Folundation of Education


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Folundation of Education

  1. 1. TOPIC 7: POLITICS OF EDUCATION (FINAL EXAM)7.1 POLITICS OF EDUCATION • Politics can be defined as: “the use of strategy to gain any position of power or control”. Hence, politics of education can be defined as: “the use of strategy to gain any position of power or control through education”. We once taught that education was value neutral and apolitical (not political), however, curricular theorists argued that education is political, since curriculum has been used as an instrument for advancing particular political ideologies and agendas. The curricular critics are usually using opposition politics to voice their dissatisfactions about education. • The Americans are exposed to three political ideas, that is, the democracy of the collective, the democracy of free-market capitalism, and the neo-Marxist socialism. The politics of education are not going to focus on these ideas, but rather on the ideas and values of various groups within American society. Multicultural education indeed is very political, i.e. the pressure from various groups on the ruling political-party of the government. As there are more individuals and groups/ organizations influencing the government in shaping public education, more of their views will influence school curricula. • The formal sources of power in shaping public education are school governance leaders. The informal sources are the elected lawmakers who have to listen to public opinions on school education. Other than these, citizen groups are also working together with schools to create changes in schools based on their political beliefs. Since 1960s, African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic (Spanish-speaking peoples) Americans and Americans with disabilities (pp. 206-07) had demanded that schools to respond to their needs. Since they are voters, their demand/ pressure on education can be considered political. • Other pressure groups on education are special-interest groups such as National Parent- Teacher Association (NPTA) and The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). NPTA, the largest volunteer educational group in USA, was very successful in shaping education policy pertaining to curricula, instruction and governance in public schools at local, state and national levels. ACLU is a legal organization that defends US citizens against the attacks on their civil liberties (freedom). For example, Tennessee Law during 1925 (p. 207) forbade public school teachers from teaching any theory that denied the theory of creation described in the Bible. ACLU helped teachers to fight against this law and won the case. • Though there are critics that support the opposition political parties, the Americans have people who share the common voice of the mainstream culture. They are not going to be silenced and will be heard. The different views among political parties will be increasingly relevant in future. For example, the issues of censorship are very political, that is, will people resist it totally, or to have it applied to educational materials only. Hence, all discussions about moral and character education can be considered very political, since they relate to the concern, respect and empathy for others (Who are they? The voters?).7.2 TUTORIAL ACTIVITIES • Read about the groups that influence education in USA (pp. 205 – 211). Describe how each of these groups influences education in USA: (a) political influences, (b) 1
  2. 2. special-interest groups, (c) mass media, (d) federal government, (e) national goals, and (f) state government. TOPICS 8: CURRICULUM, PEDAGOGY AND THE TRANSMISSION OF KNOWLEDGE (FINAL EXAM)8.1 INTRODUCTION • Generally, we think of curriculum as what to be taught in schools, pedagogy as the method of delivering them, and the transmission of knowledge as transfer of knowledge, skills and attitudes to learners. This topic will give you the definition of curriculum and explain the foundations of curriculum, curriculum development, pedagogy, and the transformation of knowledge; and the relationships between them. We will also look back at the aims, goals, and objectives of education. 8.2 CURRICULUM • Curriculum definition. There are many definitions of curriculum. For this course, we can simply define curriculum as “the knowledge, skills and attitudes to be transferred to learners and the strategies to achieve them”. Generally, the strategies would include the plan for the learners to go through some specific experiences that can help them to achieve these goals of education. For example, if the goal is for students to master science-experiment skills, they should experience doing science experiments. • Foundations of curriculum. The major foundations of education are the philosophy, history, psychology, sociology and politics. As we translate education into curriculum, the foundations of education become the foundations of curriculum. The philosophy of education explains the aims of education of a particular country. For example, the education in Malaysia is designed to produce Malaysian citizens who are knowledgeable and competent, and possess high moral standards”. • Curriculum