Sunday, January 20, 2008

a million pages later...or, my blog needs a conceptual framework

I am somewhat overwhelmed by the large amount of information that I will now attempt to reflect upon.

Geneva Gay: "If we are to achieve equally, we must broaden our conception to include the entire culture of the school--not just subject matter content." I would extend this to include the entire community culture, maybe regional culture, maybe national. What will it really take to provide equitable education for all? I think now's the time to think about purposes.

The purpose of education:
  • To better each individual
  • To facilitate the advance and progress of society
  • To provide skills and knowledge necessary to contribute to the progress of society
  • Or, to help "develop the intellectual tools and learning strategies needed to acquire the knowledge that allows people to think productively about history, science and technology, social phenomena, mathematics, and the arts" (p. 5, "Learning: From Speculation to Science").
What are these skills and knowledge?

The purpose of curriculum:
  • To provide a plan of action, to provide the skills and knowledge everyone needs and to describe instructional methods to help teach the skills and knowledge
    • Value others; understand and appreciate other cultures, opinions, and ways of thinking
    • Critical thinking skills
    • Metacognition and transfer skills
    • Historical knowledge that accurately shows the perspectives of multiple cultural groups
    • Communication skills
    • Moral behavior
    • Content-knowledge, in a depth > coverage model
    • Technology skills
p. 22, Developing the Curriculum - Don't "woolly mammoth" the children! Excellent definition of what curriculum should NOT be.

We must rethink what to teach based on our changing society. We must rethink how to teach based on new information about how people learn.

But how can change be achieved? It takes time. People who effect change must be part of the process - bottom-up approach to curriculum development. Change must be gradual and yet holistic.

How would I develop a curriculum from scratch?
  1. Determine the purpose of the curriculum
  2. What is needed to achieve that purpose?
  3. Get input from all levels - student, teacher, parent, administrator, community member, more experienced curriculum developer
  4. Try it out, see how it works
  5. Adapt and try it out again
My goals as a curriculum developer:

To eliminate the reproduction of social inequalities by the school system. This would include reworking the school structure to eliminate tracking, use mixed-ability, mixed-age grouping, teach cultural awareness and appreciation to all faculty, staff, and students, provide a culturally responsive learning community, rework the curriculum to eliminate bias and provide multicultural content, and other things that I am not thinking of so late at night.

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