Curriculum Development and Practical Approaches Chapter

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Precis and Analytical Insights

Schiro Jigsaw Chapter 3 Social Efficiency Ideology

What Schiro means by a curriculum ideology is the ideas that make up the way one sets about organizing a curriculum. The objectives of the curriculum are essential in defining the ideology. For example in Social Efficiency curriculum, the objectives are framed in behavioral terms with "change behavior" being the goal of the teaching, knowledge, and purpose of the curriculum (58). All of these aspects constitute the ideology behind the curriculum. Ideology is, moreover, a sufficient term for expressing the nature of the curriculum because behind the method, plan, purpose and substance of the curriculum is a worldview or set of beliefs that are consistent with ideology. Ideology simply refers to the way in which one views the environment in which one is situated: connected to curriculum, ideology consists of the ideas and ideals that teachers hold that relate to their method of engagement with students.

The purpose of education from a Social Efficiency perspective is to arrive at "conception of the nature of man" and then to strive to match the behavior of the students to the ideal nature posed by this conception (58). In other words, the purpose of this curriculum ideology is to shape students so that their behaviors reflect those that the education institution wishes to cultivate and bring to the fore.

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The nature of students (children as learners) is that their stage in life "is viewed as a stage of preparation for adulthood" -- their "childhood is not important in and of itself" according to the this ideology (69). Thus, the nature of students is such that they are simply there to learn to have their behaviors programmed, essentially. They are "workers" (92). Their natures are such that programming them at this age is easier than programming adults, who are hardened and molded already; children, on the other hand, are viewed as more pliable and capable of being shaped.

Chapter on Curriculum Development and Practical Approaches Assignment

The nature of school-based learning is that it is "in a standardized form" (72). That is, it should be common among all classes and schools of this age, without deviation, as the program has been set in accordance with the aims of the curriculum ideology and all that is needed is for the educator to follow the program.

Thus, the nature of teaching is simple, according to this ideology: it is the communication of the ideas and the utilization of the change behavior methods as stipulated by the curriculum. The Social Efficiency educator is concerned "primarily with objective reality" -- that is, with moving the student towards the end-goal and aligning the student's behavioral responses to the behaviors identified as objectives in the curriculum (76). Moreover, the teacher is a "manager" whose job "is to fit the student to the curriculum and fit the curriculum to the student" (93).

The most important kind of knowledge that the Social Efficiency school should therefore focus in is the knowledge of behavioral ideals, on how children should be programmed to act on their journey towards adulthood so that upon arrival, they are well-versed and ready to do their part in society as efficient and effective contributors to the community and the aims of society.

The nature of evaluation should be as objective as possible, as the educator is primarily concerned with results, data and reality. The educators should see themselves as "instruments" in order that they might adequately compare the curriculum, students (and themselves) to the pre-determined ideal via a "pass/fail" system of evaluation (96).

Article 2: Pamela Joseph chapter 1

Point 1: Curriculum should be viewed as "a process" that incorporates "introspection," reflection and consideration of the aims and strategies that can be employed to transform students and move them from a lower to a higher level (3).

Point 2: Seeking meaning "rather than control" is the essence of developing a curriculum that is rooted in truth (4). The vision of what an educated person should be is vital to the nature of the process of education.

Point 3: There are many different approaches to developing a curriculum -- as many approaches as there are visions of the "educated person" -- and therefore it is necessary to critique each one and identify strengths and weaknesses while simultaneously refining one's own vision of the ideal education person.

Point 4: Culture is therefore fundamental to the defining of curriculum.

The purpose of this chapter is to expose the reader to a variety of theories and approaches to curriculum and the ideas that go into generating curricula. Joseph compares a variety of curricula by first identifying the nature of curricula that all share: the explicit, implicit and null aspects of curriculum. This means that every curriculum teaches something explicitly as well as implicitly (that which is not stated overtly) and every curriculum leaves something out -- something that is not taught.

Joseph then explains how viewing curriculum as a text can help to better understand the language and terms of the discourse so that a better and deeper understanding of the "inherent themes and structures" can be attained (6).

Finally Joseph considers the question of frameworks and provides various thoughts from other curriculum theorists to help deepen the reader's frame of reference.

Two examples from the chapter of how authors have discussed curriculum, which I find compelling, are Schwab's discussion of the "curriculum specialist who has the 'big picture' and is the person who should guide" (8) and Goodland's discussion of "what schools are for" (14), which comes in the "educational philosophy" section of the chapter. Schwab's discussion is compelling because it supports the notion that there should be a head/leader involved in the education process who has a macro-vision of the overall process and is not just a "programmer" but rather a leader. I think this is important for students because they are not just machines waiting to be programmed but have minds and spirits that want to be inspired by such leaders. The Goodland discussion is also compelling because it gets to the heart of the purpose of education by identifying academic, vocational, social and personal goals that every school should have. This is a very well-rounded assessment and one that is, again, "big picture" oriented, which I find important.

All of the examples were helpful in my opinion and none seemed outright useless or irrelevant. It is very helpful to hear what others have thought about subjects so that a better assessment of the truth of an issue can be had. And while Joseph does not mention Schiro and his curriculum ideologies in this chapter, I think that Schiro's work would fit in most likely under the curriculum concept of Social Reconstruction-Relevance, since Schiro's aim is to transform behaviors and view students in the light of behavioral achievements and developments. The Social Reconstruction-Relevance concept is in line with this aim, as its goal is to produce students who are beneficial to society; thus, it puts society and the common good at the center of its concept of curriculum and not the individual student, which is essentially what Schiro does.

Article 3: Eisenhart & Holland

The key argument that Eisenhart and Holland make in their study entitled "Learning Gender from Peers" is that peer groups play a pivotal role in the develop, support and undermining of gender norms in the 5th and 6th grades. Moreover, these peer groups work differently according to environment: in school, the peer groups oppose or undermine the gender-neutral approach that school authorities attempt to impose on the students via socialization. Outside of school, the peer groups support the traditional norms of gender via socialization. This suggests that peer groups are instrumental in how gender norms are perceived, supported and undermined in the development of adolescent attitudes towards gender, and that environment (where the peer groups are situated, i.e., the context of their surroundings) plays a factor in the support or undermining of those peer groups' views towards gender norms.

What I found most interesting about this study was the fact that the peer groups' attitudes towards gender changed so dramatically depending on whether they were in school or out of school. The fact that children were more interested in their gender identities and the "expression of their sexual and romantic identities and relations" rather than their role as students suggests that the school in question was not identifying the reality of the student life and the needs/nature of the student body (330). Clearly, the curricula being implemented at the school did not fit the students and the students did not fit the curricula, as their aims were at opposite ends. I believe that Schiro would object to the curriculum process being implemented at Grandin.

The cultural transmission of gender, according to this study, is not something that starts and stops in the classroom, in other words. Gender is transmitted via the home, workplace, media, and peers. Textbooks offer a very narrow doorway into the realm of gender socialization and for children, who do… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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