A Link – Work In Progress (Module 1)

I’ve been working my way through some readings on curriculum concepts, and attempting to put together some formal thoughts on the subject which I am hoping you can read here if interested. (NOTE: This only seems to work if you login through Office 356)

If you cannot access that, the full paper is also uploaded here at the following link: Module 1 810 Planning Curriculum $Assessment FINAL Draft

The paper covers all of the following:

  • Key Terminology,
  • My Initial Conceptions of Curriculum,
  • Historical and Current Conceptions of Curriculum,
  • Interpreting Curriculum for developing framework of planning, instruction and assessment, and
  • a diagram (as follows) attempting to visualize how I currently used curriculum conceptions as a framework for my own teaching.

 

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4 thoughts on “A Link – Work In Progress (Module 1)

  1. Hi Denise,
    I agree, curriculum cannot exist in a vacuum. The constant changes in society simply don’t allow for education to be static, and I definitely relate to your experience of moving from an academic focus to more of an infusion of different conceptions. I think back to my first few years teaching high school, and the novel study I did with grade ten students on The Hunger Games. The first year I did this novel study, we did a lot of comprehension, vocabulary, figures of speech, and reading strategies. However, the students found it boring (they had no personal investment in answering questions in a booklet at the end of every chapter. The second time I taught it, I shifted my focus and we talked a lot about social issues, one of which was society’s obsession with reality television/social media and how such outlets can misconstrue our perception of what is actually real and ethical. Not too long ago, such a discussion wouldn’t have went the same way (of course media has always had the power of influence, but not in the same way it does now, I would argue). While I still incorporated the traditional “academic” areas of the novel (again, comprehension, vocabulary, figures of speech, and reading strategies), the infusion of a more humanistic and social-reconstructionist approach was much more successful. When telling one of my older (read: more traditional) colleagues heard about how I taught the novel the second time around, she was very concerned that this approach to teaching would make students less skilled in the “more important” areas of being able to write and read at a high school level.
    What do you think about her reaction? Is the shift away from a strictly academic curriculum harming our students’ skills? I tend to think not, but it is an opinion I hear from a lot of the more experienced teachers in my division.

    -Caitlin

  2. You raise an interesting point, and one which I have discussed at length with colleagues and fellow educators at all levels of the k-20 spectrum.

    On one level….yes. It is harming traditional skills. Students have poorer writing and weaker reasoning in many instances. Can this be traced solely to a more holistic curriculum? I don’t think so, but it is possibly part of the (a much broader) issue.

    At same time….we are defining skills that were relevant. But are they still relevant? Or is the ability to make connections across multiple disciplinary subjects a new skill, one which students of yesterday did not have until much later if at all?

    I grapple with these questions. I think a balance is important. Students with ideas who are unable to articulate them well are no further ahead, and may be behind. These academic skills continue to be relevant.

    We have bi-annual advisory committee meetings with the employers (among other stakeholder groups) of our students and they all tell us the same thing: students have great technical skills but lack clear writing, communication, critical thinking, and social skills. Are they right!? Or are they too still viewing it from a 20th century paradigm in a rapidly-shifting world where perhaps the skill sets we hold so dear need to be re-evaluated. Communication is no longer just writing. But that doesn’t mean there us no place for clear writing….just a shift in the way we teach and assess it.

    Maybe. I have more questions than answers. I believe an academic curriculum still has merit. But so do some of the others.

  3. I am trying to finish my Module 1 assignment, but I keep getting distracted by these interesting discussions! I believe what everyone is saying above is so true. Students need meaningful, interesting ways of learning in order to engage. The old methods of rote memorization or “novel studies” just don’t cut it. A balance is needed, where we teach those required skills in purposeful ways that students can make connections to WHILE allowing choice to how a student chooses to demonstrate their learning. Okay…back to work.

    • So right!

      And yes, oh my, I have spent so much time reading everyone else’s posts and processing what they are saying and how it relates to or influences my own thinking. It’s a super way of engaging with the material!

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