Foundation of Education


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Foundation of Education

  1. 1. PFB1004: FOUNDATIONS OF EDUCATION TOPICS 10 & 11: EQUALITY OF EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY, EQUALITY OF EDUCATIONAL OUTCOMES AND EDUCATIONAL INEQUALITIES (FINAL EXAM)10.1 Equality of Educational Opportunity• “Opportunity” means “a situation or condition favourable for attainment of a goal”. “Educational opportunity” means “a situation or condition favourable for attainment of educational goals”. “Equality of educational opportunity” means that everyone is given equal situation or condition favourable for attainment of educational goals. Do you think everyone is given equal situation or condition favourable for attainment of educational goals? Discuss this with respect to factors that can hinder/hold back the equality of educational opportunity for Malaysian children, for examples: type of school; location of school, quality of teachers, or family background. Other than these factors, children themselves differ from each other in terms of general ability/intelligence, language ability, interest and attitude.• In USA, there is a legislation to ensure equal educational opportunity for all Americans. In USA, equal educational opportunity is simply defined as “equal access to schooling” (p. 202). At federal level, the focus of the legislation is to provide equal educational opportunities for female students, students of different races (White, Black, Indian, Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Hawaiian, Korean, and other races), students with limited English proficiency, students from low-income families, and students with disabilities (vision problems/blind or semi-blind, hearing problems/deaf & dumb, learning difficulties, mentally retarded, physical handicapped). In the early history of education in USA, only boys can go to grammar schools. To provide equal educational opportunity for girls, they were later allowed to study in these schools. Equal educational opportunity should also be given to children of different races, students with learning difficulties, students from low income families, students with disabilities, and students who live in different locations, for example, those who live in cities, towns or farms; so that they are not deprived of education.• In USA, the main idea of providing equal educational opportunity so that every child can be developed to his/her maximum potential. It means that public school administrators and teachers must provide education according to the needs and strengths of students, while making sure that all students acquiring minimum basic skills (reading, writing, speaking, arithmetic, thinking skills, ICT literacy). Court case: In USA, 15 African-American preschool and elementary school students living in a low- income housing project (p. 259) sued Michigan Board of Education in 1978 for denying them of equal educational opportunities. Their African American English differed from the English used by teachers and written materials in school, which violated Title 20 of US Code.• The Code says that no state can deny individuals educational opportunities due to their race, gender, or national origin, by failing to overcome language barriers that might inhibit learning. In this case, the Court acknowledged that Michigan schools had provided special assistance to these and other students through learning consultants, a speech therapist, a psychologist, a language consultant, tutors and parent helpers. The Court however ordered the School Board to develop plan whereby teachers would learn to understand home language of students and use it to teach reading skills and Standard English effectively (pp. 259-260).• US Supreme Court (Lau v. Nichols, 1974, p. 259) held that a school district receiving federal aid must provide special instruction for non-English-speaking students whose opportunities to learn are restricted because of language barriers/problems. This case was brought to the Court to solve language problem of 1,800 Chinese American students in San Francisco public schools, who spoke little or no English, yet they were not offered remedial English. The schools violated the Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which specifies that no one, regardless of race, colour, or origin, can be discriminated against or denied participation in programs receiving federal assistance. The Court ordered the establishment of bilingual programs. 1
  2. 2. • Children normally have about the same ability/intelligence to help them understand lesson contents. However, some have deficiencies, such as born with mental retardation, having problems with eyesight or hearing, or physically handicapped. How can we provide equal educational opportunity for them? Probably we cannot provide equal education for each one of them, but we can provide education to the maximum of their potential. For example, we may use modified curricula for those who are mentally retarded or having hearing problems.10.2 Equality of Educational Outcomes• As for the equality of educational outcomes, schools are to make sure that all students to achieve equal intended/desired educational outcomes for each school subject taken by students. The effective teaching and learning will help students to achieve the intended/desired educational outcomes. As we learn earlier, the educational outcomes can be divided into four major domains (cognitive, affective, psychomotor & social domains), and o ther domains (productive, physical, aesthetic, moral & spiritual domains). The educational outcomes depend on the subjects taken by students. Do all students take the same subjects? Definitely not. Hence, we can talk about equality of educational outcomes only for students who take the same subjects.• The effectiveness of teaching and learning, however, does not depend only on the quality of teaching/teachers, but also on the availability of teaching materials/resources, the ability of students to learn, and the quality of learning. The ability of students to learn depends on the general intelligence of students and learning materials/resources provided, while the quality of learning depends on the interest, motivation and extra learning materials available to students. Hence, quality of teaching and learning is very important to make sure similar educational outcomes can be achieved by all students, particularly for students with special needs. Therefore, what happen in the classroom and at home are of paramount important in achieving equality of educational outcomes for all students. The cases of English language deficiency mentioned earlier could be the major cause for inequality of educational outcomes for African and Chinese Americans.11.1: EDUCATIONAL INEQUALITIES• In the earlier history of education in USA, there were independent schools established by different ethnic and religious groups, that is, children from different ethnic groups or different religious groups studied in different types of schools. Since they learned different curricula/contents in different types of schools, therefore, they were not given equal education, and this is what we call “educational inequality”. One way to provide equal education to all students is to use common curricula for all students. Another example of educational inequality is when students are tracked into arts or science stream. When they are in arts track, they will study only arts subjects, while those in the science track will study science-related subjects. This causes educational inequalities.