Education and Curriculum

Curriculum is any knowledge and skills that schools are supposed to help students master. It can be in the form of study guides, books, movies, board games among other things. Because curriculum has such a large interpretation, there is often disagreement. Political, religious and economic elements often influence curriculum. It is left to states and localities to define what curriculum means. In an attempt to build consensus over the issue, states have put forth educational standards and assessments.

Because of the divers viewpoints on curriculum, their will most likely never be a national or comprehensive curriculum that students must master. Schools are held publicly accountable for explicit curriculum. It’s the official description of programs, courses and objectives of study with expectations for both teachers and students. It outlines specific subject matter and skills that should be learned depending on the grade level. Implicit curriculum is the way that teachers teach the material and the atmosphere they create. Students who become “teacher pets” have mastered the implicit curriculum.

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Routines, rituals, cooperation between students, calling only on students who raise their hand, the teacher’s interpretation of a book are all forms of implicit curriculum. Null curriculum is curriculum that is not expected to be taught in a classroom. Null curriculum is often intentionally and un-intentionally left out. School history books sometimes gloss over issues of discrimination; use the stereotypic family to portray ‘an American family’ living in suburbia, a floating art teacher can give students an impression that implies art is less important than math.

These are forms of null curriculum. Extracurriculum is just that, extra, over and above the required curriculum. Extracurriculum like dance, sports, plays or cheerleading can influence a students’ academic performance. Research has shown (pg 216) that there is a positive connection between academic performance and extracurricular activities. The first question I have is, should talented High School football players be pulled from the team because of poor academic performance?

Integrated curriculum is a mixture of different concepts and skills from different subject areas as opposed to traditional one subject at a time teaching. Students learning math on a computer are gaining skills that will be important for them to know and at the same time learning math. This is an example of using subjects that cut across a variety of subject matter. Many factors shape curriculum in schools. National Interest- Curriculum was affected by the No Child Left Behind act in 2008 because emphasis was placed on testing and assessment by the Bush Administration in an attempt to show progress.

State and Local Priorities-Kelso’s Choice is a curriculum that my son is taught at school in response to the rise of school bullying. Social Issues and Public Opinion-issues such as sex education, creationism and multiculturalism often influence how curriculum is presented and it varies from school to school. Professional Groups and Individuals- organizations offer advice on material that should be taught and how it should be taught and evaluated. Because teachers are individuals, they can influence what is learned by students as a result of their own experience.

Mass Media and Educational Publishing-Publishers can write books into their lowest common denominator “dumb-down” the material. They sometimes avoid controversial issues to appeal to specific schools. Publishers higher authors who sometimes influence the material. Mass media can create its own curriculum like Channel One. (pg 221) Teachers are to weave the curriculum approved by many different levels of government, organizations and individuals through teacher planning.

This is where teachers need to consider all stakeholders and determine the best way to teach and assess instruction. To insure the best way, teachers plan alone and in groups to create curriculum maps and discuss ways of motivating students (pg 224). Teachers must determine what instruction model or strategy best helps their students. There are 4: Social Family, Information Processing Family, Personal Family, and Behavioral Systems Family. (Fig. 10. 6) Which of these models would you apply to yourself looking back on your education and why?

Teachers cannot rely on creativity and technical expertise alone. They must rely on their knowledge and experience to apply be effective in their instruction. There is no one way for effective instruction; instead teachers must learn skills and concepts that will help them apply instruction to different situations. Time and Resource management, Planning and Organizational skills, Instruction Delivery and Assessment skills, Critical Thinking and Problem Solving skills, Communication and Human Relations skills are all important skills or a successful teacher. (Pg. 231) Teachers need to have great communication skills, understand their students’ needs and tailor instruction for students with special needs and be able to evaluate what and how they learn. Lastly, teachers need to create the best environment possible in order for students to learn. This is achieved through classroom management. This is a responsibility for principles, administrators, teachers and anyone that plays a role in a students learning.

Teachers are role models; they exemplify mutual respect, discipline, self control and enthusiasm in order to effectively manage the students. Teachers teach students how to take responsibility of their own education. (Pg 236) Do you believe grades are a result of a students’ ability to learn and recall or the teachers’ ability to teach? I ask this question because in High School, there was a student that showed no respect for the teacher, ditched class but would show up on exam days and ace the test. The teacher flunked him anyway, would you have done that?

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