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Curriculum Ideologies in the Classroom

Info: 3098 words (12 pages) Essay
Published: 10th May 2021 in Teaching

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A1 Social Reconstruction key Elements

     Social Reconstruction ideology asserts our schools should become the agent of change in society through which societal reconstruction can take place.  Proponents of this ideology submit that society is flawed by injustices like racism and gender and economic inequities.  They believe that the main goal of a school curriculum should be to educate students on how to correct these injustices.  Social reconstructionist assume that education if revitalized along the lines they recommend has the power to educate people to analyze and understand social problems, envision a world in which those problems do not exist, and act to bring that vision into existence (Shiro, 2013).  In this ideology, the teacher is considered a colleague of the students and may adapt the curriculum according to social norms.

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      For social reconstructionist, schools are the beginning point where future citizens learn the necessary skill that will help alleviate social injustices and become the agents that bring about positive change.  Social Reconstructionist maintains that an educational curriculum should not be separate from the current social issues, but rather should embrace those issues to bring about change.  Educators are thought of as having a responsibility to empower students with the knowledge that will bring about positive social reforms. 

     The Social Reconstructionist ideology would not be the most effective ideology to apply in my current classroom setting due to the subject I teach.  I teach Algebra, which is a subject that requires processes, procedures, and proof to derivative a solution, thus there is little applicability of making social issues part of the lesson.    Although probably not impossible, it would be difficult to incorporate a lesson plan that sought to correct or address the injustices of society.  For example, it would be difficult to try and teach a lesson on solving quadratic equations by completing the square and then having to incorporate some aspect of social injustice into the plan.  My students would be better served by a curriculum that gave them the flexibility to solve the problems in ways that more suited their learning style, as opposed to learning skills designed to correct societal injustices.  I believe that education should be used to better the individual apart from what society thinks or needs.  Improvement of the individual should be the primary goal of education.  I would favor more of a learner-centered ideology where each student would have the opportunity to grow according to their abilities and attributes.

A2 Social Efficiency

     The aim of education is twofold:  to perpetuate the functioning of society, and second, to prepare the individual to lead a meaningful adult life in society.  An individual achieves and education by learning to perform the functions one must perform to be socially functional (Schiro, 2013).  Education is thought of as the knowledge needed to help the student become a productive member of society by imparting practical and useful knowledge learned in the classroom.  The student is seen as a future adult and must be educated to prepare them for their eventual lives as citizens in society.  Social Efficiency ideologist believes that if the student is properly prepared through education, they will become productive members of society.  Learning in this ideology is carried out through a sequence of steps, where each step must be mastered before moving onto the next one.  Social Efficiency ideologists define learning as a change in behavior which leads to a change in performance.

     The teacher’s role in this ideology is comparable to the business model of most companies.  The teacher takes on the role of a manager who supervises the work of the students, and aids in the development of skills that can be beneficial for society.  The Social Efficiency ideologist believes that the goals of assessments are to evaluate to which extent changes in the students’ performance are taking place.  Evaluations are given frequently and are used as a guide for the teacher to facilitate growth in the student.

     I do not believe that the Social Efficiency ideology is one that I could implement in my class because I do not believe that students should be placed in a predetermined role in society.  This ideology is based on the idea that the student will have a specific role as an adult to fulfill, and that the job of education is to prepare them for this role.  I disagree with the premise that students should be though in terms of what they could potentially provide society.  Education should be based on the idea of exploration and discovery, and the needs of society should not be allowed to have the right to crush the needs and desires of individuals.  I teach my students to analyze facts and question why things are the way they are.  If I were to implement this ideology, I would feel that I was somehow taking away from the individual potential of each student, and I would feel responsible for their inability to strive for the unreachable.   

A3 Scholar Academic Ideology

     The Scholar Academic ideology is based on the idea that the purpose of education is to teach students basic knowledge from many different disciplines, which will give them the needed skills to be successful.  The main goal of this ideology is the inauguration of the student into an academic discipline, in the hopes that the student will learn to think similarly to the way an expert in a particular discipline would.  This ideology goes far beyond trying to get students to think and act like academics, but rather it encourages students to embrace the discipline in a way that creates new learning experiences.   Curriculum workers who use the Scholar Academic view curriculum creation from the perspective of the academic disciplines (Schiro, 2013).  This means that a curriculum would be based on particular disciplines, and all subjects not falling within a particular discipline would not be taught.  A curriculum based on the Scholar Academic ideology would be void of social, political, and economic issues, and the learning process, in general, would be secondary to the discipline.