• In terms of delivery/pedagogy, we can choose teaching approach/method/technique suitable for students with different needs. For example, the pedagogy to deliver contents to blind students is different from normal students or deaf-and-dumb students. A proper pedagogy can be used as a way to provide educational equality to children with special needs, that is, using suitable pedagogy so that all students can learn all subjects and receive equal educational outcomes. In relation to this, schools need to provide appropriate teaching and learning materials and equipments, together with specialist teachers to implement proper teaching and learning to all students. Other than proper pedagogy, we can also allocate longer learning time for slow learners or students with special needs. As for examination, exam time should be longer for them, so that they have enough time to answer exam questions.• Three other approaches can be used in teaching students with special needs: (1) remediate students’ learning problems (for example, if a student could not write an essay, the teacher can remediate him/her by using concept-mapping technique); (2) compensate for student deficiencies (for example, if a student has eyesight problem, the teacher can ask him/her to sit in the front row or provide vision aids); and (3) capitalize on what the student prefers to do and do it well (for example, if the student 2
  3. 3. likes music, the teacher can encourage him/her to play piano; or if a student likes drawing, the teacher can encourage him/her to do drawings).11.2 Tutorial Activities• Read Table 10.2 (p 299) on “How teachers may treat high and low achievers differently”. The table gives you 18 different treatments when dealing with low achievers/slow learners. Try to understand these treatments. Which of these 18 treatments do you think are effective or not effective for teaching low achievers? Give reasons for your answers. You may also suggest other treatments for low achievers/slow learners. 3
  4. 4. PFB1004: FOUNDATIONS OF EDUCATION TOPIC 12: EDUCATIONAL REFORMS AND SCHOOL IMPROVEMENTS (FINAL EXAM)12.1 Educational Reforms and School Improvements• Reform means “the amendment of what is wrong, corrupt, or unsatisfactory to a better state”. Improve means “to bring to a more desirable or excellent condition”. Educational reforms and school improvements mean “the amendment of what is wrong, corrupt, or unsatisfactory in educational practices to a better state; and to bring to a more desirable or excellent condition of the schools”. Hence, educational reforms and school improvements deal with how we can change our education system and schools to a better education system and better schools.• During the twentieth century, education in USA was criticized by public, for example, teachers were using mechanical teaching and learning methods, administrators were incompetence, and parents were not interested in their children’s welfare (p. 116). As for the condition of classrooms, particularly in city schools, it was criticized that classrooms were not fit for human beings to breathe and teachers were badly treated. Schools were only interested to educate bright children and ignoring the slow or average students. School children were exploited as source of cheap labour during the rapid industrial growth in USA.• These require educational reforms and school improvements. For example, the introduction of laws on mandatory attendance of school protected the children by educating them and keeping them away from being employed as cheap labour force, while at the same time giving/securing more jobs for adults. At the same time also, there was a demand from the industry to use scientific methods to make education more effective. They suggested that education should produce specialists rather than generalists, so that after completing the school, students can work in specific industries.• As a result, many psychological testing were developed to measure students’ ability and intelligence. The results of these tests were used to stream students to academic programs or vocational and technical programs. The behavioural theories (reward & punishment) were used in teaching and learning so as to make them more effective. Public libraries were built to house thousands of books for teachers, students and public to use. Radio and television were also used to supplement the education provided by the schools. However, other than for teaching and learning, there were negative effects of television on students, that is, they became more violent.• Federal government had also influenced the educational reforms in USA, after Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation in schools was unconstitutional. Schools become the agencies for eradicating poverty and racial equality, that is, through education students will get better jobs and income, regardless of the race or social class. Federal government had provided financial assistance to school that served students from low-income families, legislation that guaranteed racial and sexual equality, provisions for students with disabilities, bilingual-bicultural programs, and career education.• Another example of educational reform and improvement was the Elementary and Secondary School Act (ESEA) 1965 which gave the power to federal government to set certain policies for elementary and secondary schools. The Act had provided funds and support for poverty programs, school libraries, textbooks, other instructional materials, counselling and health services, remedial instruction, research centres and laboratories for advance educational practice (p. 120). Later on, at local level, educational reforms and improvements were discussed to cater for district or local needs. 4
