Margaret D. LeCompte, PhD
My teaching interests reflect my diverse research areas; they include courses in qualitative and ethnographic research methods, in the sociology of education, and in preparing teacher educators for work in public school settings serving the diverse enrollments of contemporary schools. In the latter, I involve prospective teachers in intensive service-learning projects. I also supervise the research of a large number of doctoral and MA students.
Courses frequently taught:
EDUC 5276: Introduction to Disciplined Inquiry
This course analyzes how the research process works, the designs used to organize data collection and analysis, the concepts and theories used to interpret data created in the course of investigation, and the role that the person of the researcher plays in the formation and conduct of research. Key is the concept of "discipline," both in its sense as a rigorous practice and as a field of study. Research is, by definition, "disciplined inquiry." "Disciplined" modes of inquiry are systematic, verifiable, and rigorous ways of learning about what happens in the world. Both qualitative research and quantitative research are disciplined, if they are done well and if they are shaped by the perspectives of the field, or discipline of the researcher who carries it out. Many kinds of disciplined inquiry are explored in this coursefrom experiments to ethnographies and historical research. The course emphasizes that no one kind of research is best. Best research is simply that which is honestly and well-done, lacking in obvious biases or omissions, and responsive to the questions asked by researchers and researcher clients. The course also introduces the major theoretical perspectives--or epistemologies--which inform empirical research in education.
EDUC 5075: Sociology of Education
The purpose of this course is both to familiarize students with a sociological way to interpret what goes on in schools and the communities around them and to alert them to the impact of historical, social structural, economic and political issues on everyday life in schools and classrooms. This is a new way of thinking about schools, teaching and learning for most educators. Usually, students tend to recall their own teachers and classrooms. All personal experience and much research in education focuses on this individual level of analysis; its micro-level perspective is encouraged by the traditional orientation toward psychology in educational research and practice. Psychologists are concerned with individual cognition and individual personality development. By contrast, sociologists are concerned with how people develop and interact in groups, and how participating in the reciprocal interaction within groups leads to construction of individual identity, social organizations, and the norms and rules that govern human life. Therefore, the class examines schools as formal social organizations, shaped by the communities in which they are located, peopled by groups with differing racial, ethnic, gender, gender orientation, economic and cultural backgrounds, and embedded in specific historical and political contexts.
EDUC 3013: School and Society
The intent of this course is to help students understand the world of
education and to develop their self-understanding. Both the world and
the students in it are changing rapidly, and teachers need to be flexible
and open-minded to be effective. This class introduces students to the
real world of teaching and learning and helps them examine their place
in it. Emphasizing the socio-political and cultural context of education,
the class examines the history, finance, and philosophies of education,
the diversity of contemporary school enrollments, and the challenges of
teaching students with diverse and special needs. While it is not a methods
course focusing on how to teach, it covers many factors affecting what
and who are taught, and the contexts in which teaching occurs. Linking
theory to practice in this class is a 32-hour practicum working in community
agencies serving children with special educational needs.