Week 5- Politics and Policy

Before The Reading:

I think that a curriculum is developed based on what is valued by society. I do not think that the curriculum is developed based on the values of the entire society but only on what is valued by the social group in power. I think that curriculum has the illusion of being neutral but is ultimately a way to reproduce the social structure.

After The Reading:

The development and implementation of curriculum is a complicated process. According to the reading there are four steps considered when creating new curriculum or revising existing curriculum. These steps include examining the current curriculum, gathering strength and weaknesses, considering various ideas of change, trying to arrive at consensus on recommendations (https://www.corwin.com/sites/default/files/upm-binaries/16905_Chapter_1.pdf). When creating new curriculum consulting experts in a given field can create problems. This can create problems because the teachers who are responsible for teaching this curriculum are not as educated in that subject area. Therefore, the teachers may struggle to teach the curriculum. When it comes to implementing the new curriculum it is sometimes given to the entire school system or a pilot period at a few schools takes place.

The article provided a new perspective to me in the sense that I did not realize the extent of policies and politics that surround curriculum. When I was in school I never questioned why I usually had math, science, English and social studies almost everyday. Consequently, I never questioned why art, music or physical education was every couple days. Now that I am older I realize that everything has a reason for happening and that more often not the reason is because it is beneficial to someone or group. Another new perspective I gained from the article is that getting experts to work on creating does not necessarily provide the best curriculum for in the classroom. I would have thought that this would best. I did not think about the fact that some teachers would not be able to implement this curriculum in their classrooms. While I understood that teaching encompasses more than just teaching the curriculum, I did not realize the extent to which politics and policy are involved in teaching.

Something that is concerning to me about what I read was that curriculum decisions “extends beyond education to lager questions of public good” (https://www.corwin.com/sites/default/files/upm-binaries/16905_Chapter_1.pdf). Understanding curriculum to be a reflection of or a correlation to the well being of a society is overwhelming. Another concerning aspect of what I read was everyone has been to school and therefore has an opinion about the educational system. I understand it is impossible to make everyone happy but I also feel it is my responsibility to do what is best for my students and be able to stand up and fight for them. I think part of this is will be ensuring that I am confident in my rational and am capable of standing my ground for what I believe in.

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Week Four- The good student

According to the commonsense being a good student means, “ behaving and thinking in certain ways” (https://drive.google.com/file/d/1kkJc7k2AyKB-Usl3pujiMAeWpfzmpZRK/view). Our society tends to value only certain ways of thinking and knowing. As a result of this, society expects teachers to shape students to be a reflection of these values. It seems as though the students that are privileged by this definition are the students who are able to fit within the expectations of the teacher. The students who are able to “say the right things in the rights ways” get the best mark and the approval of the teacher (https://drive.google.com/file/d/1kkJc7k2AyKB-Usl3pujiMAeWpfzmpZRK/view).

Because of these common sense ideas, it becomes apparent how oppressive the current educational system can be. The ideas present also make it possible to see that our expectations of the behaviour of students within the classroom can create the binary of good student and bad student without considering the needs or nature of each student.

Educational Theorist Quote

Education is a shaping process as much as the manufacture of steal rails” by Franklin Bobbitt

This quote depicts that each student should be shaped into identical identities and nothing more. I believe that each student is capable of being successful but what successful looks like for each student is different. Therefore, the end result or product will be different and should not be “identical steal rails”. This quote also depicts that there are specified approach that are to be used by the teachers in order to obtain specific results. I also feel as though education and learning should be engaging for the students. Various objectives can be learned through many different methods that should be decided based on the students in each class. I disagree with the fact that this quote in focused so intently on the end product and does not seem to be interested in the process.

The Tyler Rationale

The Tyler rationale is used widely across Canada. The Tyler rationale would be a great system if every student could be molded and shaped into exactly how we desire and were able to do so without considering outside factors (https://drive.google.com/file/d/12yUit4yJm9nhWB_wYXGMTZNiCJumaT02/view). I feel as though this system that is in place across Canada is focused strictly on supporting the production university students. Which on one hand is good, our society needs to have educated individuals. However, the system in place does not support or provide much guidance for the students who cannot be molded into a person ready to obtain a higher education.

I have experienced the Tyler rationale in my own schooling in a number of ways. For example, my high school teaches were focused strictly on meeting the objectives. Because of this need to constantly be meeting requirements, my teachers always appeared to be in a hurry to move onto the next objective. I do not remember having the chance to explore related conversations or be given credit for the results that would arise during these conversations because this information was considered to be off topic (https://drive.google.com/file/d/12yUit4yJm9nhWB_wYXGMTZNiCJumaT02/view). The syllabus we were given at the beginning of the semester often contained a schedule of what would be covered each week and then when the exams would be.

I think that this approach was very limiting to the students who either did not test well or were talented in areas that were not valued in our educational system. I often felt bad for my classmates who could not wait to be done with the school system so that they would be able to focus on their trade or other area of interest. I think schools should provide more resources for the students who know they will not be attending post secondary education. Being successful looks different for everyone and schools need to recognize and support what success is for each student.

The traditional perspective of curriculum development does have some benefits associated with it. This approach is highly efficient and organized due to the desired resemblance of a factory (https://drive.google.com/file/d/12yUit4yJm9nhWB_wYXGMTZNiCJumaT02/view). Exactly what the students need to experience in order to achieve the specified objectives is laid out and how it will be determine if these objectives are met. Teachers are provided with an exact plan. For some students this would be beneficial because they like to know what is expected of them and work well moving from one item on a list to another.

Reading Response- The Problem Of Common Sense

Kumashiro defines common sense as “what everyone should know”. Throughout the article common sense is refereed to as depicting what one should do as opposed to being a suggestion of what one could do. Common sense is often “unspoken assumptions” that are rarely questioned and as a result are continually being repeated.

 

Common sense is so important to pay attention to because often what is considered common sense is often oppressive towards certain people. Similarly, the oppressive effects of what is considered common sense are often undetected by the people who abide by these unwavering guidelines.   However, I think that questioning common sense and the oppressive systems that are in place is challenging for most people. Change is hard for most therefore thinking about changing the systems of a community that have been in place for so many years is a source of discomfort regardless of how much the changes need to be made.

 

In addition, the fact that what is considered common sense is rarely acknowledged or questioned is an indication of why these systems are in need of attention. I think that the first step in creating change is recognizing that changes are needed. In my own life I often find myself living my life according to the common sense knowledge I have either been taught or have learned through my environment. In the past I have found myself using the rational “that’s just the way it is” without being aware of the repercussions of this thought processes. My goal is to become more critical of the systems in my life and to not to accept common sense at face value.