development. As we learned earlier, a curriculum is developed based on political, social, economic and cultural contexts of a country. The curriculum developers should decide what kind of knowledge, skills and attitudes to be transferred. They need to consider personal needs, community values, social issues, economic motives, future needs, and knowledge continuity, before a curriculum can be developed, whether it is a general curriculum, or a specific subject-matter curriculum. • The flow from the philosophy, aims, goals, and objectives of education is shown in the following diagram. The philosophy will determine the aims, the aims will determine the goals, the goals will determine the objectives, and finally the objectives will determine the curricula at the subject-matter (content, pedagogy & assessment) and school levels (primary, secondary & tertiary). All these elements have direct relationship to curriculum development. Philosophy Aims Goals Objectives Curricula • As we learned earlier, the aims of education are the statements of the functions to be transferred to the learners, for example, “making individual literate”. Educational goals are statements of specific purpose of education at subject-matter/school levels (knowledge, skills & attitudes); such as “all Year 1 pupils should be able to read and write simple sentences in English”. Educational objectives are statements of learning 2
  3. 3. outcomes, for example, “at the end of this course, students should be able to write short stories in English”. 8.3 THE MALAYSIAN CURRICULA• Malaysian school curricula are developed centrally by the Centre for Curriculum Development (CDC), Ministry of Education (MOE) Malaysia, based on the following National Philosophy of Malaysian Education (NPME) (CDC, 1988). “Education in Malaysia is an on-going effort towards further developing the potential of individuals in a holistic and integrated manner, so as to produce individuals who are intellectually, spiritually, emotionally and physically balanced and harmonic, based on a firm belief in and devotion to God. Such an effort is designed to produce Malaysian citizens who are knowledgeable and competent, who possess high moral standards and who are responsible and capable of achieving high level of personal well-being as well as being able to contribute to the harmony and betterment of the family, society and nation at large”.• The philosophical foundations of Malaysian curricula. Some keywords in the NPME will help us match our philosophy of education to the type of general philosophy of education. Some of these keywords are: “holistic”, “intellectually, spiritually, emotionally and physically balanced”, “knowledgeable and competent, who possess high moral standards”, and “responsible and capable of achieving high level of personal well-being as well as being able to contribute to the harmony and betterment of the family, society and nation at large”.• Based on these keywords, we probably can match NPME to the general educational philosophy of Progressivism, which stresses that “school should be a miniature of democratic society in which students could learn and practice the skills and tools necessary for democratic living; which include problem-solving methods and scientific inquiry; and learning experiences that include cooperative behaviors and self-discipline; which are important for democratic living”.• The aims and political foundations of Malaysian curricula. The aims of Malaysian education are “to produce individuals who are intellectually, spiritually, emotionally and physically balanced and harmonic, based on a firm belief in and devotion to God; so that they become Malaysian citizens who are knowledgeable and competent, possess high moral standards and are responsible and capable of achieving high level of personal well- being as well as being able to contribute to the harmony and betterment of the family, society and nation”.• Are these aims similar to four (4) aims proposed by The Educational Policies Commission (USA)?, that is, (1) self-realization (inquiry, mental capabilities, speech, reading, writing, numbers, sight and hearing, health knowledge, health habits, public health, recreation, intellectual interests, and character formation); (2) human relationships (humanity, friendship, cooperation with others, courtesy, appreciation of the home, conservation of the home, homemaking, and democracy in the home); (3) economic efficiency (work, occupational appreciation, personal economic, consumer judgment, efficiency in buying, and consumer protection); and (4) civic responsibility (social justice, social activity, social understanding, critical judgement, tolerance, conservation of resources, social application of science, world citizenship, law of observance, economic literacy, political citizenship, and devotion to democracy). These aims have political elements in them, which can be regarded as the political foundations of education. 3
