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Letter From Planet, Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

Introduction

Throughout centuries, there have been scholars and teachers looking for ways to develop systems in education where they are able to plan for goals in what they want their students or followers to comprehend. “Curriculum is an attempt to communicate the essential principles and features of an educational proposal in such a form that is open to critical scrutiny and capable of effective translation into practice.” (Stenhouse, 1975) The ideal of the curriculum is not new, yet it was not formerly named until centuries ago, now it is an essential part of every education outlet in the world. In accomplishing anything worthwhile as far as education, big and small, is dependent on the completion of goals outlined.  An effective curriculum offers all these things as it provides teachers, students, and administrators with the framework and sense of progression.

Consequently, the significance and influence of curriculum cannot be thoroughly overstated. The way in which educators and people understand and theorize about the curriculum has profoundly differed over the years. In understanding the word, it is best to define the word. Curriculum is defined as, “All the learning which is planned and guided by the school, whether it is carried on in groups or individually, inside or outside the school.” (Smith, 1996, 2000). Gathered from the given definition, what the reader takes away are two key points including, learning is planned ahead and guided through about what the instructor hopes to achieve, and the definition relates to schooling. (Smith, 1996, 2000) The purpose of this research is to explore the different curriculum approaches and theories, and how it is useful within education. Curriculum theories help teachers and educators comprehend the concept of achievement in learning. Along with scholarly journals, articles, and research aided by the internet databases, the paper will give a thorough explanation of curriculum theories to make the reader aware of their importance in making curriculum useful.

“Curriculum theory refers to a set of related statements that give meaning to school curriculum; by pointing out the relationships among its elements and by directing its development, its use and its evaluation.”(Scribed, n.d)  The documents and plans that are established within the schools and school systems are the curriculum that defines the teachers’ work. It takes more to teach the educated as Socrates and Plato experienced, “Plato does not start with the individual; that possibility with respect to the meaning of the term just is discarded early in the dialogue as too difficult.”(Flinders, 2012) They try to design a way in which they can create an open dialogue for education for the masses. Curriculum serves as a plan that guides educators and administrators in assessing the material content that needs to be taught. The work will usually consists of resource materials, textbooks and literature, and charts to follow. Curriculum involves a great deal of understanding the individuals and their different personalities. Yet, most legislators feel that curriculum serves another purpose, “The underlying aims seem to be (1) to keep the United States strong economically and (2) to give every child an opportunity to do well financially.”(Flinders, 2012)This aim of education are disturbing as the school has failed in some respects, and that the school is set up to just send students out as workers, instead of thinkers. Instead, Parkay states that the experiences of educators have helped develop programs with the purpose to achieve the outlined goals, and connect the objectives that develop within the guidelines of theory and research, past and present practice, and the evolving needs of the society. (Parkay, 2006).

From a critical perspective, curriculum the plan or guideline that exist within the school system that defines the work of teachers. English and Larson point out in their research that the purpose of the curriculum is to not to forget the boundaries within the organization but instead to allow the organization to function within the given boundaries in a more efficient and effective way over time. (English and Larson, 1996). They further iterate that curriculum can achieve these goals by following seven goals. The first is to clarify the organization’s boundaries, the second, is to outline the type of work that needs to be done. The third goal to be achieve is to relate all the key tasks that need to be achieved through the work flow coordination, the fourth goal, is to outline the standards that will be used in measuring the work. The fifth goal is to define the different evaluation procedures that will be used in comparing the results of the work to the work that was performed. The sixth goal is to make changes through feedback on the work performed, and the last and seventh goal is repeating all the previous goals in order to perform at the highest level at a consistent basis. (English and Larson, 1996). The educators achieve this consistency by mapping a framework or rather, a curriculum framework that includes a set of standards that provides the given context that usually consists of the available resources, and the abilities of the system support and teachers in each of the specific subjects. “Curriculum, from the learner’s standpoint, ordinarily represents little more than an arrangement of subjects, a structure of socially prescribed knowledge, or a complex system of meanings which may or may not fall within his grasp.”(Flinders, 2012) It is the job of educators to direct their path, and aid their development.