     In the Scholar Academic ideology, the essence of a person is their ability to think and reason.  The goal of focusing on particular disciplines is to cultivate the human mind.  Students are seen as lacking intellectual maturity, but quite capable of obtaining academic growth through rigorous study of different academic disciplines.  Teachers are seen as mini-scholars whose main purpose is to transfer knowledge to the student.  Teachers are also thought of as essentially being the mediators between the curriculum and the student.  The Scholar Academic ideology sees assessment as an important tool for ranking students and asserts that the assessments should be objective. 

     The scholar Academic ideology curriculum is composed of a set of core objectives for each discipline that a student needs competency in.  Since the core objectives are the result of the collaboration of experts in each discipline, I feel confident using these objectives as a basis to plan my lessons.  The objectives of a class are what experts consider essential if a student is to have an appropriate grade level proficiency.  As a math teacher, it is reassuring to have objectives that have been peer-reviewed by subject matter experts, to assist me in ensuring that I impart what is considered standard grade-level knowledge.  I believe that the Scholar Academic ideology fits well with objective oriented coursed like math because the objectives are laid out for both the teacher and the student.  I also like the fact that this ideology focuses on the competency of a particular discipline, and gives the students the freedom to learn the subject without external influences. 

A4 Learner-Centered Ideology

     Learner-Centered ideology is based on the premise that the learner should be at the center of the curriculum, and the needs and interests of the learners are the driving factors of how education is driven.  This ideology holds to the idea that each student has the potential to excel when allowed to properly interact with their environment.  Although Learner-Centered ideologists believe students are capable of academic growth within the correct environment, they also acknowledge the student must be the driving force that actualizes the change.  Students are encouraged to be creative and come up with new ideas, and the self-expression and self-worth are valued.  Schools that follow this type of ideology, would have a curriculum that is filled with different activities for students to have the opportunity to experience a wide array of interactions.  For example, a Biology may initiate a greenhouse garden to physically experience how plants grow, as simply reading about it in a text.

     In a learner-Centered ideology, the student takes center stage so much so that their interests are the catalyst that guides the design of the curriculum.  According to child psychologist Jean Piaget, people grow through distinctly different developmental stages.  Learner-Centered ideology builds along the same line as Piaget by stating that learning is accomplished when students acquire understanding and knowledge through their own experiences.  The Learner-Centered ideology takes on a constructionist approach which assumes that the learning constructed based on the students’ experience and interactions.      Teachers help to facilitate student growth through experiences by acting as a bridge between the student and the environment to They are also responsible for creating the physical, social, emotional, and intellectual environments to which are designed to stimulate the growth of the student.  In the Lerner-Centered ideology, assessments are rarely used, and teachers use observation of students’ work to diagnose areas where students may need improvement.

     I believe the Learner-Centered ideology could be useful in my classroom.  In mathematics, students learn to solve problems-based experience and knowledge that is cumulative.  I like the idea of having my students use prior knowledge to solve problems, and I believe that this type of individualized experience provides a more profound learning experience.  A curriculum that is student-centered is more likely to focus on the needs of the students, which allows the teacher to see areas that need attention.  This type of ideology allows students to experience learning tasks that they may have an interest in.  Implementing and ideology that encourages student interest in math is a great way to stimulate academic growth and create a sense of enjoyment and enthusiasm in the class.

B Personal Philosophy

     I choose to incorporate the Scholar Academic and the Learner-Centered ideology into designing my ideology.  I like the idea of combining pre-set objectives from field experts, with a student-centered approach.  I believe that there are certain skills that students need to know in math to be successful, but I also feel like teachers need to be more receptive to how students learn the material.  I believe the classroom should be an academic sanctuary and inclusive of all students regardless of gender, race, or economic status.  In my class, I use the learning objective as the measuring rule for the equality of all students.  I also like the Learner-Centered ideology, because the students’ abilities and experience are considered as part of the overall learning experience.  For example, in my Algebra class, I may require my students to learn how to solve quadratic equations using the quadratic formula.  Using the Scholar Academic ideology, I know that being able to solve quadratics using this formula is a valuable skill because it is one of the best know and quickest methods. 

