On View of Education: Vol. 5 – Curriculum

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As a member of a teaching staff, I marched to my own beat as a believer in need for reform across many aspects of education. In discussions, I was often the contrarian in the group. One person described me as, the best devil’s advocate she had ever been around. Of course, I countered her comment that I wasn’t being the devil’s advocate, thus being myself.

In the world of educational conformity, I was often the voice in the wilderness. I spoke my mind, and a few of my past colleagues who read these pages will think – Yep, he said that.

Packing to move provides an opportunity to sort, discard, and organize. I kept some of my writings from my teaching days, thus recently gathered some of the quotes, most of which were written between 1987-2001.

Some will cheer while others jeer. Some will detect a passion, others will think Oh no, he’s one of those. You may disagree with some, all, or possibly none … and that’s OK – after all, I’ve handled dialogue on sensitive subjects before. But keep in mind, because we may disagree, it doesn’t mean I’m wrong – thus it just means we disagree.

Below is a collection of quotes with each standing on its own so I’ve numbered them only for reference.

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Today’s Topic: Curriculum
1) Educational curriculum is trapped in the dogma of traditional segregation and academic topics based on times past. Conceptualized applied learning seeks to prepare students for the workplace and life in a global society. Education must selectively abandon topics for the sake of conceptual, applicable knowledge.

2) Educators hiding behind the “they need it for college” banner is nothing more than an excuse to not change, thus continuing to promote the status quo.

3) Only in education do disciplines remain in isolation of one another, whereas in life whereas subjects are integrated. This isolation is like an hour walk in the woods divided into 15 minutes of plants, 15 minutes of animals, 15 minutes of earth materials, and 15 minutes of atmosphere. No wonder students define math (or any given subject) as 3rd Period.

4) Our school’s curriculum needs to be integrated to promote useful information in the world of life; not academia. The educational institution fails to realize that people trained in applicable conceptual frameworks of subject matter and higher order thinking skills will be able to learn the necessary content of the future.

5) Integrated curriculum is an important vehicle for problem-solving, life-based application of content. Life is not divided into specialized time slots as no subject in life is limited to third period. Integration increases student effectiveness and leads to increased use of quality performance-based assessments involving practical situations. Continual use of individual department curricular development support the status quo and the industrial-based educational setting that we proclaim to change.

6) We biology teachers stress the stages of a cell’s live, especially those of cell division (prophase, metaphase, anaphase, telophase). On the other hand, I haven’t heard any of those terms on the evening news or anywhere outside of my classroom other than a conference of biology teachers. Therefore, which is more important: to teach the details of cell division, its phases, and all the parts and activities or to teach the basic essentials of cell division, then followed by focusing on cancer? If given a choice, what would students select?

7) Innovative textbooks/programs exist – the ones that incorporate content standards, teaching standards, assessment standards, and research about teaching and learning. So, why do teachers and school districts avoid them like the plague?

Previous posts in the series




Teaching and Learning