The Evolving Fields of Curriculum & Special Education

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The Evolving Fields of Curriculum & Special Education

The Evolving Fields of Curriculum & Special Education EDUC 822 - Session 2

The history of American Jewish education and curiculum development is intertwined in many ways with the history of American education. Throughout the 19th century up to the present, various approaches to curriculum and schools of educational thought have informed the educational experiences of the American Jewish community. In this session we will explore how the evolution of the concepts of curriculum and learning over the course of the 20th century and into the 21st century has significantly impacted the educational experiences of children in both Jewish and secular realms.

As you explore this glog, remember to click on the hyperlinks on the images.

In his article, Sarna asserts that the underlying premise of Jewish education is that, "...schools serve as a primary setting, along with the home, where American Jews confront the most fundamental question of American Jewish life: how to live in two worlds at once, how to be both American and Jewish, part of the larger American society and apart from it" (p.9). If that is the case, then the question arises as to which structures of schooling and curriculum can effectively help students navigate through this path.

Much of Jewish education in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was focused on addressing the educational needs of immigrants, with a focus on helping them become Americans. As Sarna notes, "Not one of the early Jewish schools that we know of, for example, taught classes in 'how to be a Jew' or 'Jewish holidays' or 'Jewish identity'" (p.10). Today, the opposite is true. What was once assumed to be learned in the context of family and community has now become a major focus of American Jewish education in the 21st century.

Click on this image to go to an interactive timeline of American Jewish education, including milestones in special education!

Jewish education has not only been influenced by historical trends and immigration, it has also been impacted by shifts in approaches to our understanding of education and process of learning. In Bender's chapter he discusses how new understandings of how the brain works have greatly transformed approaches to education, especially special education, in the 21st century. Some of the key changes in how we think about learning and approach education are featured below...

Moving Beyond Multiple Intelligences- While early iterations of differentiated instruction were grounded in Gardner's multiple intelligences, new understandings of learning recognize that learners may have learning preferences or dominant learning styles (instead of innate intelligences) that can/should be addressed through varied instructional methods.- Furthermore, research about the brain has shown that optimal neural connections require environments that are comfortable and not threatening, which means that teachers need to pay attention to the learning setting as well as pedagogic techniques.

10 Tactics for Brain-Compatible Teaching1. Create a safe and comfortable environment. 2. Use comfortable furniture, lighting, ambiance3. Offer water and fruits where possible 4. Encourage frequent student responses. 5. Teach using bodily movements to represent content. 6. Teach with strong visual stimuli7. Use chants, rhythms, and music8. Offer appropriate wait time9. Offer student choices10. Foster social networking around learning content(Bender, p. 17)

It's now time for you to reflect upon how these historical, societal, and learning trends have impacted your learning experiences or those of individuals you know. You can find information about the learning activity for this session on Schoology.


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