  4. 4. • The social foundations of Malaysian curricula deal with “the origin, development, organization and functioning of human society that are related to the growth process of the individuals and society”. These foundations become very important in Malaysia because of the rapid change in our society. The aims “to produce Malaysian citizens who possess high moral standards and being able to contribute to the harmony and betterment of the family and society” have certain sociological elements in them, such as ethnic integration.• The psychological foundations of Malaysian curricula deal with the psychological elements of human being that are used to determine the aims of education and pedagogy. Some keywords in the NPME are related to psychology, for example, “an effort towards further developing the potential of individuals” and “to produce individuals who are intellectually, spiritually, emotionally”, which indicated that people have different abilities (mental & physical) and multiple intelligences; and education should develop these potentials to the maximum.• The historical foundations of Malaysian curricula deal with the past events of a particular country that had influenced the education of that country. These historical elements are used to determine the aims of education. The keywords like: “on-going effort”, “in a holistic and integrated manner”, and “intellectually, spiritually, emotionally and physically balanced and harmonic” may suggest that our past education did not address these issues, i.e. the importance of life-long learning, and well-rounded-person education. 8.4 PEDAGOGY• Pedagogy can be defined as “method of teaching”. Shulman (1986) had introduced the concept of “pedagogical content knowledge”, which combines the knowledge about content, learner, and pedagogy to come up with a suitable teaching method for a particular content and learner(s). Therefore, a teacher needs to master the content knowledge, the general pedagogy, and also the characteristics of the learners to be able to design an effective teaching and learning activities so that the delivery of content to a specific group of learners is effective.• Examples of content and pedagogy are given in Figure 10.5 (p 283). The process starts from the aim of education to curriculum orientation, roles of students and teachers, curriculum content and instructional/ pedagogical approach (we have teaching methods for a particular teaching approach, and teaching techniques for a particular teaching method). For example, in direct instruction approach, we can have “lecture” as teaching method, and “explaining lecture notes and ask students to apply the concept taught” as techniques.• Take for example, the aim of education to “teach students how to learn” with curriculum orientation/goal of “development of cognitive processes” (p 283); role of students to “relate new content to prior knowledge”; role of a teacher to “facilitate students’ learning”; and curriculum content of “problem-solving skills”; the instructional/pedagogical approach suitable to this content is “scaffolding: inquiry learning”. Scaffolding here means to support/help students going through the stages of the problem-solving processes.• Four teaching/pedagogical models are given in Figure 10.6 (p 286), namely the Behavioral-Systems-Family Model, Social-Family Model, Information-Processing- Family Model, and Personal-Family Model. Different learners and different objectives 4
  5. 5. usually require different pedagogical models. Successful teachers usually have a variety of pedagogical models (approaches, methods & techniques) that they can use for teaching different subjects, contents or objectives to different types of learners (such as low, moderate or high abilities).8.4.1 Behavioral-Systems-Family Model • Three approaches in this model are: (1) Mastery Learning, (2) Direct Instruction, and (3) Computer-Assisted-Instruction. Mastery learning is based on the idea that the quantity learned depends on student’s aptitude, motivation, and quantity and quality of teaching. The aptitude is defined as the amount of time (not natural ability) a student requires to master an objective. Mastery is defined as the performance at 80% of the objective. • Mastery learning believes that any student can master any objective provided that he/she is given enough time, is motivated to learn, and the teaching is appropriate for their needs. Think about blind students. What are their needs? How to best teach them? How long do they need? Teacher’s role in mastery learning is to break the content into small manageable objectives, determine students’ needs with respect to learning materials, teach in the ways that meet their needs, and evaluate their progress regularly (p 286). • Direct instruction: Like mastery learning, direct instruction is very structured (with a list of objectives to achieve) and teacher-centered (content-centered). The methods and techniques of teaching heavily based on behavioral principles, such as modeling (students watch actors), feedback (rewards & punishments), reinforcement (drill & practice, revision, memorization) to teach basic skills (reading, writing, mathematics). This approach seemed effective (minimum efforts, maximum outcomes) and becomes quite popular. • Computer-aided instruction: CAI uses the capabilities of computers to facilitate teaching and learning. Specials software can give tutorials to students on new contents, just like a teacher facilitates direct instruction or mastery learning. Some software can be