Amy Strange  - Synthesis Project
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Amy Strange - Synthesis Project



For my curriculum synthesis project, I completed a power point presentation defining the inquiry: What is curriculum? In order to best answer this question, I explored the seven dimensions of ...

For my curriculum synthesis project, I completed a power point presentation defining the inquiry: What is curriculum? In order to best answer this question, I explored the seven dimensions of curriculum. This exploration allowed me to identify the key components of each of these dimensions while utilizing multimedia tools to highlight these components. Following review of these dimensions, I synthesized what I learned about curriculum from this course.



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Amy Strange - Synthesis Project Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Amy Strange
    TE 818
    Curriculum Synthesis Project
    Fall 2010
    What is Curriculum?
  • 2. Curriculum Synthesis Project: Objectives
    Exploration of the following:
    Define curriculum
    Types of curricula
    Goals of curriculum
    Problems with the curriculum
    The 7 dimensions of curriculum
    Synthesis of curriculum
    Prior view of curriculum
    New view of curriculum
  • 3. Curriculum Synthesis Project: Definition
    What is curriculum?
    According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary (n.d.), curriculum is defined as the following:
    the courses offered by an educational institution
    a set of courses constituting an area of specialization
  • 4. Curriculum Synthesis Project: Definition
    Elliot Eisner defines three types of curricula that are found in school (1994).
    These include the following:
    Explicit Curriculum
    Material that is specifically chosen to be taught in schools
    Implicit Curriculum
    Material that is unintentionally taught in schools
    Null Curriculum
    Material that is not taught in schools
  • 5. Curriculum Synthesis Project: Definition
    • David Labaree has identified the following competing goals of the curriculum (1997).
    • 6. Labaree concludes that these 3 competing goals cannot all be fulfilled at the same time. Therefore, a balancing act is required.
  • Curriculum Synthesis Project: Definition
    According to John Dewey (1990), there are a few key problems with the educational curriculum.
    Two of these problems include the following:
    Students don’t have a connection to the curricular material
    Students are not motivated by the curriculum
    These problems stem from the lack of a connection between the student’s mind and the curriculum.
  • 7. Curriculum Synthesis Project: Definition
    In order to get a clear understanding of what curriculum entails, consideration of the seven dimensions of curriculum is necessary.
  • 8. The 7 Key Dimensions of Curriculum
  • 9. 1. Philosophical Dimension
    Hochschild & Scovronick (2003) claim that one of the goals of the educational system is to create equal opportunities for the development of democratic citizens.
    They argue, however, that not all students are afforded the same educational opportunities due to their race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
    Variance in these areas are embedded into the structure of the educational system which squelches any attempts to create equal opportunities for students.
    Curriculum Synthesis Project: Definition
    “The American dream that we were all raised on is a simple, but powerful one—if you work hard and play by the rules you should be given a chance to go as far as your God-given ability will take you.”
    – Bill Clinton
  • 10. 1. Philosophical Dimension (Cont.)
    A citizen’s financial and political background shapes their access to educational opportunities (Hochschild& Scovronick, 2003).
    Therefore, the climate that a student is raised in shapes their success in school.
    The climate that a student is raised in is also what dictates, shapes, and impacts the following:
    state wide differences in educational opportunities
    district wide differences in educational opportunities
    school wide differences in educational opportunities
    class wide differences in educational opportunities
    The result is a perpetual cycle of the old adage:
    The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer.
  • 11. 2. Historical Dimension
    A few key views/events influenced the educational system and it’s curriculum during the 19th and 20th Centuries.
    Curriculum Synthesis Project: Definition
    (Mann, 1884; Kliebard, 1998; Lararee, 2010; & TE 818, 10/13)
  • 12.
    • “A Nation At Risk” (1983) examined and drew conclusions about the educational system and its curriculum.
    • 13. The recommendations of this study are summarized below:
    2. Historical Dimension (Cont.)
  • 14. 3. Political Dimension
    Philips & Hawthorne (1978) and Apple (1991) argue that:
    Curriculum design, development, and evaluation are all political behaviors.
    The state holds responsibility for education through the following:
    Legislature mandates the time spent in school
    Textbook adoption
    State approval of charters / curriculum
    State certification
    Although the state is responsible for making educational decisions, individuals at the local level have a greater understanding of curricular issues.
    Therefore, there are the following problems with this system:
    Students, parents, teachers, and principals aren’t involved in the curricular / educational decision making process
    Other administrators make the decisions
    There is no involvement of the community or social activists
    There needs to be understanding of the system to change the system
    Curriculum Synthesis Project: Definition
  • 15. 4. Ethical / Moral Dimension
    David Hansen (1995) claims that all teaching and curriculum is a moral act.
    In fact, he claims that there are moral messages in the classroom, that teachers are unaware of, which are as important as the formal curriculum.
    Curriculum Synthesis Project: Definition
  • 16. 5. Cultural Dimension
    Lisa Delpit (1988) claims that there is a “culture of power” that encompasses the following:
    Those in power are least aware of the existence of the culture of power
    The rules of the culture of power are not explicitly taught to minority students
    As a result, minority students fail
    Cultural literacy is the possession of basic skills that all people have in order to succeed in modern world (Hirsch, 1988).
    Hirsch states the following:
    These basic skills are referred to as a set of “background knowledge”