Approaches to Curriculum

There are several approaches to the theories in the curriculum in practice and theory, including, 1. Curriculum as Product, 2. Curriculum as Process, 3. Curriculum as Praxis (practice), and 4. Curriculum as Context. Education is a technical implementation with a set objective that plans out the strategy that is then applied to be and measured within the results.   The product model relies heavily on setting of behavioral objectives.  The process model differs to the product model in that the product model appeals to the workshop for a model while the process model looks to the world of experimentation. The process model relies heavily on communication between teachers and students.  The ideal is based in educational science of the classroom as the model is indurated with reliance on the art of teaching to the students. Stenhouse was one of the bigger supporters of this model as he believed it was, “the crucial point is that the proposal is not too regarded as an unqualified recommendation but rather as a provisional specification claiming no more than to be worth putting to the test of practice, such proposals claim to be intelligent rather that correct”. (Stenhouse, 1975)

The praxis model in many ways is a much more developed hybrid of the process model. Unlike the other model, it embraces the Humanist Theory, where the teachers views learning with a commitment to involve the personal and human emancipation of teaching. Educators within this model usually have the ability to be critical in their thinking while working, and a clear understanding of responsibility in their role of shaping young minds and what is expected of them. The result is shown in the students’ learning experiences and the principles set out but the teacher.  These principles help to guide and encourage communication and interaction between to two parties which forms an informed and committed experiences.  The learning is constantly evaluated as are the outcomes. This approach embraces the Humanistic theories in that the focus is on psychological perspective as it uses a holistic approach to the existences of mankind and their shared values, freedoms, potential, self-actualization, and other essential factors that help to make up the adopted principles that guide the teachers. “The task of the humanists is to see that the oppressed become aware of the fact that as dual beings, “housing” the oppressors within themselves, they cannot be truly human.”(Flinders, 2012) The teachers relay these factors in creating a classroom, and curriculum environment of fairness, diversity, equality, and inclusiveness aimed at student motivation in helping them to reach their full potential.

The context model is Curriculum is a social enterprise. Many educators view curriculum, as practice, yet is not sufficiently understood or changed considerably without consideration to its context or setting. “Curriculum is contextually shaped of special significance here are examinations and the social relationships of the school – the nature of the teacher-student relationship, the organization the normalcy of classes, tracking, and so on.” (Mednick, n.d) These factors within the model is referred to most educators as a hidden curriculum, where learning is sometimes viewed in a negative way. The importance on regimentation, management of time, and on tracing is seen by some as ways to prepare students for the world that they will soon joined, usually viewed as capitalist society where they will work and conform to.

Curriculum Theories

There, several theories that structure the concept of Curriculum. Within the field of curriculum, there are three main theories, Constructivism Learning, Behaviorism Learning, and Connectivism Learning Theory.  Constructivism is a curriculum theory that explains how the knowledge obtained is formulated within people when the mind come in contact with the untapped knowledge that was developed over time by the experiences of the individual. This theory uses a cognitive psychology and biology approach used by educators that draw the significance of the various ways that knowledge is created in order for people to adapt to the world around them. It conflicts with the perspective of being able to develop the knowledge’s and form the connections between their ideas and similarities. John Dewy, Jean Piaget, Montessori, and other Constructivists helped to shape the methodology and ideology by articulating the different ways in which people view knowledge. According to Piaget, through the different processes that accommodate and assimilate knowledge, people have the ability to create new knowledge’s from their ongoing experiences. “Through assimilation, individuals include their new experiences into an already existing framework without changing it.”(Kliebard, 2004).

Within the theory are several key factors that are used in learning that include the influence of language, social activity, and the human connections between teachers, students, and others. In learning people must acquire knowledge from several sources in order to assimilate from the foundation that it is built on. The concept of learning is not a rushed activity but instead takes patience and time dependent on the instructor and the factor of motivation. Motivation is extremely crucial in learning because it helps one to understand the ways in which knowledge is indispensable. Learning is actively processing new information and knowledge as the inputs of sources travel to the sensory that put meaning to it. People that choose to learn have to be connected to the world around them, the significance is based on the mind being able to create meaning as the experiences and actions play substantial roles in the development.  People gain knowledge of studying as they acquire information. According to Geary, Constructivism impacts the present curriculum by permitting students to express their skills such as, computer skills, and different styles of learning to curriculum. (Geary, 2005). This theory helps in introducing subjects that make the curriculum useful in being able to solve problems, thinking critically, and analytical techniques. “Behaviorism is a worldview that assumes a learner is essentially passive, responding to environmental stimuli.”(Learning-Theory, n.d) According to perspectives from different theorist, behavior is closely associated with the obtainment of learning based on the innovation within the environment.

