This class has presented a broad overview of the various theories, perspectives, and approaches to the development of curriculum. The text has covered the various historical shifts that have occurred in the United States in regard to the attitude toward public schooling along with the purpose of educating the populace. Continue reading Final Curriculum Theory Course Reflections
Common Core. These two words together have created a very divisive conversation regarding education in the United States. From the news reports, to the Facebook posts of the type of assignments, to the reaction to the new testing formats in schools, the Common Core has many who see only the negative elements of these standards. There is, however, space within the new standards for teacher freedom that has not been available at all since No Child Left Behind was signed into law in 2002, especially with the new education act removing the high stakes testing as the sole measure of improvement and funding.
The first 4 chapters of Contemporary Curriculum ( McNeil, 2015) identify the 4 most common types of curriculum: Humanistic, Social Reconstructionist, Systemic, and Academic. Humanistic Curriculum focuses on the playfulness of learning and puzzling out the problem at hand to develop innovation and flexibility of thought in an uncertain future (pg. 1). Social Reconstructionist Curriculum presents the social conflicts to students as topics, despite disagreement on whether they are fit for a classroom setting (pg. 21). Systemic Curriculum has rigid set of goals and standards and pathways to achieve the goals measured through standardized tests (pg. 41). Academic Curriculum follows more closely the Liberal Arts College curriculum, where students study a variety of disciplines and learn how they interact and affect each other (pg. 61).
Our class conversation regarding these various curricula was wide ranging and passionate. Some of the class felt that the Systemic Curriculum functions only to damage students’ learning and add power to multinational corporations. And some felt that the only true and important curriculum is Humanistic, because of the value it places on the whole person. We never resolved the discussion, we merely ended due to time.
Each of these curricula seem to be most effective for specific desired ends. While the class never came to a consensus, I think that each of the curricula works well for different settings and that none are inherently evil. I also think that using a blend of the best elements of each might serve as a way to ensure a quality curriculum for all students. Having some goals in mind for what students learn can help teachers develop lessons. And if 1 of the goals is to see how the interconnectedness of what is learned in the classroom plays out in social situations, this blends together several of the best parts of the Humanistic Curriculum and the the Social Reconstructionist Curriculum.
This chapter in Contemporary Curriculum ( McNeil, 2015) focuses on the various elements that go into deciding the content for the curriculum. Touching upon some of the various theories guiding crafting of the content, the chapter focuses predominately on the rationale behind the content choices. “Rather than avoiding responsibility and mandating curriculum purposes without justification, those at all levels of schooling should constantly question the purpose of curriculum” (McNeil, p. 84). The chapter presents some of the history on how the curriculum developed and what information has generally been accepted as important for students to know. That process has been greatly influenced by the economic and other political factors, which then are rarely remembered or presented again.
Continue reading Deciding what should be taught
This chapter, 10 in the Contemporary Curriculum ( McNeil, 2015) book, brings up the conversation regarding the political nature of developing curriculum. Politics are broadly considered here in terms of the impact of policy on curriculum decisions, while also narrowing the focus to the local level of parents and teachers when discussing the specific information to be included in the correct curriculum.
One of the 3 classes I have this semester is Curriculum Theory. Basically all semester we’ve been ready about the different ideas and philosophies that people have used to create the content that we teach students. We’re focusing on U.S. curriculum theories, so that makes the learning curve different. It also helps explain some of the rationale behind my teachers’ decisions while I was in K-12, which is always fun.
I’m going to be posting a series of journals that connect to the readings we did for class. I’ll be connecting my initial thoughts to events that have happened outside of the classroom, as well as to the discussions we had in class. Yay reading and learning!