According to Levin’s article Curriculum Policy and the Politics of what Should be Learned in Schools, school curricula is developed and implemented by many parties that you might expect and some you might not. Teachers, along with what are considered to be “experts” in the fields or subjects are one of the main contributors to the school systems curriculum. While this makes a rich and very structured learning program and outline for the classroom it can also make it hard for those who have to teach grades or subjects they know very little or nothing about. While these “experts” might hold the best knowledge and understanding of an area, they are an expert of the field not children or their students themselves. This creates a heavy curriculum that may not quite fit the needs of the students at certain levels. Another main contributor to the development and implementation of curriculum and or policy is the government itself. Politics are one of the main contributors to the curriculum. Everything has to go through the certain government levels in order to be approved and while this may seem like a good idea it also can cause students to not get the proper education they need or desire.
One of the things Levin talks about in this article is society involvement. I agree with Levin in the fact that society and students voices play an important role in this area and that it isn't being heard enough. There is a lack of public input and connection to the policies and curriculum. These curriculum and policies are all to create a student and a member of society that has certain knowledge about different things. These people that create documents and outlines for students to learn teach the basics of subjects, but what about the basics of life as an adult? When thinking about it learning these skills plus skills that will benefit them in their life as an adult, a good example for this might be learning taxes or how to manage money. But because these things don’t exactly fall into a subject area they are left out completely. Only students that are privileged enough to have classes offered in their schools to teach them that even have a chance to learn these important life skills. When creating policies and curriculum, I personally think it would be beneficial to ask society and the community who have already been through school what would have benefited them most and what they wish they would have learned and finding a way to incorporate these things into the classroom.
When comparing Levin’s article and the Treaty Education Document they have a couple things in common. Both curriculum was developed by multiple people in different levels and field areas. The Treaty Education Document tells teachers what their students should have learned by the end of grade 12 but not how or to what extent they should learn it. Just like in Levin’s article the Treaty Education Document sets up what is to be taught and what students are to take away from the class. This can be difficult as some students take away different things from others and or have a stronger desire with the subject to learn. Some tensions that may have occurred when creating the Treaty curriculum is be aware of past and present history and how to preserve it without offending or being culturally incorrect (We want the right information to be taught). The Treaty Education Document states “Making mandatory instruction in history and content of the Treaties in the K-12 curriculum.”(pg. 3) It is important that the instruction of learning the history and content is updated to the best of education knowledge and that it can work towards creating understanding of the past in as truthful a way as possible. It is important to remember that creating documents, policies, and curriculum in education all have their tensions, what is important is providing the students with the best information possible so they are about to learn.
A) Some ways that you see reinhabitation and decolonization throughout the narrative is:
B) As teachers it is important to embrace every student and families cultures as classrooms are so diverse. The main way to do this is to create strong connections with students and their own environment. Learn about what is important to them and where they came from. Creating a good connection with each of your students can help you support them in and out of the classroom and help you as a teacher understand where a student is coming from. It is important to know your boundaries when teaching any subject that could have many possible views or something that you yourself cannot relate to. As teachers you want to make sure you have an open classroom where all ideas and cultures are accepted but also know your boundaries as a teacher to what you are able to talk about without affecting the culture or students. Having students share where they came from and their background or have their family talk about it is a great place to start. Other ways to do this in a classroom can be field trips or having outdoor class.
What does it mean to be a good student according to commonsense? Well when you think about what a “good” student looks like in a classroom, this student probably sits and listens, actively participates in class discussions, does their work best to their ability and is not disruptive. These students tend to learn from the traditional way of teaching which makes some believe they are “good” students. This could be seen as only certain behaviors and ways of thinking that create this kind of student. These students would be the ones that might be considered “privileged” by this definition of a good student. The students that are able to learn from the traditional values of teaching might have less problems learning because that's the way they learn. For other students who need different ways of learning, or get distracted easily might find it harder to learn if the class is being taught in a traditional way, making them not as successful as others, not wish to participate, possibly disruptive during class and seen as not a "good" student. Students that may have trouble focusing or learning the same as the other students may be viewed as a bad student according to this commonsense we have learned for society.
Common sense has made is difficult for teachers to understand if the student just need different support or ways of learning/engaging to be successful or if it's actually just the students desire to participate(the student choosing not to focus on schooling). This can give the illusion to a classroom that the “good” students are smarter than the other students, which is not true. This stigma of a good student in commonsense defines what a proper student should look like even though there really is no one way of what a “good” student might look like. There are traits that make it easier for teachers to teach than others but there's no one definition of what a “good” student is. As a teacher it is important to understand that students learn and see topics in a different way than others. It is important to help students grow and accommodate to what they need so they can be a successful in school.
When looking through the list of scholars and topics/concepts there was one that immediately stood out to me and that was the topic of disability. While I have always been very interested in different disabilities found throughout schools I was drawn to learning disabilities in schools and the curriculum because of personal family and friends experiences. The main article I am focusing on is School Reform: Opportunities for Excellence and Equity for Individuals with Learning Disabilities by Betty J. Ward. This article focuses on the Committee on Learning Disabilities (NJCLD). This committee joins with others in calling for school reforms and development of strategies to improve education for children that have learning disabilities within schools. Focusing on the importance of students at risk for school failure or dropping out, including those with learning disabilities to be addressed when making new goals, policies, and practices. The school system needs to focus the diverse learning needs of all students and creating balance between excellence and equity.
