Posts Tagged “Curriculum”

Okay, so I concede right off the bat that by posting this link, I am cementing my status as a geek.  I guess the good thing is that among this crowd, that ain’t such a bad thing.

From Wired’s GeekDad section, I came across this post citing a University of Wisconsin Milwaukee study write up on PhysOrg.com that links instilling confidence in young girls with success in math and science.  No surprise there, of course, but certainly nice to have the hard data.  The three year study looked at the barriers and supports for girls in learning and pursuing math and science.

While interest is certainly a factor in getting older girls to study and pursue a career in these disciplines, more attention should be given to building confidence in their abilities early in their education, says UWM Distinguished Professor Nadya Fouad. She is one of the authors of a three-year study aimed at identifying supports and barriers that steer girls toward or away from science and math during their education.

“The relationship between confidence and interest is close,” says Fouad. “If they feel they can do it, it feeds their interest.”

Do our teachers and parents get this?

Are they not only providing opportunities for ALL students to learn, but also help them become confident young people?

If kids, as GeekDad’s Vincent Janoski suggests (and most of us believe), that a secure child does better in all things, then how much of what educators do is directed at this part of the child?

If we KNOW this works, why isn’t making kids confident and secure a bigger part of our curriculum and the needs of a 21st Century Learner?

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Okay, it’s complete out-of-the-box thinking time.

Why do schools teach what they do? 

Really, that’s what I’m asking…what’s it good for?

How is the content curriculum that we teach kids helping them?

(And I am not accepting any version of “it prepares them for the next level of school.”)

By Bast

In older posts on this blog, I’ve written that school curriculum NEEDS a major shift: (whole post here)

21st century learners need thinking skills. They need to be able to find, process, and evaluate information that is EVERYWHERE and always accessible. They need to be able to participate in an interconnected, wired world in effective and responsible ways. They NEED to be taught how to manage/handle/thrive amidst all of the information that is out there and continuing to grow.

Our allegiance to English, Science, Math, and Social Studies as core curricular ideals and the end-all-be-all in student learning needs to make room for higher order thinking, questioning, and information literacy.

And after sharing my thoughts on the NYTimes reported failure of a laptop program, I offered: (whole post here)

Our curricula of content mired in Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies is not preparing students for anything but further education focused on these same subjects.

What students learn needs to be different and how they learn needs to be different.

These are not unique ideas.  Throughout the edublogosphere in varying degrees, educators are talking about the importance of a 21st Century Curriculum (for lack of a better name).

So I ask this question, in light of the shared belief that a 21st Century curriculum focused on thinking, communicating and collaborating skills is necessary for a world in which knowledge is so readily accessible.

What is the point of the way current curriculum is setup?

More specifically, break it down into the classic subjects:

  • Why do we learn Language Arts (or English in HS)?
  • Why do we learn Social Studies?
  • Why do we learn Science?
  • Why do we learn Math?
  • Why do we learn Art (performing and visual)?

(note:  I stick to these subjects, because Language learning seems to have an obvious practicality, as does Health/PE.)

Is this too bold to ask?  Can we defend what we do as schools?

No more, “That’s the way we’ve always done it” defense.

Out of the box time.

Prove that what we say we value is useful.

Truly no offense intended to any of these subjects and the educators who teach them.  I just want to hear from the experts what the right answers are.

Please feel free to answer any and all in the comments.

Image: “Question!” by Bast, found at Flickr Creative Commons

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(originally posted on harterlearning on Jan 17, 2007)

Some Thoughts About School 2.0 — Part 1 – Practical Theory: “It’s about the pedagogy. Too much educational software just attempts to turn these really powerful devices into the next version of the workbook. That’s criminal…

School 2.0 recognizes that our walls have broken down — and that’s a good thing. Our knowledge, our ideas, our communication is no longer bound by the walls of our school or the hours of our school day.

School 2.0 believes deeply in the old Dewey quote: ‘If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.’ “

This post was a terrific summary/introduction to what we need to recognize about the changing face of education that seems to be coming from a group led by Ed. Tech people. What most teachers and administrators are missing is that it is not a “tech-thing” and it’s not about the computers. It’s about learning and it’s about teaching kids in the best way for them to learn.

But also, it’s about what they are learning. And we can’t keep robbing these kids by teaching them the way that worked for us (and let’s not even argue whether it actually did ‘work’ for us). They need us to recognize that they need more…and they need US.

Let’s not let them down.

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