used for drill and practice or to review previous contents, or to give tests, test marks, and feedbacks to students. Computer-managed instruction (CMI) is another form of CAI that has the ability to record student progress, in addition to tutorial features.8.4.2 Social-Family Model • Four approaches in this model are: (1) Cooperative Learning, (2) Peer Tutoring, (3) Project-Based Learning, and (4) Reciprocal Learning. Pedagogical approaches in social- family model facilitate students to work together in a group (teamwork) to achieve both the academic and social objectives of education. Teachers just help students by giving guides/directions, answer questions from students, check their progress, and solve issues that arise from discussions or problems in carrying out group/teamwork. • Cooperative learning: This approach promotes group/team efforts to carry out tasks given to the group. Instead of each student works on his/her own to understand new concepts (such as what is a graph) or to master new skills (such as how to draw graph). One cooperative learning technique is the Students Team-Achievement Division (STAD), whereby a teacher uses direct instruction to teach certain concepts or skills, followed by students working in small heterogeneous groups to understand the concepts and master the skills taught. • Peer tutoring: This approach involves teaching/tutoring of other students by a particular student. The tutoring tasks are rotated among students, which indirectly promotes academic leadership among students. Each student is responsible to make sure he/she 5
  6. 6. understands the contents and masters the related skills properly before he/she is able to teach/tutor other students. The teaching/tutoring is done in small groups, which requires the group tutors to cooperate with each other in preparing tutorial contents, skills, and materials. • Project-based learning: This is another form of group learning, whereby students are given a project(s) to do and report back to the groups/class. The project problem(s) can come from students, teachers, or schools. Students will carry out the project by “asking and refining questions, debating ideas, making predictions (hypotheses), designing plans and/or experiments, collecting and analyzing data, drawing conclusions, communicating ideas and findings to others, asking new questions, and creating artifacts” (p 289). • Reciprocal teaching: This approach teaches students four strategies in reading comprehension, namely, (1) summarizing the content of a passage, (2) asking the question about the central point, (3) clarifying the difficult parts of the material, and (4) predicting what will come next. Research has shown that the reciprocal teaching some successful results for students with far below average in reading comprehension. After 20 hours of practice, the students in the bottom quarter had move up to second and some to third quarter in the class. • In reciprocal teaching, first the teacher and groups of students read a short passage silently. Then the teacher provides a model by summarizing, questioning, clarifying, and predicting based on the reading. Next, every student reads another passage in small groups, and they take the role of the teacher. Each group then presents the four elements to the class, while the teacher provides the feedbacks. In the process of preparing the report, the teacher also provides clues, guidance, and encouragement (what Vygotsky called scaffolding).8.4.3 Information-Processing-Family Model • Three approaches in this model are: (1) Concept Formation, (2) Inquiry Learning, and (3) Synectics. These approaches stimulate the development of thinking skills such as observing, comparing, finding patterns, and generalization. The approaches are based on information-processing and constructivist theories that explain how information are gathered through our senses, stored and retrieved from our memory, and explain how we process the information and take action. • Concept formation method is used to help students analyze and synthesize data/information to construct knowledge about a specific idea, such as “plant classification”. In this case, a teacher would ask students to observe a variety of plant specimens, group the plants according to some characteristics, and give a name for each group of the plants. Students, later, are asked to classify other plants into existing groups or students can create new group(s) of plants. • Inquiry learning helps students to do research to solve problems given to them, based on facts and observation, just like the scientists doing experiments. Students construct their own knowledge based on their research or inquiries. In inquiry learning, the teacher’s role is just to guide students to: (1) define the problem; (2) formulate hypotheses; (3) gather data; (4) organize data and modify hypotheses accordingly; and (5) generalize from findings to form new theories. • Synectics is a teaching method that helps students to increase problem-solving abilities, creative expression, empathy, and insight into social relations. The method begins with 6
