The Place of the Teacher in Relation to the Curriculum

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The Place of the Teacher in Relation to the Curriculum

The Place of the Teacherin Relation to the Curriculum

EDUC 683 - Session 9

Running a RaceCurrere is derived from the Latin infinitive verb that means ‘to run the racecourse’. Curriculum is a verb, an activity, or ‘an inward journey’. The modern curriculum development rationale has truncated the etymological meaning and reduced curriculum to a noun, the racecourse itself. Thus, generations of educators have been schooled to believe that the curriculum is a tangible object, the lesson plans we implement, or the course guides we follow, ratherthan the process of running the racecourse. (Slattery 1995: 56)

Metaphors for Curriculum

Medicinal KnowledgeLee Shulman has explained curricular knowledge in the following ways: "The currciulum and its associated materials are the materia medica of pedagogy, the pharmacopeia from which the teacher draws those tools of teaching that present or exemplify particular content and remediate or evaluate the adequacy of student accomplishments." (Dorph, p. 311)

Curriculum Study Groups"An additional gain of curriculum study groups comes under the heading of adult learning...There is one final rationale for creating ongoing curriculum study groups in your own educational settings. Educational research has shown that significant teacher learning and development occur over long periods of time. Thus effective professional development programs must be sustained and coherent, providing enough time for teacher reflections and growth. Ongoing curriculum study groups can provide one such opportunity to for teacher learning" (Dorph, p. 321).


Teachers as Learners

Curriculum Rationale

Rehearsal Curriculum"In practical terms, then, what might such a curricular conception look like? In the following I offer a model, or format, for the writing of curriculum founded on the principle articulated by Eisner (1990): it is a model for curricula that both ‘educate and emancipate’ teachers. I call it a rehearsal curriculum.A rehearsal curriculum is written in a way that prepares teachers for the teaching experience by prompting them to go through the same process oflearning that will be used in the classroom... In a sense, the lesson is viewed as a type of real-life performance, and rather than teachers seeing themselves only as the directors of that performance,they are what we might call actors–directors. (Schwartz, p. 454.)

In this session's readings there are multiple metaphors used to discuss curriculum and explore the relationship between teachers and the curriculum. You are encouraged to reflect upon these metaphors and see which most strongly resonate with you.

The case is made in this session's readings that teachers needs to be engaged in ongoing learning. As Schwartz notes, "Curriculum needs to be written, therefore, in a way that will motivate the teacher to learn as well, for when the teacher is learning, so too are the students" (p. 453). The fact that you are in the MJEd. program is a testament to the fact that you are already engaged in a process of ongoing learning!

NovelNovels invite fresh interpretations of new and old experiences. They are unpredictable, exciting, multi-layered creations, giving their readers diverse images and new understanding. … ‘Why can’t the curriculum of schools be like that?’ Good novels, if we are ready for them, transform us. Good curricula should have the same effect. (Schwartz, p. 452)

What is a rationale statement?A rationale statement explains the educational purpose of the curriculum. It expresses the beliefs and understandings of the curriculum developers. A rationale statement guides a curriculum development project in the same way a theoretical framework guides a research project. The rationale is based on the needs identified by your needs assessment.The purpose of a rationale statement is to convince others of the importance of the proposed change/addition, and of the logic of the outlined approach. It should be a cogent, persuasive argument, with supportive documentation from the literature and needs assessment data.Rationale Statements:- may be a brief as a sentence or as long as a book chapter- serve as preambles to the curriculum, explaining such things as: why the topic is important to learners and the discipline, what is to be addressed in a general way, who is the intended audience, the philosophy that guided the designers of the curriculum.Specifying a Rationale for the Curriculum:- leads to development of the goals and objectives for the curriculum- provides for motivation of learners- explains importance of the curriculum to significant others (faculty, administrators, etc.)- conveys the philosophy of the design to users other than the originator of the curriculum

Click on these images to see examples of curriculum rationales.

For more information about writing a rationale for your Makom curriculum, visit this Schoology link.

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Writing your curriculum rationale is one way to bring yourself into dialogue with your curriculum.

Pedagogical Content Knowledge"Pedagogical content knowledge also includes an understanding of what makes the learning of specific topics easy or difficult: the conceptions and preconceptions that students of different ages and backgrounds bring with them to the learning of those most frequently taught topics and lessons. If those preconceptions are misconceptions, which they so often are, teachers need knowledge of the strategies most likely to be fruitful in reorganizing the understanding of learners, because those learners are unlikely to appear before them as blank slates" (Shulman, p. 9).


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