    There has been a decline in the acquisition of background knowledge
    This decline impacts the cultural literacy and success of our students in adulthood
    Curriculum Synthesis Project: Definition
    “We do not really see through our eyes and hear through our ears, but through our beliefs.”
    - Lisa Delpit
  • 17. 6. Global Dimension
    The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) was spawned due to the inability of the United States to keep up with the accomplishments of competitive nations.
    Zhao (2007) claims, however, that NCLB will not help prepare students for a life in a globalized and technological world.
    The attempted fixes as a result of NCLB were the wrong fixes; they killed creativity.
    Creativity is what leads to scientific innovations
    Creativity is needed in order to remain competitive in the world market
    Curriculum Synthesis Project: Definition
    • Therefore, there needs to be implementation of the following fixes:
  • 7. Technological Dimension
    Technology is referred to as the tools which people use for communication and information purposes (TE 818, Nov 17).
    This includes technology used for educative purposes. Including the following:
    Computer software / programs
    There is a debate about the use of technology in schools.
    This debate includes the following viewpoints:
    The high cost for technological tools
    The lack of evidence supporting the claim that the utilization of technology improves academic performance
    The increase in instructional options with using technology
    This debate involves the following groups:
    Techno-phobes: against technology
    Techno-utopians: for technology
    Techno-realists: middle ground
    Curriculum Synthesis Project: Definition
  • 18. Curriculum Synthesis Project: Synthesis
    Prior to my increased understanding of the seven dimensions of curriculum, my knowledge about the complexity of curriculum was inadequate.
    My prior view of curriculum encompassed:
    A lack of understanding of the degree to which philosophical, political, and cultural variables impact students from different races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic classes.
    An invalid assumption that teachers have a say in choosing the content of the curriculum that they teach.
    A misguided understanding of why teachers focus on rote memorization of facts, and teaching to the test.
    Misunderstanding about the role of Sputnik in shaping the change in focus of the United States curriculum.
    Incorrect knowledge about the role of the United States educational system / curriculum in the context of a global economy.
  • 19. Curriculum Synthesis Project: Synthesis
    After learning about the seven dimensions of curriculum, I have amended some of my views about the curriculum in the United States educational system.
    My altered view(s) about the curriculum include:
    Students from all races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic classes should be provided equal opportunities to receive a high-quality education. This includes ensuring that they are provided the background knowledge necessary to be successful.
    Concepts from the implicit & null curriculum should be included in the explicit curriculum.
    Teachers should be aware of how their values & morals are modeled in the classroom.
    Curricular content should be driven by the knowledge of individuals at all educational levels. This includes educational professionals, teachers, administrators, parents, and students.
    Teaching methodologies should not focus on teaching to the test, and rote memorization. Rather, it should focus on fostering understanding and creativity.
    The educational system should shift their focus to increasing their students’ understanding of multiculturalism so that they can become global citizens.
    Although teaching methods should not be antiquated, there is not a necessity for teachers / schools to get expensive technological items.
  • 20. Curriculum Synthesis Project: Summary
    I have reviewed the following in hopes of defining the question:
    “What is curriculum?”
    Define curriculum
    Types of curricula
    Goals of curriculum
    Problems with the curriculum
    The 7 dimensions of curriculum
    Synthesis of curriculum
    Prior view of curriculum
    New view of curriculum
  • 21. The end
  • 22. Curriculum Synthesis Project: References
    Apple, M. (1991). Conservative agendas and progressive possibilities: Understanding the wider politics of the curriculum and teaching. Education and Urban Society, 23(3), 279-291.
    “Curriculum” (n.d). Retrieved from:
    Delpit, L. (1988). The silenced dialogue: Power and pedagogy in educating other people’s children. Harvard Educational Review, 58(3), 280-298.
    Dewey, J. (1990). The child and the curriculum. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
    Eisner, E. (1994). The educational imagination: On the design and evaluation of school programs. (3rd Edition). New York: Macmillian College Publishing Company.
    Hansen, D.T. (1995). Teaching and the moral life of classrooms. Journal for a Just and Caring Education, 2, 59-74.
    Hirsch, E.D. (1988). Cultural literacy. (Preface and Chapter 1). New York: Vintage Books.
    Hochschild, J., & Scovronick, N., (2003). The American dream and the public schools. Oxford: University Press.
  • 23. Curriculum Synthesis Project: References
    Kliebard, H. (1998). Effort to reconstruct the modern American curriculum. In Landon E. Beyer and Michael W. Apple (Eds.), The Curriculum: Problems, Politics, and Possibilities. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.
    Mann, H. (1848). 12th annual report on education in the State of Massachusetts. Massachusetts State Board of Education.
    Labaree, D. (2010). Educational formalism and the language of goals in American education, educational reform, and educational history. Educational Research, 4, 41-60.
    Labaree, D. (1997). Public goods, private goods: The American struggle over educational goals. American Educational Research Journal, 34(1), 39-81.
    Phillips, J. A. & Hawthorne, R. (1978). Political dimensions of curriculum decision making. Educational Leadership, 2, 362-366.
    TE 818 Lecture. November 17 Class Section: Lesson # 11 – Technological Dimensions of the Curriculum.
    TE 818 Lecture. October 13 Class Session: Lesson # 6 - Historical Dimensions of the Curriculum, Part 2.
    U.S. Department of Education. (1983). A Nation At Risk. A report by the National Commission on Excellence in Education.
    Zhao, Y. (2007). Education in the flat world: Implications of globalization on education. Edge Magazine (Phi Delta Kappa International), 2(4). 1-19.