B1 Personal Philosophy

     If I see students struggling with understanding and using the quadratic formula, I would incorporate another ideology to help my students.  I would use the Learner-Centered ideology by dividing the students up into groups to work on the problems together.  Working in groups would allow students to be able to help each other solve the problems from more of a student perspective.  While the students are working in groups, I would circulate the classroom, and facilitate the correct procedure.  When I allow my students to work in groups, I notice that they seem to enjoy the interactions with their peers, and they seem to be much more productive and engaged.  

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     I would use the Academic Scholar ideology in my classroom to help maintain certain standards in a particular subject, and I would use this method to help develop logical thinking.  For example, I would give the class a rather complicated problem such as dividing negative and positive exponents and ask then to solve it.  The students may be able to solve the problem by retrieving the exponent rules from their memory, or they may have great difficulty.  After giving them some time to work on the problem together, I would go to the board an solve the problem based on mathematical proof.  The proof would show that once you expand out your terms, it just becomes a matter of dividing and canceling out like terms.  This example of using the Academic Scholar ideology was based on showing students how to derive solutions without rote memory.  I have empowered my students to understand why instead of the what.  I have also given my students an example of logical-mathematical thought, which will help to lay the foundation for solving future problems.  Although it may seem like I have taught my student how to do math problems, I have given them the keys to begin to understand logical thought.  

B2 Instructional Setting

     I teach in a therapeutic boarding school for boys who have some form of autism or behavioral issues.  I have different academic levels within the classroom, and many of my students will return to normal schools when they graduate.  I have to maintain academic standards so that the credits will transfer, but at the same time, I have to consider that each student is very different.  I believe that combining the Academic Scholar and Learner-Centered ideology would be best for my class.  The Academic Scholar ideology would help me maintain the academic rigor, and allow me to focus on the way something is the way society defines it.  The Learner-Centered ideology would allow me to consider the individual abilities of each student. 

     If a student were having problems with a particular objective, I could begin to institute alternative methods such as group learning, personal tutoring sessions, and alternate forms of learning.  The Learner-Centered ideology would allow me to accommodate the different learning styles by having project-based learning, group learning, and other non-traditional forms of learning.  The combination of these two ideologies would help to give my student objective structure in an inclusive environment. 

C Strategies for Implementation     

       I would implement my ideology by designing more group projects with rotating members.  I believe that by implementing a project-based learning strategy in my classroom, both ideologies could be fused to create an effective system of learning for all students.  The main way I would implement my strategy would be through group-based projects, where each member of the group worked together to solve an assigned objective.  Working in groups allows students to share knowledge, and helps each one communicates different ideas for learning effectively.  This sharing of knowledge helps students that may be struggling with the objective, and the group members would take on the role of a type of mini teacher.  Rotating or changing group members for each project would allow every student to benefit from the multiple interpersonal interactions, and help to expose them to a wider set of knowledge bases. 

C1 Strategies Justification

     The project-based learning in groups would help to maintain a higher academic standard while addressing the individual concerns of each student.  Group-based projects would be effective because it allows students to share knowledge, and teach each student that they must do their part in the group to reach a solution.  Since knowledge is the key to understanding in mathematics, the group setting would act as a mini classroom where students help other students fill in gaps in knowledge.  Having a set of objectives and making all students in the group work on the same objectives, regardless of ability, would help to promote fairness and equality.  Since we learn new things by building on past knowledge, the group setting would create an interactive environment where different knowledge bases come together to form new skills and ideas.

     The group setting would place each student on an equal level, while at the same time allowing students to help one another who may be struggling with a particular concept.  Although the students would be working in a group setting, the needs of the individual learner could be addressed by the other members of the group.  The strong members of the group would act as a sort of scaffolding support to the weaker members of the group.  The group dynamic would help to instill a sense of personal social responsibility towards the accomplishment of the goal.  When students work on projects in groups they learn valuable skills such as planning and critical thinking, and their creativity and interpersonal adeptness are strengthed.  The project-based learning in group incorporates aspects of the Academic Scholar and Learner-Centered ideology by combining elements from both ideologies in a realistic real-world type of joint venture.

References

Schiro, M., 2013. Curriculum Theory. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: SAGE Publications.

 

 

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