Skip to main content


The Educational Foundations Program believes that the curricula, pedagogical and educational policy decisions of teachers, school administrators and other related professionals should be founded on the disciplines of philosophy, history, psychology, sociology, anthropology and political science. For it is through these disciplines that educational professionals and others engaged in the educational enterprise are able to ask the right questions about the nature of students and their world, and make the most appropriate decisions with regards to the education of these students.

Additionally, the Educational Foundations Program seeks to challenge teachers, school administrators and other related professionals to develop an understanding of the theoretical, conceptual and policy related underpinnings of the educational enterprise and its various curriculum and instructional approaches. Teachers, school administrators and other related professionals are challenged to these ends through the Educational Foundations undergraduate and graduate course sequence in philosophy and history, development and individual difference, and educational psychology, and the Educational Studies minor. In an attempt to realize the aforementioned beliefs and propositions the Educational Foundations Program aspires to meet the follow College of Education goals for teacher candidates and other related professionals:

  • To acquire an extensive knowledge base and seek out opportunities to develop, demonstrate and apply that knowledge to various academic and professional settings.
  • To link theory and practice in order to promote effective decision-making, critical analysis and synthesis.
  • To engage in critical reflective thinking.
  • To value human diversity and respect varied talents and perspectives.
  • To develop a professional philosophy that exemplifies individual identity and integrity.
  • To value and promote lifelong learning.
  • To develop and employ meta-cognitive strategies to various academic and professional settings.

Department Website


EDFN-302 Philosophical and Historical Foundations of Early Childhood Education, 3 cr. Survey philosophical, historical and psychological bases of early childhood Education; a comparative evaluation of past and present educational programs for children from birth to age eight, in public and private school settings; readiness issues and intervention trends in early childhood education; professional responsibilities of early childhood educators.

EDFN-303 Early Childhood Development, 3 cr. Studies the growth and development of young children from birth to age eight, including physical, cognitive, and social- emotional development. Presents major theories, principles, concepts, and research in child development. The role of play in development is addressed. Students complete observations of children at various developmental levels.

EDFN-202 Laboratory in the Foundations of Education, 1 cr. Students will be guided toward appropriate experiences in a school setting that will increase their understanding and utilization of concepts developed in the foundations courses. Chicago metropolitan area schools and other settings will be used as the laboratory. Prereq: sophomore standing and consent of instructor.

EDFN-203 Laboratory in the Foundations of Education, 2 cr. (See ELAD-EDFN-202 for description)

EDFN-204 Laboratory in the Foundations of Education, 3 cr. (See ELAD-EDFN-202 for description)

EDFN-205 Education and Society: A Global Perspective, 3 cr. The school viewed as a key social institution exercising influence and, in turn, being influenced by the total culture. Both formal and informal organizations within the school and classroom are studied. Interrelations of school with other basic institutions are examined. Current educational problems resulting from social conditions are studied. Comparisons with schools in other societies sharpen awareness of cultural and social influences on schools within one's own country and offer examples of alternative ways schools and societies interact. Prereq.: sophomore standing or consent of instructor.

EDFN-206 Laboratory in the Foundations of Education, 1 cr. (See ELAD-EDFN-202 for general description) Specific to understanding and utilization of concepts developed in ELAD-EDFN-306 (Education and Individual Differences).

EDFN-305 Philosophical and Historical Foundations of Public Education, 3 cr. The exploration of differing views of the aims of public education in America. The study of the historic settings in which the system developed. Iden- tification of major social and cultural problems in relation to their historic antecedents. The study of various philosophic schools of thought and their impact on educational theory and practice, past and present. Prereq.: junior standing.

EDFN-306 Education and Individual Differences, 3 cr. Consideration of individual differences and principles of human development as factors in creating effective learning environments. Emphasis on: (1)understanding children and adolescents as individuals with differing abilities, aptitudes, interests, emotional responses, and accomplishments as the result of genetic, maturational, and environmental factors. Special attention given to children and adolescents covered by Public Law 94-142; (2) observational skills for assessing differences in order to aid student development. Focused study by each student of children or adolescents at a particular age level. (3) application of knowledge of developmental and individual differences to classroom practice. Twenty hours of classroom observation required. Prereq.: junior standing.

