Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. ~Mahatma Gandhi
Reading Response 5:
Before you do the reading ask yourself the following question: how do you think that school curricula are developed?
What a question! I have never thoroughly thought of it before. Every time I am in a class or lecture, I hear people voicing their opinion about how the school curricula is developed; one example I heard was a bunch of old, high-class, white men, which I thought could not be far off, however I have never researched it. My best guess would be that, first of all, curriculums for schools are different in each province. But province to province I feel like the government comes together and makes decisions as to what is “important” and should be taught. I do not believe that teachers, students or parents get much say in the matter at all! But I do think that as time changes the curriculum changes as I always see the confused looks on parents or grandparents faces when they hear what we are learning. My step dad said once, “we hardly learned half the stuff you guys learn now as technology was not as advanced and that just adds on extra knowledge you need to know”, which I never thought of before he brought it up.
After reading this week’s article Curriculum Policy and The Politics of What Should be Learned in Schools, by Ben Levin I was able to gain a better understanding of how the curriculum is formed. The article defines curriculum as an official statement of what students are expected to know and be able to do and teachers are expected to use curriculum as a guide to implement those objectives in their classrooms. According to Levin, “education governance typically involves some combination of national, local, and school participation.” So, with that, people of the society, school, and government have a say in the development of the curriculum. Which makes sense as this reading also mentioned how politics heavily impact the creation of the curriculum, so that would be societies say in the development. One of the things I did not know is that some groups such as parents, non-educators, students, and minority groups contributed but had little say in the curriculum development. The individuals who were apart of the reference committee were often teachers and other individuals apart of the federation. After I did the reading, I realized that there are many steps in creating and implementing the curriculum. As well, many groups are involved in creating the curriculum. The process is conducted by jurisdictions that layout important guidelines that one must follow when revising the curriculum. The individuals who often revise the curriculum are teachers and subject experts, and the revising is often lead by a certain government official. These groups of people start by reviewing the existing curriculum doing research and gathering data to learn what worked and what did not. Once that step is done, they then have to all agree on changes that should be changed with the curriculum. Because different groups are trying to create a new curriculum, often one of the greatest challenges is all groups agreeing on what is “supposedly” important and should be included in the new curriculum. Either a new curriculum or a revised version is implemented. Sometimes these processes can take several years as it is a lengthy process
A concern I have that we have talked about in lecture is that, the curriculum is written through the dominant perspective which obviously benefits the dominant learners in society. The beliefs and culture of the dominant group are the ones that are going to be evident. With that being said, education will only benefit the majority, dominant group of learners due to the people who create the curriculum. The curricula are often influenced by what we value as a society as stated before, but societies have differences from even province to province, with that being said, how could one curriculum cover important differences from different places. Having one main curriculum could be very dangerous and maybe involving smaller divisions could resolve that problem. As discussed in lectures, we need to really take into consideration the minority groups that are and have been at a disadvantage for a long and examine the curriculum to benefit everyone not just the dominant groups in society; the curriculum needs to be continuously examined, not just every so years.
Reading Response 4:
Respond to the following prompt on your blog: What does it mean to be a “good” student according to the commonsense?
- pays attention in class,
- doesn’t disturb anyone
- engages in class
- does their work,
- gets homework done
- hands their assignments in on time
A list of some of the main stereotypical values that children are to follow to be considered as a “good student.” According to common sense a “good student” is someone who is
able to properly follow instructions, able to stay on task, meets the expected outcomes and expectations, is punctual, able to sit and listen, and able to take turns (Kumashiro, p.19). This article also suggest that a good student does not go against the norms of teaching. Just as talked about in lecture and seminar a good student is also someone who never questions what they are learning, they just go along with it, to be quiet and do not fight the system. This definition is very specific, which limits and discourages diversity. The students that are privileged by this definition are those who meet all these expectations. However, the problem is not many individuals are able to meet these high standards. In every class, there will be a variety of students who think differently and learn at their own pace. For example, some individuals suffer from various challenges (mental or physical), or even people who come from culturally diverse backgrounds where those values said above are not just “common sense.” Each child’s strengths and weaknesses will vary, and it is our job as future teachers to understand the unique learning that comes with each student. We have to drop the expectations of what society views a good student as. As a teacher we need to realize that we shouldn’t base our classroom off what society sees a good student as and focus more on getting to know our students and individually, just because a student does not, for lack of better words, sit down, shut up, and listen, does not mean they are a bad student.
Choose a quotation related to education and unpack it
“Learning is Doing”-John Dewey
A few curriculum theorists have been mentioned thus far, however, John Dewey has caught my attention. John Dewey is an educational theorist, known as the father of progressive education. Progressivism is known as the support or advocacy of improvement by reform; progress. Progressivism focused on children and stressed experiential learning; knowing by doing. Progressivism was brought to be in the late 1800s but was only in power for a short time as Tyler’s rationale regained strength by the late 1940s (PowerPoint, Slide 16, 2019). “Learning is doing” one of his quotes that was brought up in one of our ECS210 lectures. As soon as we came to the slide this quote really caught my eye as many of my classes up to this point in my university experience have been centered around that very quote. Within this last semester and the beginning of this one I have truly been learning more and more that learning actually is doing. Dewey believed that content should be derived from students’ interests and that integrating, thinking, feeling and doing is an important aspect. Learning should definitely be active not passive, even to draw on my experiences I know when I was doing hands on activities and being involved, I was learning more than just the content material but other knowledge as well. John Dewey also really focused on the students, as he believed that teachers should begin where students are and that teachers serve as a guide, not a boss
Right now, I believe that the classroom is a living community where everyone from the principle to students to teachers to parents must contribute to make a positive atmosphere. My desire is to create an atmosphere where I can assist my students to express themselves and accept themselves for who they are; to embrace their differences. In the atmosphere said I believe students can meet their full potential as all individuals are unique and must have a stimulating environment where they can grow physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially. All children are unique and have something special they can bring to their own education. To incorporate each different learning style, as well as make the content relevant to the students’ lives, is important because to me educations purpose is to educate each one to think critically and to construct the skills needed throughout life. School will not teach you every single thing that you will encounter in your lifetime, however with the skills taught/ learned such as problem-solving skills, it will guide you through most situations.
