Sample Second Take-Home Exam Questions for IDS 6937  Summer 2004

     Copyright © 2004 Bruce W. Hauptli

 The second take-home exam will be distributed on Thursday August 12 (one week from today); and will be due by 9:05 P.M. on the ensuing Sunday (August 15)—please e-mail me your answers.  I will allow time during the August 12 class for questions regarding the exam.  This exam will cover Nussbaum, Perkinson, and Spring; and may also include comparison-and-contrast questions regarding the whole course.  Below are some sample questions.  This is meant as a study list, the exam would have approximately three such questions on it.

1. Martha Nussbaum contends that our primary goal should be to produce “students who have a Socratic knowledge of their own ignorance…” [p. 147].  Later in the book she emphasizes that the goal is not only “Socratic” but “pluralistic” [cf., pp. 293-295].  Clarify her conception of the goal of liberal education.

2. How does Nussbaum contrast “instruction” and “indoctrination?”  [Cf., pp. 203 ff.].

3. Clarify what Henry Perkinson thinks about “teachers with goals” and about “students with purposes.”  What does he think is wrong with these individuals, and what does he propose in place of these “wrong-headed” conceptions of education?  On pp. 31-32 he maintains that teachers who pursue his critical approach “do not want to strengthen the present understandings of their students, they want to improve them”—how is this not a goal?

4. On p. 20 Perkinson maintains that practitioners of his “critical approach” have agendas rather than goals.  Clarify what he wishes to convey with this remark.  [Discussion of his claim on pp. 31-32 may be of help here, but may also indicate that his remarks about “goals” needs to be examined carefully!]

5. What does Perkinson think is wrong with “authoritarian” educational practices, and how would he avoid being an authoritarian teacher?

6. Joel Spring criticizes Perkinson for not being sufficiently clear regarding the “relationship between power and knowledge” [p. 94 of Perkinson].  He maintains that “…attaining the type of world that both Perkinson and I would like depends on a fundamental redistribution of power in contemporary society” [p. 100].  What sort of “redistribution” does Spring recommend, and what, in your estimation, would Perkinson say in reply to Spring?

7. Clarify what Joel Spring means by “an education in human rights.”  What would it teach the students, and why does he assign it such importance?

8. What does Spring mean by “wheels in the head,” what is wrong with such wheels, and what does he propose to do to avoid them?

9. Would Eli Sagan think that Joel Spring was “paranoid?”

10. Would Martha Nussbaum think that Henry Perkinson’s educational orientation would “cultivate humanity?”

11. Would Martha Nussbaum think that Joel Spring’s “human right education” model would adequately “cultivate humanity?”

12. Would Henry Perkinson think that Joel Spring has “goals?”

13. If Robert Kimball had to choose the orientation of only one of Martha Nussbaum, Henry Perkinson, or Joel Spring which do you believe he would choose, and why?

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