Is there anything that surprises you or maybe that concerns you?
Before the Reading:
I understand a little bit of how curricula is made, but not really sure where the ideas come from. I had many teachers in high school who were hired to create new curriculum. I would assume that they bring in teachers who are experienced in the subject area, those who have an understanding of what is missing from the curriculum and how they could make it better, and which parts are good and should stay. Thats about all I know about creating curriculum.
After the Reading:
After doing this reading I have a better understanding and appreciation for creating curriculum. My grade was the grade where teachers started to implement new curriculums (sciences, maths, and almost Christian Ethics) and it was incredibly frustrating for teachers and students, because no one had ever seen curricula like this before. Honestly I never thought of how big of a process it actually is to create curricula. First the ministry of educating needs to provide funding for the development (which I did not know). Then the Ministry brings in people who specialize in the field, where they want to create new curriculum. Those asked to help out are highly specialized in the field, and they are the ones who decide what ideas need to be taught in that course. Then the ministry brings in teachers who are experienced in that subject matter, to create objective and indicators for teachers to follow in the curriculum. Then there are pilot projects of it being implemented and schools. To summarize this process, it is extremely long and a lot of work. Because of this I now understand why it takes so long to implement new curriculum into schools.
Nothing really surprised me after doing this reading. However the one thing that concerns me is how curriculum is sometimes implemented in schools. How the new science curriculum was implemented in my school caused some issues for my education, just based on how classes lined up. I ended up taking Physics 30 (without any prerequists). Another concern I have (not about how curriculum is created) is that the the Science Social curriculum in Saskatchewan is from 1997. I learned the same information, that people were learning since before I was born. This is a major concern for me because how much information is this curriculum missing?
According to our societal norm of “common sense” a good student is someone who follows the classroom rules. They are not disruptive, the sit quietly, only speak when spoken to, gets good grades, shows up to school well rested, and works hard studying. It is someone who is malleable, and not resistant to change. This societal sense of common sense really only benefits students from the upper class. Students who come from lower income households, tend to have to get a job while going to school. While this is not as common for students from middle income households. Giving other students more free time to focus on school work and other things, instead of working. Because of this idea of common sense this becomes difficult for some students to succeed in school. Every student have different life experiences, therefore you can’t expected students to be successful where they are expected to behave the same as their peers.
For this weeks response we were asked to pick a quote that related to education. The quote I picked is “Education is a shaping process as much as the manufacture of steel rails” said by Franklin Bobbitt. For those who did not know this, Bobbitt was a huge supporter of the efficiency movement in schools. This was the stream lining of schools, to get as many students through as possible who received the same education and knew the same information. In this quote Bobbitt is comparing schools to working on a factory line. The main purpose of schools in those days were to educate students and prepare them for life afterwards, which for most was working on a factory line. In theory his idea worked for the time that it was created. Students were forced to sit quietly, speak only when allowed, had to ask to go to the washroom, know specialized information (math and science, not art), etc. These characteristics are very similar to those needed to work in a factory. Therefore schools did exactly what they were meant to in those days.
However times have changed, but the education system has not. Students no longer grow up to work in factories, therefore the system of preparing students to work a factory line is out of date and no longer works in schools. This quote implies that every student will leave school with the same understandings, but we all know that this is not the case. Even if students learn the same information they have different experiences outside of school which will impact “sticks” with them. An example of this is from my own experience. I went to high school and elementary school with many of the same people, we all learned the same information, took the same tests, but if I have to conjugate verbs in French to the tense Imparfait, I have to sing a little rhyme to remember it. While many of my friends just knew it. This is a small example, but it shows how everyone learns different, and has different understandings. This is why this theory does not work in schools anymore.
My grade was the grade who was always caught in the middle of a curriculum switch. So I got to see the transition away from this way of thinking to a broader way of thinking, of how every student learns differently and a test is not the best judge of what a student understands. To relate this back to my own experience again, every french immersion student in Saskatchewan from grade 6-12 has to write a standardized exam (ELFI). These are terrible exams. We were forced to read an article about pointless topics that were not interesting (corn, potatoes, Andre the Giant) then answer short answer comprehension questions. Students and teachers did not enjoy these, because they lost two classes to these tests, and the felt this was not an accurate representation of what their students knew and understood.
A) My whole schooling experience was centred around the Tyler Rationale. Most of my teachers followed his four steps, (objectives, content, organization, and assessment) in their teaching style. You were considered a good student if you were well behaved (sitting quietly, working quietly, being respectful) and if you got good grades. However how schools are structured many teachers often teach for memorization, not for understanding. By teaching for memorization, teachers are teaching to the test. I experienced this very much in school. The teachers who taught for memorization on tests, I would forget the information immediately following the test. However the teachers who taught for understanding I could still ace one of their exams.
B) The limitations of this theory is that it puts all students into a box. Since society doesn’t feel that the Arts and creativity are important to a students development in school, only the important things like Math and Science. The Tyler Rationale doesn’t give students the opportunity to explore creativity and arts. All it does is put all students into a box, where some may not be able to succeed in a test heavy environment.
C) Some benefits of the Tyler Rationale are that it gives teachers a way of measuring what students have learned throughout the year. This allows teachers to plan for their courses, organize the content of the course, and figure out what direction they need to go with the course. This can help students to develop the desire to work through a task all the way until the end. If a student struggles with this, it can help students develop the skill of working through adversity, to persevere even if they struggle. This could be beneficial for when students go into the work place.
This week we were asked to read The Problem Of Common Sense written by Kevin Kumashiro. This reading was written about Kumashiros experience teaching in Nepal. Throughout the article he discusses how common sense means something different to other people and other cultures. His first example of this is when the Nepali people thought he couldn’t cook just because he wasn’t used to the diet of rice, peas, and lentils and how to cook them. How Kumashiro defines common sense in schools as it “does not tell us that this is what school could be doing; it tells us that this and only this is what schools should be doing.” Since common sense is not universal (every culture has their own understanding of what common sense is to them) common sense shouldn’t necessarily be brought into schools as everyone has their own understanding.
It is important to be aware of what your idea of what common sense is, and what others perception of common sense could be. This is important because what is common sense to you, might not be common sense to them. To me no matter the time of the day when your walking down the street you smile and nod at the other person. However when I spent time in Quebec, you do not acknowledge the other person at all, you don’t even make eye contact with the person you’re walking past. It is important to be aware of the difference perceptions of common sense to ensure that you don’t accidentally offend anyone.