EDFN-307 Psychology of Instruction and Learning, 3 cr. Study and application to the teaching situation of theories and principles of learning (cognitive, affective, behavioral), motivation, and classroom management including problems of mainstreaming. Also attention to establishing objectives, instructional design concepts, evaluation of learn- ing and introduction to statistical analysis of scores. Focused study by each student of classroom in terms of application of theories and applications associated with learning and instruction. Twenty hours of classroom observation required. Prereq.: Admission to COE.

EDFN-312 Seminar in Current Education Literature, 3 cr. An examination of current educational literature; included would be recent research findings, important views of educational critics, newly developed theories of learning and education, and innovative practices in educational institutions. Prereq.: junior standing or consent of instructor.

EDFN-313 Problems, Issues, and Practices in Education, 3 cr. An in-depth examination of salient issues confronting contemporary American education. Topics selected are varied in accordance with student interest. Prereq.: junior standing or consent of instructor.

EDFN-314 Social Issues in Educational Settings, 3 cr. An in-depth examination of particular educational issues from viewpoints of the social science disciplines. Titles include Legal Aspects of Education; the Sociology of the Classroom; Education as Cultural Imperialism: Education and Social Reconstruction; Desegregation and Education; Problems of Educational Finance; Separation of Church and State: the effects on the Schools; Education and Social Class; The University in a Changing Society; Professional Organizations and the Schools; The Politics of Education; Sexism in Education; Accountability and the Schools; Multicultural Education; and Gender Issues in Education. Prereq.: junior standing or consent of instructor.

EDFN-317 Psychological Issues in Educational Settings, 1 cr. In-depth analysis of specified areas concerning the interrelationship between psychology and education. Possible areas are self concept, affect, motivation, effective thinking, interpersonal skills, classroom diagnosis, individualization, teacher effectiveness, roles and problems of teachers, moral development, psychoanalysis, effective parents, learning styles and developing independent learners. Stress on theoretical and practical approaches to help teachers toward self understanding and to provide opportunities for development of strength in one or more of the above areas. Two credit hour courses require field observation or a project; three credit hour courses require both. Prereq.:junior standing or consent of instructor.

EDFN-318 Psychological Issues in Educational Settings, 2 cr. (See ELAD-EDFN-317 for description)

EDFN-319 Psychological Issues in Educational Settings, 3 cr. (See ELAD-EDFN-317 for description)

EDFN-321 Group Dynamics in Educational Settings, 3 cr. Study of principles of group dynamics as they affect classroom behavior. Development of skills in observing, recording, and analyzing group phenomena, in creating and facilitating effective groups, in developing supportive environments, and in group leadership. Course topics include communication, leadership, norms, subgroups and cliques, ability grouping, small group projects, peer teach- ing, and group approaches to discipline problems. Reading and discussion of group dynamics literature, observation and analysis of classrooms, group investigations of specific topics and practice in group leadership skills. Prereq.: junior standing or consent of instructor.

EDFN-322 Introductory Statistical Analysis in Education, 3 cr. An introduction to statistical analysis with special focus on methods employed in educational research and evaluation. Topics include descriptive statistics, correlational techniques, elementary probability theory, and elementary parametric and non-parametric statistical tests of hypotheses. Emphasis is placed on theoretical foundations, computational skills, and computer utilization. Prereq.: junior standing or consent of instructor.

EDFN-333 School Law for Teachers, 3 cr. (Provides K-12 teachers and prospective teachers with an understanding of the impact of the legal processes on schools. Attention is given to current issues and their implications for classroom teachers. Topics include: the legal system, sources and levels of law, contracts, tenure, records, collective bargaining, copyright, academic freedom, tort liability, student and teacher rights, discrimination and handicap issues. Prereq.: junior standing.

EDFN-405 Development of Educational Thought, 3 cr. An examination of the historical development of American education and some of its antecedents. A study of the educational theories of selected philosophies; an examination of the purposes of education in pluralistic America; an evaluation of educational institutions and practices in terms of present circumstances. Prereq.: graduate standing.

EDFN-406 Human Development and Learning, 3 cr. The study of theories and principles of development of school age children and youth. Focus on current theories and research and their their implications for learning and identification of teaching practices that facilitate the acquisition of intellectual and social skills of children and youth. Attention to characteristics covered by PL.94-142 as well as differences due to social, cultural and ethnic factors. Twenty hours of classroom observation required. Prereq.: graduate standing.

EDFN-407 Learning Theories and Educational Practice, 3 cr. Analysis of classroom learning and management in terms of principles and theories of learning and motivation and recent research on effective teaching. Twenty hours of classroom observations required. Prereq.: Admission to COE.

