Discussing Curriculum

Through different readings, discussion in the lecture, watching videos, and discussion in our staff groups, we were asked to think about what curriculum is and how common sense falls into people’s personal definitions of curriculum.  As discussed in the lecture, our staff group agreed that the common sense idea of curriculum would be that it is “planned objectives, contents, and assessments offered by the school that may look like a large binder full of paper”. This “common sense” definition of curriculum would be considered the formal curriculum.  However, people do not know all of the other forms of curriculum that exist in the schools. One form of curriculum that people do not think about is the “hidden curriculum”. The hidden curriculum includes “the kinds of learnings children derive from the very nature and organizational design of the public school, as well as from the behaviors and attitudes of teachers and administrators”, as defined by Longstreet and Shane (1993). The hidden curriculum would include learnings such as raising your hand when you have a question, or asking the teacher if you may use the bathroom. One form of curriculum that I had never considered was “societal curriculum”. This is the curriculum that includes the ongoing learnings we gather from family members, friends, the neighbourhoods in which we live in, organizations we are part of, the media, and jobs we have. All of these different encounters help us learn all throughout our lives. It was interesting to learn about all forms of curriculum that even I as a future educator would have never taken into consideration.

After talking with my staff group, I realized that the question I had from the previous week about who creates the curriculum is not uncommon. The other members in my group were also curious as to who created the curriculum and as to how they determined what was considered “necessary for students to learn”.

A full list of all of the forms of curriculum can be found on this website: Curriculum Types 

Another reading we were asked to complete was about teaching for social justice. A specific thought that caught my attention from this reading was “values cannot be explicitly taught, nor should they”. In my ECS 300 class that I am currently taking we were asked to complete a reading called The Heart of the Teacher. This reading discusses how educators teach their classes based on their values and experiences. I think that this is true, this is how educators educate. They learn from their experiences and teach based off of their values and understandings. Now, I do not think that it is wrong to teach this way, but I do agree with the teaching for social justice piece when it says “values cannot be explicitly taught”. I had a teacher in high school that would try and force us to share the same values that he did. It made for an uncomfortable class, and upset many students. I also had a teacher who us as a class knew what her values were, but never did she try and make us value the same things. I think that is the right way to teach. Values are something that an individual has to discover on their own based on experiences. Teachers can teach in ways to share what they value, but not to try and force individuals to value the same things.

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