Research Proposal: K-12 Curriculum and Instruction: Changing

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[. . .] From what? Boring stuff." (2011)

Robinson states that the instance of ADHD "has risen in parallel with the growth of standardized testing. And these kids are being given Ritalin and Adderall and all manner of things. Often quite dangerous drugs to get them focused and calm them down. But according to this attention deficit disorder increases as you travel east across the country. People start losing interest in Oklahoma. They can hardly think straight in Arkansas. And by the time they get to Washington they've lost it completely." (Robinson, 2011) The model of education is a system of education "…which is modeled on the interest of industrialism. And in the image of it. I'll give you a couple examples. Schools are still pretty much organized on factory lines. On ringing bells, separate facilities, specialized into separate subjects. We still educate children by batches. You know, we put them through the system by age group. Why do we do that? You know, why is there this assumption that the most important thing kids have in common is how old they are. You know, it's like the most important thing about them is their date of manufacture." (Robinson, 2011)

Robinson states that in the interest of learning it is necessary to start somewhere besides from this "production line mentality which is "…essentially about conformity. Increasingly it's about that as you look at the growth of standardized testing and standardized curricula. And it's about standardization. I believe we've got go in the exact opposite direction. That's what I mean about changing the paradigm." (Robinson, 2011)

Robinson relates that there is a recently study that was conducted on divergent thinking and states that divergent thinking "isn't the same thing as creativity" as creativity is "the process of having original ideas which have value." (2011) Divergent thinking, according to Robinson "isn't a synonym, but it's an essential capacity for creativity. It's the ability to see lots of possible answers to a question. Lots of possible ways of interpreting a question. To think, what Edward de Bono publicly called laterally. To think not just in linear or convergent ways. To see multiple answers and not one." (2011) Robinson states that the challenge presenting is the need to "think different about human capacity" to "get over this old conception of academic, non-academic." (2011) Secondly, Robinsons states it is necessary to "recognize most great learning happens in groups. The collaboration is the stuff of growth. If we atomize people and separate them a judge them separately, we form a kind of disjunction between them and their natural learning environment." (2011) Third, Robinson state the culture of our institutions is a critical matter in terms of the "habits of institutions and the habits that they occupy." (2011)

The Emergent Curriculum touted by Zeng-tian and Yu-le has specific characteristics that are experiential in nature and specifically those of:

(1) Creativity; and (2) Life. (2004)

According to Zeng-tian and Yu-le (2004) The emergent curriculum can be implemented through the following conditions for the purpose of:

(1) enhancing "…the curriculum consciousness of teachers and students; and (2) To establish "you" orientated conceptions about the teachers and students and to form the subject-orientated conceptions about the curriculum evaluation." (p.1)

Robinson states that he defines creativity as "…the process of having original ideas that have value. Divergent thinking isn't a synonym but is an essential capacity for creativity. It is the ability to see lots of possible answers to a question, lots of possible ways to interpret a question, to think laterally, to think not just in linear or convergent ways, to see multiple answers, not one." (Robinson, 2012) The point that Robinson is attempting to drive home is that curriculum in today's school is not aligned with the real world but is effectively stuck in a curriculum designed during the age of industrialism. It is a curriculum very much outdated and frankly, ineffective in properly educating today's youth and fails to prepare them for the real world following their educational years.

Bronson and Merryman (2010) write in the work entitled "The Creativity Crisis" published in Newsweek that the accepted definition of creativity is "production of something original and useful…to be creative requires divergent thinking (generating many unique ideas) and then convergent thinking (combining those ideas into the best result)." Scholars are stated to have been tracking child the children that completed the tests given by Ted Schwawrzrock in 1958 and who completed the tasks and they have been "recording every patent earned, every business founded, every research paper published and every grant awarded. They have as well "tallied the books, dances, radio shows, art exhibitions, software programs, advertising campaigns, hardware innovations, music compositions, public policies (written or implemented), leadership positions, invited lectures, and buildings designed." (Bronson and Merryman, 2010) It is reported as "shocking…how incredibly well Torrance's creativity index predicted those kids' creative accomplishments as adults. Those who came up with more good ideas on Torrance's tasks grew up to be entrepreneurs, inventors, college presidents, authors, doctors, diplomats and software developers." (Bronson and Merryman, 2010) Torrance's data was recently reanalyzed by Jonathan Pluckier of Indiana University and the correlation to lifetime creative accomplishments is reported to be "more than three times stronger for childhood creativity than childhood IQ." (Bronson and Merryman, 2010) Torrance's tests, just as intelligence tests are reported to have been "…taken by millions worldwide in 50 languages. Yet there is one more crucial difference between IQ and CQ scores. With intelligence, there is a phenomenon called the Flynn effect -- each generation, scores go up about 10 points. Enriched environments are making kids smarter. With creativity, a reverse trend has just been identified and is being reported for the first time here: American creativity scores are falling." (Bronson and Merryman, 2010)

This was discovered by Kyung Hee Kim at the College of William & Mary in May, following the analysis of approximately 300,000 Torrance scores of children and adults. Findings stated by Kim include "…creativity scores had been steadily rising, just like IQ scores, until 1990. Since then, creativity scores have consistently inched downward. "It's very clear, and the decrease is very significant," Kim says. It is the scores of younger children in America -- from kindergarten through sixth grade -- for whom the decline is most serious." (Bronson and Merryman, 2010)

The work of Andrew Seaton states that there is expanding awareness that education "must extend its traditional goal of students mastery of subject-centered scholastic knowledge, to include the development of individuals who can prosper in complex and changing social, cultural and economic worlds." (2002) Seaton reports that the "inner intent of reform efforts being made and advocated widely, could be characterized by several key principles stated as follows:

(1) emphasis on exit outcomes (prospering in the real world);

(2) active learning for intellectual quality (constructivism);

(3) personal responsibility for own learning and behavior (genuine engagement);

(4) individual meaning and relevance (not one-size-fits-all);

(5) real-life purposes, roles and contexts (integrated curriculum);

(6) links with community for mutual capacity building (productive partnerships in a learning community); and (7) extension of pedagogical repertoires (teachers moving from 'sage on the stage' to 'guide on the side'). (Seaton, 2002)

It is reported by Seaton that there is great difficulty among teachers, schools and systems in "resolving some of the contradictions between these principles and practices on the one hand, and pressures of accountability and traditional school culture on the other." (2002) It is observed states Seaton in the work of Thompson and Zeuli (1999, pp. 345-6)

"…that perhaps the most striking thing about teachers' efforts to learn and put into practice current reform ideas is that 'it is possible - indeed, fairly common - to get a great deal right and still miss the point… of the reforms'. After all, the effort to change teachers' mindsets and practices takes place within a set of cultural, structural and accountability constraints that often remain largely unchanged. The most crucial value determining the quality of relationships and the nature of learning environments (including policy environments) is the way in which power operates in them." (Seaton, 2002)

It is stated in the work of Foucault (1977, p. 14) that, "The problem is not one of changing people's "consciousness" or what's in their heads; but the political, economic, institutional regime of the production of truth." (cited in Seaton, 2002) It should not be surprising then, according to Seaton that "the history of curriculum change is a history of little change (Glatthorn & Jailall 2000, p. 97), or, as Woodrow Wilson put it so nicely, 'It is easier to change the location of a cemetery, than to change the school curriculum' (quoted in Bailey, 2001). Attempts at curriculum reform that fail to make it possible for power to operate in fundamentally different ways in learning environments will fall victim to the inertia of the traditional, industrial age educational paradigm." (Seaton, 2002)

Seaton questions how the patterns of power that presently determine the… [END OF PREVIEW]

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