Calendar Aims/Expectations Readings Assignments

Assignment Points
+ 5 (extra credit)
TOTAL 100 (+5)
A-90; B-80, C-70, F-96 or less

Online discussion

  • Every week before class, write at least one short (100-300 words) entry on the Discussion forum. You may start a new thread or respond to a thread started by others. Make sure you're saying something substantial and not repeating what others have said before you. Engage the texts we are reading.
  • You must have at least 10 of such entries (4 points each) by the end of the semester, but only one per week will be counted towards your total. I read them all, but do not formally grade them. If you write something superficial, I will ask you to rewrite.

Class participation

  • The class discussion is the whole point of coming to class. If you do not try to talk, you do not learn. Philosophy is a language, so you learn it by practicing to speak. Thus, participation of everyone is expected as a matter of course. However, if you are consistently brilliant, you may get 5 extra points.

Final paper

  • Write a 4500-5500 words paper; use PES Yearbook as a collection of samples.   Do not write a research paper – I don’t want to know what you know; I want to know how you can think. Feel free to reuse some of your mid-term essay.
  • Select the focus of your paper carefully, so that there is some philosophical content to it, related to the course's theme, and to its main readings. Philosophy is analysis of concepts, notions, and ideas applied to real life. Make sure you write on a subject you care and know about. Don’t worry about the exact title too soon; wait for us to read all books and look for ways to connect your personal passion and professional interest with the content of the course.
  • Remember, philosophy is not a religion, so your opinions must be supported by argument. Think of your argument as a stairway: each next idea or statement relies on the previous one. Provide a “map” for your reader; be clear on what you are doing in each section of your paper. Always think of people who may disagree with you, and keep answering to their imaginary questions and objections.
  • Submit paper on-line through Blackboard. Simply Select the whole text of your paper, and paste it into the message window (Online work, Final Papers forum).


GRE Writing X 3

Original Ideas X 3

Practical relevance X 2

Use of literature X 1

References X 1


Paper presents a cogent, well-articulated analysis of the complexities of the issue and conveys meaning skillfully 


Fully original and well-developed ideas connected to each other in one coherent conceptual framework

Author skillfully applies philosophical theories to examine relevant problems of educational practice. The discussion of practice advances theory.

Literature used creatively to generate discussion, not to appeal to an authority. Student demonstrates deep understanding of others’ ideas and responds to them                              

At least 4 correct references to at least 2 assigned books properly used in full compliance with the selected format 


A 4 paper presents a competent analysis of the issue and conveys meaning adequately

Known ideas developed in a new way or original but undeveloped ideas

The discussion of educational practice is used only to illustrate theory; tenuous connections between practice and theory.

Literature used to illustrate points. Although citations and indirect references are use correctly, the student does not add anything to the authors’ ideas

Not enough references to assigned readings, or major errors the selected format 


A 2 paper demonstrates serious weaknesses in analytical writing 

No original thought; paper only repeats literature or platitudes

Paper discusses educational practice, but does not connect it well with philosophy.

Literature used out of context; it is only superficially included

Not enough references to assigned readings, and incorrect reference style


Up to 18

Up to 18

Up to 12

Up to 6

Up to 6


If you miss a class, lose 5 points, or write a 500 word review of an essay from the Philosophy of Education Yearbook.

Instructor Alexander (Sasha) Sidorkin