Chapter Eight School Curriculum
School Curriculum • Three general components of the curriculum: • the formal curriculum • the unintended curriculum • extracurricular activities
The Formal Curriculum (explicit curriculum) • What students are taught • The selection of subject matter • The topics included • The depth of coverage for each topic • The textbooks that detail this knowledge • The curriculum guides that lay-out the topics in a systematic way
Unintended Curriculum(the implicit curriculum) • Consists of the messages sent to our students about what is valuable. • The omission of topics in the curriculum suggests that certain information is not important.
Extracurricular Activities • These include school band, athletics, and theater. • These programs are often removed from the curriculum, to focus on the “basics.”
The Struggle for Control of the Curriculum • For over two hundred years the curriculum has been dictated by politicians, businessmen, and religious leaders. • During the Colonial period, the Bible and prayers formed the basis of the curriculum. • During the 1800s the curriculum reflected the prevailing Protestant culture, patriotism and hard work. • In the mid 1900s leaders turned to the schools to address social problems such as drugs and alcohol abuse, pre-marital pregnancy, and sexually transmitted diseases. • Today, the curriculum has become “exam driven”, mandated by the NCLB and high stakes, multiple choice testing.
Structure & Organization of Curriculum Today • Despite the important changes in the curriculum over time, there is little consensus concerning its structure or organization. • We can conceptualize it as a continuum withsubject/teacher-centered(authoritarian) organization on one end and learner-centered (democratic) organization on the other.
Curriculum Organization Continuum Learner-CenteredIntegratedFusedSubject-Centered < ----------------------------------------------------
Learner-Centered Curriculum (The Democratic Approach) • Focus on learners & their needs • Emphasis on promoting overall growth of learners • Stresses student’s understanding • Develops communication and social skills • Emphasis on cooperative learning • Students and teachers are involved in selection and organization of subject matter and materials • Emphasis on problem solving
TheIntegrated Curriculum • Unites all the subjects under one theme or topic. • In a primary grade the story of “The Little Red Hen”, would include: • Social Studies by learning about the farm • Science through growing plants • Math with a discussion of measurements used in baking bread • Health by focusing on eating healthfully
TheFused Curriculum • Less structured • Attempts to blend related subjects • Spelling, reading, writing, and English might be combined into Language Arts.
Subject Centered Curriculum(Authoritarian Approach) • Traditional form of the curriculum • Each subject is taught separately • Content is laid out in a highly structured, sequential method • Students are presented with precise information that will appear on the test • All knowledge is imparted to the student by the teacher • Students are held accountable for content mastery
Authoritarian v Democratic Instruction • The curricular approach fosters a particular type of instruction • The authoritarian (subject centered) - the teacher is the focus of instruction • The democratic (learner centered) - the teacher serves as a guide with students actively engaged
Teacher-CenteredInstruction(Authoritarian Approach) • Focus is on instructor • Instructor talks, students listen • Students work alone • Instructor monitors and corrects students • Instructor answers students’ questions • Instructor chooses topics • Instructor evaluates student learning • Classroom is quiet
Learner-CenteredInstruction(Democratic Approach) • Focus is on both students and instructor • Instructor models; students interact with instructor and one another • Students work in pairs, in groups, or alone depending on the purpose of the activity • Instructor provides feedback/correction when questions arise • Instructor is an information resource • Students have some choice of topics • Students and instructor evaluate learning • Classroom is often noisy and busy
Curriculum Tracks • Academic or College Preparation • Career Preparation • Occupational Preparation
Expansion of the Contemporary Curriculum • Emergence of an academically challenging kindergarten • Vocational/technical training • The inclusion of more foreign languages • Greater cultural diversity of literature and social studies • The use of schools as an agent of social improvement (Sex Education, Drug Education, etc.) • The strengthening of character and moral education • Emphasis on accountability and standards.
Accountability and Standards • Central to the expansion of the contemporary curriculum has been an increased emphasis on accountability and standards. • Most pre-service teachers are required to successfully pass the Praxis I and II exams for state licensure. • In addition, the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC) has developed a number of standards that are used to assess beginning teachers.
INTASC Standards • Content Pedagogy – The teacher can make the subject matter meaningful. • Student Development – The teacher can provide learning that supports the student’s individual development. • Diverse Learners – The teacher can provide opportunities for diverse learners. • Multiple Instruction Strategies – The teacher uses a variety of instructional strategies. • Motivation and Management – The teacher uses a variety of motivational and classroom management techniques.
INTASC Standards (Continued) • Communication – The teachers fosters active and collaborative learning in the classroom. • Planning – The teacher develops an effective instructional plan to help all children learn. • Assessment – The teacher uses formal and informal assessment strategies. • Reflective Practice – The teacher uses reflection and journaling to improve instruction. • School and Community Involvement – The teacher establishes relationships with the colleagues, parents and the community in general.