Spring 2021 - EDUC 820 G031

Current Issues in Curriculum and Pedagogy (5)

Class Number: 3794

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:


  • Instructor:

    Kumari Beck
    1 604 888-7223
    Office: 1 778 782-8599, EDB 8571



Focuses on educational issues, trends and practices which impact teaching and learning in schools and other educational settings.


Meeting Dates:
Jan 15, 16
Jan 29, 30
Feb 5, 6
Feb 19, 20 * reading week. To be discussed. (Alternative: Feb 26 – 27)
Mar 5, 6 (alternative: Mar 12 – 13 )
Mar 26, 27 (alternative: April 9 – 10 )

Fridays, 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm, and Saturdays, 9:00am-3:00pm
(These times will be modified and negotiated at our first class. Rest of the time will be asynchronous)

Delivery and location:
All classes will be held online. Zoom links will be shared.
Following an initial discussion to confirm how we divide up our class time, 80% of our class time will be held synchronously, with approx. 20% being asynchronous.

We live in complicated times: increased connectivity, fragmentation, abundance, marginalization, violence, fear, the sacred, one world and divided worlds, threats, marvels, risks, hope, wonder. And now more than ever, this global pandemic we are immersed in has thrown us additional challenges.  It is becoming apparent that education itself is subject to these new social, economic, political and cultural influences, pressures and realities and hence, even its purposes are being challenged. This course is intended to recognize some of these realities and to explore and reflect on how contemplative practice may help us to align with educational values, curricular goals and pedagogical approaches that advance equity, social justice and the well-being of all.

Grounding ourselves in such questions as ‘What is curriculum?’, ‘Who is it for?’, ‘What values does it represent?’ and ‘What will it accomplish?’, we will examine the social, cultural, political, and economic connections related to curriculum in our times. We will identify and explore key influences that shape contemporary practices, and consider issues such as the connections between curriculum and power, identity, knowledge, culture, and language. We will also investigate the practice of selected pedagogical approaches in the light of shifting, and often competing discourses on learning and teaching. Our work together will be informed by evolving understandings and experience of contemplative practice, both collective and individual, seeking to apply these practices to real world issues in the classroom and community. How may these curricular and pedagogical approaches be enhanced, enriched, and transformed, even, by contemplative practice? What contribution can contemplative education make to our multiple communities and their well-being?

A more detailed outline and syllabus/schedule will be available in our first class, including details of suggested assignments.

Office hours will be held online, by appointment.


Students in this course will be better able to:

  • Increase awareness of and personal capacity for contemplative practice and contemplative education;
  • Be present in self and for others both in and outside of the classroom;
  • Develop capacity for interpersonal skills through listening and speaking across difference;
  • Enhance capacities to analyze and think critically;
  • Understand and be able to apply curricular approaches that are based in contemplative inquiry;
  • Become familiar with how contemplative practice can be integrated into pedagogical approaches;
  • Use heightened insight to apply effective action in classrooms or community learning environments to advance social justice and well-being.Each student is expected to complete all the course readings and assignments, and to actively contribute to class discussions as well as other class activities and processes.


  • 1. Critical commentaries (on readings, discussions, reflections) 30%
  • 2. Book club: Small groups will select (from a collective list) and report on a book of their choice 30%
  • 3. Final project: Actionable contemplative inquiry: how interior work leads to compassionate work in the world 40%


Each student is expected to complete all the course readings and assignments, and to actively contribute to class discussions as well as other class activities and processes.



Giddens, Anthony (2002). Runaway world: How globalization is reshaping our lives. New York: Routledge.

ISBN: 0-415-94487-2 (ISBN 13 From the publisher’s website)

(available on Amazon – buy used)

ISBN: 9780415944878

Hooks, bell (2000). All about love: New visions. New York: Harper Perennial.

(Available at Indigo)
ISBN: 9780060959470

A number of journal articles and book chapters will be identified in the detailed syllabus. I will provide electronic copies of any readings that are not available online, or through the library. They include the following: 

Selected chapters from Pinar & Irwin’s edited collection Curriculum in a New Key, featuring the work of Ted Aoki

Selected work of Henry Giroux, David Smith, Nel Noddings, and others.

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/current/important_dates/guidelines.html. The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in spring 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).