Term Paper: Curriculum History

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Curriculum History

Importance of curriculum history:

The methods of teaching change with time. To understand how the system works let us take the example of a school. The area had a lot of museums, theatres, arts centers, food centers, historical sites, sporting venues and local businesses. At the same time, there is a realization that all students of a school have certain rights and the London Challenge Student Pledge has unwittingly replicated this 'entitlement'. This is probably a proof of the value of this pledge. The educators who came to this school as the number of students were falling first felt that a greater emphasis should be laid on the regular requirements of a typical boys' school and the managers are to be sporty, boisterous and macho. (Eaglesfield School) This however does not apply to all situations, and a market research was commissioned among the boys by a professional institution. They were supposed to tell the authorities what the students felt were missing from the life of boys in the school, so that it could be changed resulting in more students being interested in the school. The entire exercise was of course had to be limited by the capacity of the authorities to change.

The result was that the boys were asked to contribute to the development of the school, and this had a very good effect on the self-esteem of the boys. This improved their sense of involvement and made them value the school and the staff of the school. To take the matter further the school formed a Teaching and Learning Forum. This was made up of key staff from different subject areas. This group is to organize, monitor and evaluate the annual change of subject areas. This is to be done with changes of lessons at the core of the process. This required a new team in charge of the school with different priorities and principles. These methods included placing teaching and learning as the main concern of everything that the school did, trying the best to get maximum possible support from the parents, trying to get the maximum possible value out of the students and refusing to be worried by the threat of the school getting closed, as was expected earlier. (Eaglesfield School) the result is obvious as the school has seen less of vandalism which was earlier rampant, less exclusion from class, a greater cooperation from students who were earlier involved in anti-social behavior though such students were not very many, and get greater concentration from students on their own learning outcomes and achievements. Thus it is often that changes in the contents and methods of teaching and interaction of the students reflect in better behavior from them which makes the students easier to teach.

2. Curriculum history of Iraq:

One of the biggest problems has now come up regarding the teaching of history in Iraq. The problem has been continuing from 1973 when Saddam Hussein had ordered all books on school history to be re-written in a manner that could help Ba'ath Party get more support. From that time, children had been taught that on all occasions United States were the invaders of Iraq, Iraq had won all the battles and the country was the defense against Zionism. This education has been accepted by most citizens and even students at Baghdad University College of Education say that they will teach students that there was a long history of Iraq being invaded by United States. One of them said "I will teach my students what I see: that Americans are the terrorists. Bush entered Iraq to take oil, not to free Iraq. They just want money and oil from Iraq. This is what I know and this is definitely what I will teach." (a new history of Iraq)

This is the general view but now the difficulty is that a new set of books are coming off the printing presses for distribution to the 5.5 million schoolchildren in Iraq who study in some 16,000 schools. There are a total of some 563 texts that have been edited and revised during all summer by a large team of Iraqi educators appointed for the purpose by America. In terms of editing, the first job they did was to remove all pictures concerning Saddam Hussein and his party. This change was due to decision taken by the new occupiers of Iraq and in line with their present thinking. The thinking even at their level was different earlier as the plan to occupy Iraq is a recent plan.

There still remain problems with subjects like the 1991 Gulf War and the Iran Iraq war. According to the previous books, Iraq won, but now the books had to change. The books were needed fast as they had to be ready for the new year of schools and in many cases the solution adopted was just to remove all controversial sections from the books. These sections included references to America, Shias, Sunnis, Kurds, Kuwaitis, Jews and Iranians. The problems are not only with books in history, but in all subjects. The high speed editing made many books loose sentences or paragraphs, and for modern history, half the text was removed. One of the editors was Fuad Hussein who was a professor in Iraq and later a teacher in Netherlands. According to him, "If you had a paragraph about Babylon, they'd link it to the Ba'ath party. There were many debates. Teachers would say, 'Can we delete this word?' - Socialist - for example and I would say, 'Well, it depends'." It is clear that there were no clear policies for the changes that were carried out as may be expected. (a new history of Iraq) This is the problem that exists right now and different actions are being proposed by different parties within Iraq, but the opinion that counts is the opinion of the ruler, as has been the situation since 1973 when Saddam Hussein started off. This is what makes changes in curriculum very difficult and probably leads to uncertain results.

3. Relationship between Culture and Curriculum:

The specific area that we are discussing about is the land of Arabs which extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to Iran and the Gulf in the east. In the north it is bounded by the Mediterranean and Turkey and goes up to the middle of Africa and Indian Ocean. The only limitation of the Arab world used to be the coastlines of the sea that it faced. There are a number of countries in this area and the separation of most of these countries is only due to artificial borders drawn up by the major powers of Europe and this was due to the defeat of the Turks in 1918. Prior to this period, the Turks were the rulers of all Arabia. The result is now a total of 21 states and these are all created. (the Arab World)

In short, there are no real differences from one Arab to another. The entire group is of Semitic origin and the area where they reside is often called Middle East and parts of North Africa. On the other hand, they can be seen as a diverse group of people who use Arabic for communication as also their native tongue. The area where they live can be specified as South west Iran, Iraq, the Arabian Peninsula, the Maghreb region of North Africa, Egypt and Mauritania. The biggest uniting factor among all Arabs is their religion - Islam. This is the religion of 95% of all Arabs. The language is within the Semitic group of languages and the total number of speakers now exceeds 190 million. (the Arab World) Thus it is clear that apart from their language, these people also have their religion as a common bond.

Their introduction to English was through compulsion after the whole area came under the control of the West at the end of First World War. This has led to practically all Arabs learning English at least up to the eighth standard. This has been their window to the outside world, and at the same time, it is connected with the image of a ruler who brought this language to them. It is also a language brought to them by infidels, or people who do not believe in Islam. The problem here is the essential conflict between Islam, Christianity and Zionism. All three have some parts in common, but do not end at the same point. Thus while all three agree on some parts of the religion, they believe that the others are infidels. The faith is a very strong component of the Islamic faith and all believers of Islam including Arabs do not like Jews. They believe that Israel was created from Arab land, and one of their principle places of worship, Jerusalem was handed over to them. This has been the main reason for the fights between the Arabs and the Jews, and earlier… [END OF PREVIEW]

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