  7. 7. the understanding of certain basic concept, followed by deeper understanding of the concept. For example, a teacher may introduce the concept of pollution, and asks students about the effect of pollution. Later, the teacher may ask students to compare the effects of chemical pollution compared to construction-waste pollution, for deeper understanding about pollution.8.4.4 Personal-Family Model • Two approaches in this model are: (1) Individualized Instruction, and (2) Nondirective Teaching. The personal-family model encourages students to decide what they want to learn and how they want to learn. This will help students to develop/discover effective learning styles and positive self-concepts. The individualized instruction is a teaching method that is tailor-made to a particular student, depending on his/her ability, interest, motivation, learning style, or achievement. • In nondirective teaching, a teacher helps a student to learn based on student’s own interest and goals. The teacher may ask a student to identify a problem, be responsible to solve it, to explore own feeling when solving personal problem, to explore his/her feeling about others when dealing with social problem, and to determine his/her own interest and competence when solving academic problems. Teacher would meet a student one-to-one as to give time for the teacher and student to have a proper discussion.8.5 TUTORIAL ACTIVITIES • Read on “What Is Effective Instruction?” (p 292). Describe in your own words: (a) Effective instruction, (b) understanding students, (c) communicating, (d) creating learning environments, (e) adapting instruction for students with special needs, and (f) evaluating student learning. 7
  8. 8. PFB1004: FOUNDATIONS OF EDUCATION Course Leader: Prof. Dr. Abdul Razak Habib TOPICS 9: SCHOOL AS ORGANIZATION AND TEACHER PROFESSIONALISM (FINAL EXAM)9.1 Introduction• This topic will focus on school organization and teacher professionalism in USA. This topic will provide an overview of the different types of schools in USA, from Kindergarten (K), Elementary School (K/1-6 or K/1-8), Middle School (5-8), Secondary School (7-12), Post-Secondary School (Community Colleges, State Colleges, State Universities). 9.2 School as Organization• School Districts. “A school district is a state-defined geographical area responsible for providing public instruction to students living within that area” (p 172). School district provides effective administration and financial services, and standard curriculum for all schools. There were 16,850 districts in USA in 2000, with 94,090 schools, and 47.7 millions students (pre-kindergarten to grade 12). The smallest district (Nebraska) has 2 schools & 394 students, and the biggest district (New York City) has 1,207 schools and over 1 million students.• Types of Schools. The 3 types of schools are public schools, public alternative schools, and private schools. (Figure 7.1 p 173). The public school levels are: (1) Kindergarten (K), (2) Elementary School [Primary School (K Grade 2), Intermediate School (Grades 3–6)], (3) Middle School (Grades 5-8), (4) Secondary School [Junior High School (Grades 7-8, or 7-9), High School (Grades 7-12, 9-12, or 10- 12], and (5) Post-Secondary School (Community Colleges, State Colleges, State Universities).• Public Alternative Schools include Head Start, Pre-kindergarten Programs, Laboratory Schools, Non-graded Schools, Magnet Schools, Charter Schools, Accelerated School, Cluster Schools, Vocational-Technical Schools, Professional Development Schools, Government-Run Schools, and Home Schooling. The Vocational-Technical Schools provide programs in the areas of cosmetology, food preparation, law enforcement, horticulture, automotive repair, building construction, data processing, etc.• Private Schools include Nursery Schools & Preschools, “Concept School” Alternatives (Montessori Schools, Waldorf Schools), “Ethnic School” Alternatives (Afrocentric Schools, Reservation Schools), Parochial/Religious Schools (Catholic Schools, Christian Academies, Hebrew Schools, Islamic Schools), College Preparatory Schools, Trade Schools, Military Academies, Junior Colleges, Colleges and Universities, and Adult Education Centers.• Teachers can choose to teach at any of the school levels, for example, teaching in preschools or teaching in graduate schools. Enrolment in preschools is not very high since the cost of sending children to preschools is high. But, by the age of 5 (required by law), most parents send their children to public schools (less expensive), and some send to private schools (more expensive). The grades in schools depend on the student population in the districts. If the population is small, a school will provide education from Kindergarten to Grade 8.• Secondary Schools or High Schools usually provide education for Grades 9 to 12 (Form 3 to Lower 6). High schools usually prepare students for higher education, such as technical or vocational institutions, two-year colleges (taking Certificate or Diplomas), or four-year colleges and universities (taking Bachelor degrees). The choice of the institution depends on student’s interest and also the cost of pursuing education at the particular institution.9.3 Administration of Schools• Board of Education. Figure 7.2 (p 187) shows the management structure of schools in the United State. The public (people in a district) will appoint members of the District Board of Education 8