The article goes on to talk about academic standards and student achievements, curriculum and instruction, accountability and evaluation, school and classroom organization and more. One quote that really stood out to me while reading was “The desire to include all students within regular education should not overshadow the fact that some students with learning disabilities need to learn different content in different ways.”(pg 277). Especially because we are becoming teachers I found this quote and the importance of teacher roles in creating a successful learning process for students extremely interesting. The importance of teachers, parents and student roles play a big part of support needed for students with accommodations. Without support, encouragement and care from these three groups of people a student who needs accommodations could very well struggle in school and would have a greater risk of dropping out. After every subtopic within the article there are multiple questions to think about and continue your curiosity about the topic at hand. I found this very engaging and not only did it help support the things being talked about but also created a larger interest in learning about learning disabilities in schools.
My next steps when diving into this article would be to take a closer look at the issues and questions asked throughout the article. I would further explore different types of learning disabilities and possible ways to help support students and their needs. Comparing this reading to others with learning disabilities and how to support someone when using the standard curriculum. I would like to look at the effects on the classroom as a whole and the students with or without learning disabilities along with teachers in particular classrooms.
School reform: Opportunities for excellence and equity for individuals with learning disabilities. A special report by the national joint committee on learning disabilities, june 30, 1991. (1992). Journal of Learning Disabilities, 25(5), 276-80. Retrieved from https://login.libproxy.uregina.ca:8443/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.libproxy.uregina.ca/docview/62956723?accountid=13480
a)Throughout my own schooling I have not noticed much of the Tyler Rationale because growing up I never really thought about the curriculum and assessments as anything more than just being apart of what you did while I was in school. For my schooling the closest experience to the Tyler rationale I can think of would be learning math. We would be told what we were going to learn, how to learn it, and then homework assignments and tests would be given to show your understanding. The subject math is something that a student needs to use the correct formula, equation, and problem solving techniques to be able to get the same answer as the teacher. Looking back at my school experience I can see where the construction of Tyler’s questions from the article “Curriculum theory and practice” came from and what place they had in schools. These questions are:
1. What educational purposes should the school seek to attain?
2. What educational experiences can be provided that are likely to attain these purposes?
3. How can these educational experiences be effectively organized?
4. How can we determine whether these purposes are being attained?
These are all important questions that shape the school system, how teachers teach and how students learn. While I probably had lots of Tyler rationale in my schooling experience that I never noticed before, thinking back on it quite a few of my teachers taught what wasn't apart of the curriculum but thought was important or expanded more then they should have on certain topics. This gave the students in my classroom a chance to learn more then just what the curriculum told.
b)Some limitations of the Tyler rationale is the lack of letting children explore and learn about their specific interests. For example a class might be learning about planets and planet life but a student may have an interest and want to learn about dinosaurs but it is not in the curriculum. This limits the students to learn about their own interests in schools because it is not apart of the curriculum. Effectively organized while being positive can also be a limitation in the sense that it leaves little time for a broader sense of learning the subject at hand and focused mainly on stay on the track of time and curriculum. Students may not get to learn as much as they should about the topic because of staying on task and getting the subject done. Another limitation to the Tyler rationale is that testing is a large part of determining whether students are retaining the information they are learning. For many students testing does not tend to show what they actually know on the subject. Lots of students tend to struggle on tests which does not make it an effective way to determine whether the purpose of the lesson is being attained. Along with some of these one of the limitations I noticed was there was very little student involvement in what they were learning. The Tyler rationale way seems to focus more on here is what we are learning and how to learn it which might mean less classroom discussions or questions asked from students.
(c)The Tyler rationale way helps create structure when learning in the classroom. Especially as a new teacher having structure and a direct plan when teaching can be very important. Structures also gives teachers the opportunity to give learning outcomes for the students to attain. This will give them a path of what they are learning and how, while also setting them up for success in the future. In the Tyler rationale way it can also help teachers themselves in being organized. While it is important for teachers to have a plan and know what they will be teaching it is still important to realize that learning comes in many different shapes and forms and that means that an original plan may be learned in a different way than what the set out plan was. Every form of learning is a productive and important one.
Kumashiro defines ‘common sense’ as what everyone should know. It is something that is different around the world and throughout different lifestyles. What people grow up learning and which is apart of their normal life knowledge and/or routine. For example, it is common sense to eat but to different people that might not mean three times a day, breakfast, lunch and dinner but only two big meals in a day. This can also be seen in how people view water, time, privacy, and other displays of life. Someone's common sense is based on different assumptions, expectations and values of their life. Common sense is what you should be doing or know how to do. It is the basics of life that everyone should have a common and general knowledge for these specific things based off of societies certain lifestyles.
It is important to pay attention to ‘common sense’ because everyone's understanding of common sense is different. Just because someone believes that something is common sense or normal does not mean it is to someone else. Common sense can take many shapes and forms around the world. Especially being somewhere else in the world and teaching, how they teach and what they should be taught can be very different things compared to somewhere else. For example in the article Kumashiro talks about how even though he was trying to introduce new and different things the students had their own views of how and what they should learn or be taught. For them it was common sense to focus only on the things that would relate to their end of year test as that was most important and was deemed important throughout their life. Nature vs. Nurture can also play a role in common sense, what the people have learned of been taught. Common sense changes our way of viewing things and that's why it is important to pay attention to it because it is always changing. It is also important as it changes people's perceptions of others, knowledge, society and privilege, and why anti- education is difficult to practice. It is everywhere we are and makes an impact in lots of things whether we realize it or not. It is also important to think about when becoming a teacher because today’s classrooms have a wide range of diversity and their could be students from all over with different views.
Whats on this page?
Here I will write my responses and thoughts to readings, texts, articles, conversations and more throughout my time in ECS 210.