final paper should utilize appropriate style and citation rules. For this course, you should utilize APA style (American Psychological Association). For style assistance, see the attached “Guide to citing work,” found at the end of this document and/or consult the APA style manual. I also expect that you will check your UT affiliated email frequently as this is the primary way that I contact the class.


INDIVIDUAL MEETINGS WITH ME. I want to meet and talk with each of you in a personal meeting, sometime within the first three weeks of the spring 2010 semester. I will pass around a sign up sheet for you to sign up for a 15-20 minute meeting with me in my office (436D Sanchez Bldg.).


ATTENDANCE. The success of this course is in large part dependent on the degree to which you attend class and thoughtfully and actively engage in small/large class discussion. This requires that prior to class meetings, you will have read and critically considered the class readings and other assigned materials. It is VITALLY important that you attend class in a timely and consistent manner. It is understood that over the course of the semester situations may arise that prohibit your attendance. For this reason, you may miss one (1) class—for any reason (including by not limited to illness) without any penalty. Each additional absence will result in a one point deduction from your grade. The only absences excused from this policy are those accompanied with a doctor’s note or some other documented valid excuse.






A 93-100 C+ 77-79

A- 90-92 C 73-76

B+ 87-89 C- 70-72

B 83-86 D 60-69

B- 80-82 F 59 and under


Class Attendance/Participation 10 points


Session Write-up Reflections 15 points


Reflective/Service Learning Journal 15 points


Midterm: Educational Autobiography 20 points


Group Video Case Project 20 points


Final Paper Reflection 20 points



Percent of Grade Assignment Due date

10% Class Attendance/Participation - Weekly

15% Session Write-Up Reflections - Weekly

15% Reflective/Service Learning Journal - On-going

20% Midterm: Educational Autobiography – Due date TBA

20% Group Case Project - On-going

20% Final Course Reflection – Due date TBA

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