Reading Response 2:
Curriculum Theory and Practice
- (a) The ways in which you may have experience the Tyler rationale in your own schooling?
- (b) What are the major limitations of the Tyler rationale/what does it make impossible?
- (c) What are some potential benefits/what is made possible?
- Be sure to refer to the assigned article in your post; you may also include information from lecture if you wish.
a-Throughout my experience in schooling I have felt that Tyler rationale has been evident on various occasions. “Education is most often seen as a technical exercise. Objectives are set, a plan drawn up, then applied, and the outcomes (products) measured.” That is exactly the way my classes were set up throughout my schooling years as we had: Outcomes/goals for each unit, and after content was taught, we were tested (measured) on it. The Tyler rationale influenced the way that my educational knowledge was tested throughout my schooling as Ralph Tyler brought the standardized testing to surface. For me this was beneficial as I do better on tests over other assessments. When I think about English, Math, Science, etc I remember my teachers being so focused on meeting the outcomes and “testing” our knowledge. When it came to high school, the midterms and finals started, and in grade twelve the departmentals.
b-“Often, we were provided with a surface understanding of a topic, enough to satisfy the curriculum and allow us to pass our tests, but never deeper.” To only focus on the curriculum and meeting the objectives learners and educators are limiting their knowledge intake. To further expand, even though an objective is to be met, while teaching that objective many other lessons could be taught that individuals do not even notice because they are too busy focusing on meeting the goals and testing the knowledge. The Tyler rationale focuses on the product not the process. This is a huge limitation as it takes away the creativity and resourcefulness that a learner is able to obtain/create while in the work process. As well, like we have talked about in class, and many other classes I have been in, a child may do the process, mess up in one area, which then leads to the product being wrong and they get a failing mark even though they understood almost all of the content but messed up in one area. I am thankful that growing up, my school teachers noticed that the product was not the only important aspect, but the process was as well, and we would get marks for the process even if the product was wrong in the end. Unlike me, a majority of learner’s struggle with test taking. This would cause a disadvantage to other learners as they may be unable to show that they have taken in the content and learned the material, even though the test was not done exceptionally.
c- Although the Tyler rationale has limitations it also has some benefits to it. It gives teacher a method to follow in order to monitor students’ progress throughout their schooling. If a student is not able to meet any of the objectives/goals set, it may allow the teacher to understand better where the student is at and that the learner may not be taking in all the important content. While its strict organization and structure may be a limitation, it is also beneficial as it allows students who need to have a strict plan and be aware of the expectations that are in place, to flourish.
Reading Response 1:
The Problem of Common Sense…
- How does Kumashiro define ‘commonsense?’
Throughout this text, Kumashiro defines common sense as “what everyone should know.” It is understood as common sense because everyone knows the same information of the common experiences they have had; like the ways in which one lives in that village in Nepal.
- Practices, attitudes and actions that have come so routine and concrete that they go unquestioned.
- Accepting the way things have always been.
- Common sense is defined as culturally embedded.
- Why is it so important to pay attention to the ‘commonsense’?
It is important to pay attention to common sense as everyone does not think the same or have been through the same experiences. If one assumes that every individual knows what something is or means because it is ‘common sense’ in their “world” (environment, culture, ways of life) that they have grown up in, it will cause problems. Kumashiro mentioned in the text that it took time to learn what to others was simply ‘common sense.’ For example, this text talks about how Kumashiro was told he did not teach correctly because all the people around have been taught the same way for many years, it is what they knew. For Kumashiro to bring in new ways of teaching, which were his ways (common sense), it caused a bit of trouble in the school as kids told Kumashiro that the teaching style was off and other teachers were thinking that Kumashiro was jeopardizing the student’s chances of passing the end-of-year exams as the teachers assumed Kumashiro was not teaching, just because he was not teaching the way they were used to in the past. “It seemed that students and faculty already had their ideas about what it meant to teach and learn, and my attempts to teach differently simply did not make sense” (XXXI)- this quote stood out to me because it made me think that if we take advantage of ‘common sense’ and just stick with what we know, or what is comfortable, it could lead us into missing out on wonderful, exciting new ideas/concepts/ways.
As well, I feel that we as individuals need to sometimes step back and realize that this is now a diverse world and there are many different ways of knowing, ways of living, ways of life and we need to understand that not everyone is from the same background and to be patient with teaching new individuals things that may just be ‘common sense’ for us and to just maybe open our minds and move away from our ‘common sense,’ to learn a diversity of ‘common sense.’
- common sense fails to challenge.
- reinforce oppression (subtle or blatant).