  9. 9. (DBE), and DBE will appoint the School District Superintendent. Board of Education is the legislative policy-making body responsible for making sure schools are run by competent individuals. The board sets policies and hires employees to carry the policies.• School District Superintendent is the chief executive officer (CEO) of a school district. Three Assistant Superintendents, namely, Assistant Superintendent (Administration), Assistant Superintendent (Personnel), and Assistant Superintendent (Curriculum), are appointed to assist School District Superintendent. The school principals are appointed to manage schools together with the instructional and support staff to deliver the curricula and manage the students.• Assistant Superintendent (Personnel) will supervise the school principals, while the Assistant Superintendent (Curriculum) will coordinate the curricula, including special education, for all schools in the district. Assistant Superintendent (Administration) will coordinate the business and finance, including maintenance of grounds, buildings, and buses; for all schools in the district. People in the district will meet the School District Superintendent if they are not happy with the education system in the district.• Principal. Schools are administered by School Principals who are responsible the everyday operations of the schools. Large schools have one or more Assistant Principal(s). Principals are responsible for administering discipline, deal with teachers and other staff, locate substitute teachers, balance school budget, and maintain building and equipment. Due to a lot of work to be done, nearly half of the principals have to work 60 hours per week, that is about 12 hours per day.• Issues that schools face include retention, that is, to retain students in a particular grade until they have mastered the curricula for that grade. Holding students back in a particular grade does not solve the problems, because students are not motivated to learn because of the stigma attached to it. Class schedule and class size also become issues to school. Longer class period and small class size are supposed to make instruction more effective. Research indicated that small class (20 students) is more effective than bigger class.• Tracking is another issue, that is, to group students homogeneously based on their ability. The critics of tracking argued that students are grouped based on unclear criteria. For example, the low-track classes usually comprised of students with behaviour problems, rather than those with low academic achievement. Once they are placed in low-track classes, usually it is very difficult for them to improve academically. Those who support tracking argued that if high-ability students are placed in the same class, they can be taught faster.9.4 Teacher Professionalism• The five steps of professional practice (REFLECTIVE TEACHING PROCESS) for teachers (pp. 25, 389) are: (1) they perceive problems and opportunity ( PERCEIVE - alert to what is going on around them); (2) they can articulate their values in relation to values ( VALUE) of others they work with (other teachers) and serve (students); (3) they possess some specialized knowledge ( KNOW), for example, they know lesson content, how to communicate, and appropriate pedagogy to use; (4) they act based on their perceptions, values, and knowledge ( ACT); and (5) they evaluate their actions and improve in future (EVALUATE).• Good teachers are not just born with the five steps of the professional practice, but they acquire them through trainings and experiences. This is a life-long learning for the teachers, since knowledge and skills cannot be mastered in a short time. Teachers gain their knowledge from successful and unsuccessful experiences. Teachers also can anticipate all the problems students will face, and they will discuss the problems and solutions with fellow teachers, students and parents.• Teachers as professionals differ from non-teachers at least in five aspects of teaching and learning: (1) they have the content knowledge of the subject-matter they teach; (2) they have the knowledge and skills of how best to deliver/teach a particular content; (3) they can understand learners’ needs in teaching and learning; (4) they know how to handle students with discipline problems; and (5) they know various methods/techniques to evaluate students’ academic achievement, skill performance, attitudes and social interaction. 9
  10. 10. 9.5 Tutorial Activities• Read about “What makes some schools more effective than others?” (pp 192-6). Describe the elements that contribute to school effectiveness.• The five steps of reflective teaching: (1) they perceive problems and opportunity (alert to what is going on around them); (2) they can articulate their values in relation to values of others they work with (other teachers) and serve (students); (3) they possess some specialized knowledge, for example, they know lesson content, how to communicate, and appropriate pedagogy to use; (4) they act based on their perceptions, values, and knowledge; and (5) they evaluate their actions and improve in future. 10
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