Behaviorism involves the concept of conditioning as it utilizes two categories, behavioral conditioning that arises in reaction to a strengthened incentive as the reward of an action will continue to transpire the same reaction each time. The concept of classic conditioning guarantees that with the same structure motivation can be used in response to the actions done. Behavioral theory is a complex theory to comprehend due to its dependence on using incentives for actions, and incorporating guidelines for conduct. “Due to its affirmative and unconstructive fortification procedures, it can be highly effective for example when take care of human disarrays such as nervousness disorders, rebellious behaviors, and autism. (Baun, 2005) Teachers who recompense or discipline student behaviors use behaviorism often. Unlike the theory in constructivism, behaviorism constructivists permit the use of teachers implementing when learning institutes the practice of investigations and experiments and investigations, which undoubtedly places more on the teacher in teaching them new knowledge that gets developed.

Connectivism is a learning theory that is based on the framework of learning. “In connectivism, the starting point for learning occurs when knowledge is actuated through the process of a learner connecting to and feeding information into a learning community.” (Kop, Hill, 2008) The theory is based on the assumption that the existence of knowledge is not in people but in the world. It is the application of set of connections standards to identify both the acquaintance and the process of studying. Downes and Siemens did much research on this theory where they believe, “The capacity to know is more critical than what is actually known.” (Siemens, 2008) Throughout this theory the use of the nodes or communities where knowledge is distributed is part of a larger network of information where, resources are shared, and contribute to the learning process of individuals within the nodes. When people want to learn they go to the community where the process is cyclical, and repeats as information is stored, shared, and developed with new experiences and knowledge. According to the book, “Curriculum can offer the possibility for students to be the makers of such networks. The problem for their teachers is to stimulate an awareness of the questionable, to aid in the identification of the thematically relevant, to beckon beyond the everyday.” (Flinders, 2012)

The way that curriculum and understanding of curriculum theory is useful in education, and different subject relies on each practice, theory, and approach to education and teaching.  In all areas where curriculum is learned and taught, the principles and theories are used as guides for educators that involve the use of inclusive learning that differentiates the wide ranging participation that positions the student at the forefront in education. Factors that educators used in developing an individuals’ mind are the use of emotions and personal growth. The educator should keep having a clear understanding of the role within the classroom as in relation as what is expected by the student. These theories in the curriculum are useful and essential framework used by educators for centuries in developing knowledge, and motivating learners to obtain knowledge through the use of past and present experiences, and planned out strategy that guides them in achieving their underlined goals. Equipped with these tools, educators and teachers should instigate conversation between students which helps to stimulates action which, in turn encourages personal and educational growth. The significance of using curriculum theory is seen throughout the developments of the learner and the growth of the educator.

References

“Behaviorism.” Learning-Theories. (N.d). Retrieved from http://www.learning-theories.com/behaviorism.html

English, L, and Larson, R. Curriculum Management for Educational and Social Service Organizations. 2nd ed. (2006). Springfield, Il: Charles C. Thomas.

Flinders, David. J. (2012). The Curriculum Studies Reader. Routledge Publishing.

Kop, Rita, Hill, Adrian. Connectivism: Learning Theories and Instruction. IRRODL. (2008). Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/523/1103

M. Schiro. Curriculum Theory: Conflicting Visions and Enduring Concerns. (2005). Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA.

Mednick, Fred. “Curriculum Theories.” Connexions. (N.d). Retrieved from http://cnx.org/content/m13293/latest/

Parkay, Forrest W., Eric J. Anctil, Glen Hass. Curriculum planning: A Contemporary Approach. (2006). New York: Pearson.

Stenhouse, L. An Introduction to Curriculum Research and Development. (1975). London: Heinemann.

Smith, M. K. “Curriculum theory and practice.” The Encyclopedia of Informal Education. (1996, 2000). Retrieved from www.infed.org/biblio/b-curric.htm.

Taba, H. Curriculum Development: Theory and practice. (1962). New York: Harcourt Brace and World.

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