EDFN-410 Education as a Social Institution, 3 cr. Study of the school as a social system and as an institution which influences and is shaped by other institutions of society. Particular attention is given to urban education. Laboratory experiences are expected. Prereq.: graduate standing or consent of instructor.

EDFN-411 Comparative Education: Title Varies, 3 cr. This course provides the student in the College of Education with an opportunity to study a variety of critical issues and current topics which relate to the fields of comparative and international education. This course will provide students with an opportunity to utilize Internet and other distance education opportunities. Students participating in this course will also have the option of participating in an educational experience outside of the United States. This international experience is designed to enhance the student's mastery of international and comparative education elements of the course topic.

EDFN-411A Comparative Education: Higher Education, 3 cr. This course provides the student with an opportunity to development, structures, governance of, and critical issues of higher education systems in the United States with those of another country.

EDFN-411B Comparative Education: Leadership, 3 cr. This course provides the student with an opportunity to analyze leadership not only as an understandable process, but also as a universal one by comparing and contrasting leadership theories, practices and actions as they are applied in social and educational systems different from the United States.

EDFN-412 Selected Concepts in the Philosophy of Education, 3 cr. Analysis of the ideas of important contributors to educational theory. In-depth study of particular theorists or schools of philosophy (such as existentialism, Plato, Dewey, Rousseau, or revolutionary philosophers). Inquiry will focus on such themes such as views of the nature of man, means and ends in education. Prereq.: graduate standing or consent of instructor.

EDFN-416 Cultural Pluralism and the Schools, 3 cr. The study of multicultural groups: differences and commonalities. Special emphasis is on the investigation and evaluation of various concepts and models of cultural and subcultural relationships as manifested in the schools. Study and application of ethnographic methods to sub-cultures related to and within the educational context. Prereq.: graduate standing, or consent of instructor.

EDFN-417 Educational Theorist, 3 cr. An in-depth examination of a particular theorist or theoretical view (such as motivational, client-centered, behaviorist, cognitive, new left, Freud, Piaget, Dewey, or Erikson) with applications to classroom situations. Observations of schools or learning situations, modeled after the particular perspective, will probe the implementation of the theorist's ideas at all levels of education. Consideration will be given to the present impact of each theorist and implications for the future.Prereq.: graduate standing or consent of instructor.

EDFN-418 Seminar in Development and Learning, 3 cr. An in-depth study of theory and research in educational settings on developmental characteristics related to capacity to learn. Titles include Cognitive Development, Social Development, Moral Development and the School, Development in Cross-cultural Perspective, Developmental Crisis and Maturation, The Adult Learner, and Social and Cultural Determinants of Development. Students will focus on an age range of particular interest. Observations will be used to illustrate theory and research. Emphasis will be placed on the ways knowledge about development enhances instruction. Prereq.: graduate standing or consent of instructor.

EDFN-419 Adolescent Development and Educational Practice, 3 cr. In-depth study of theory and research related to adolescent behavior and development as these affect learning and classroom behavior. Classroom observation required.

EDFN-420A (formerly EDFN 418a; EDFN 420) Contemporary Issues In Middle Level Education , 3 cr. The purpose of this course is to provide an in-depth study of theory and research in middle level education settings as this relates to contemporary issues these schools are facing. In addition to focusing on developmental characteristics of young adolescents, and how these impact middle level education, the course will also include social and cultural issues and how these impact the middle level student, and his/her school. Topics will include an overview of curriculum and instructional strategies, emphasizing active learning and adventure education for middle school students, meeting the needs of culturally diverse and special needs students, and dealing with special aspects of middle school design and development. Prereq.: graduate standing or consent of instructor.

EDFN-421 Middle School Advisory and Counseling, 3 cr. This course emphasizes the ways middle school teachers can help meet the developmental needs of early adolescents through consultation, collaboration and counseling. Content includes key elements of an effective middle school guidance program and how to implement these elements in schools; the developmental characteristics and needs of early adolescents as related to the development of school guidance, advisory, special education and regular education programs and the teacher advisor as a communicator, student advocate, supporter-confidant and home-school liaison who can assess, coordinate and refer students for various health, social and special needs services. Prereq.: graduate standing or consent of instructor.

Program Contact Information 

Educational Foundations Program Coordinator

Brian D. Schultz, Ph.D., Department Chair


Back to Top