  5. 5. 12.2 Multicultural Education• Multicultural education can be defined as “an approach of educating students to understand and accept the cultural diversity of a country, and still can participate in the mainstream culture of the country”. Multicultural education is another example of educational reforms and school improvements. The multicultural education emphasizes on values and cultures of different groups of people in a particular country. The main aim of multicultural education is for students to appreciate values and cultures of groups of people based on, for example, gender, class, ethnic or religion. This aim can be achieved through multicultural teaching. There are five approaches to multicultural teaching.• (1) Teaching the exceptional and culturally different approach is teaching students with different backgrounds, such as students of a particular race, low-income students or special education students, for the purpose of assimilating them into mainstream values and cultures. Children are taught mainstream/common knowledge, skills, and attitudes that are needed for successful life in USA, which may be different from their own values and cultures. This will create conflicting values for the students in relation to their own values.• (2) Human relations approach is teaching students with different backgrounds to understand and accept each other on personal level. They are taught conflict mediation, which will help students to solve daily conflicts that arise, due to the differences in their backgrounds. One example of mediation program is “Teaching to Be Peacemakers”, which prepare students to apply negotiation and mediation procedures whenever a conflict arises. When students are trained to be their own peacemakers, student discipline problems decrease by 60%.• (3) Single-group studies approach is teaching students with different backgrounds to understand values and cultures of a particular group of people. The main purpose is for the students to appreciate group values and cultures by studying the group values and cultures. For example, students can participate in activities that feature the food, dress, and custom of foreign countries. The major drawback of single-group studies is that students tend to accept diversity of values and cultures more than unity.• (4) Multicultural approach is teaching students with different backgrounds to understand diversity of values and cultures. The major purpose of multicultural approach is for students to appreciate other values and cultures, and mostly use the contents of the single-group studies. One example of using multicultural approach in teaching is teaching algebra to African American students while listening to African drum-beats.• (5) Social reconstruction approach is teaching students with different backgrounds to understand social inequality and equality. Teachers will use students’ life experiences in discussing social inequalities, such as classism, racism; either from students’ own experiences or materials from textbooks or newspapers. Students are asked to think of ways that might solve problems related to social inequalities, to achieve social justice for all.12.3 Tutorial Activities• Read Figure 3.3 (p 70) on “Bank’s Approaches to Multicultural Curricular Reform”. Briefly explain these approaches in your own words. 5
  6. 6. PFB1004: FOUNDATIONS OF EDUCATION TOPIC 13: CURRENT ISSUES AND TRENDS IN EDUCATION (FINAL EXAM)13.1 THE CURRENT ISSUES IN EDUCATION• Public education system. Issues in education can be defined as “certain aspects of education that are worrying people”. For example, people are worried about public education system. Critics are worried that students are not getting the knowledge and skills that they needed, that teachers are not fully trained before entering the classroom, and that a big gap is forming between rich and poor schools (p 363). It means that students are not getting the knowledge and skills that they need for their daily life, teachers are not well trained, and there are differences in teaching and learning activities in the poor and rich schools. Do we have similar scenarios in Malaysia?• Control of curriculum in public schools. Educators and other citizens find difficulties in controlling curriculum in public schools. Government policy makers, parents, educators, and citizens want to decide on what is to be taught and learned in schools. Public demands changes in the curriculum, methods of teaching and learning, and process of assessment. The demand for changes called for teachers to change their practices. Department of Education demanded that by 2002-2003 all new teachers must be highly qualified, that means they must be licensed/certified and teaching only in the subject- matter (content) areas for which they are certified.• The use of technology in teaching and learning. The use of technologies, particularly the ICT, in teaching and learning, varies from school to school. For example, poor schools have less ICT facilities compared to rich schools. Another issue related to the use of ICT in teaching and learning is teacher knowledge and skills in using ICT. Teachers need to be trained on how to use the latest ICT hardware and software for teaching and learning, since the development in ICT is very rapid. Schools also need a lot of financial support to maintain the hardware and to purchase new PCs and software.• Teaching of Mathematics and Science. Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study in 1995 and 1999 had indicated that the mathematics and science achievement of US students were lower compared to Asian or European students. It was argued that the low achievement was due to the focus of mathematics and science teaching was on drill-and-practice, rather than understanding the concepts, principles and applications, as being practice by other countries, which also using project-based and solving-real-problem approach in teaching mathematics and science. In term of curricula, it was found that the contents the US students studied in grade eight were given to students in grade five of other countries.• Testing and Standard Achievement. American students were also found not often given tests and examinations while they were in schools. This could contribute to their low achievement in mathematics and science compared to Asian or European students. As a result, a ruling was introduced such that schools in all states must give annual tests to all students in grades three to eight in reading and mathematics. Schools also must document student achievement in report cards and also the School District must produce report cards for every school. Other than that, schools also must make sure students attain certain level of proficiency. Weaker students should be given personal tutorial to make sure they achieve at the highest potential.• Understanding Global Interdependence. The September 11, 2001 events had changed the American thinking about relationships to other people in the world. Other than this, the effects of national activities, such as economics, communications, and politics, had made the American thought that they were also just a part of the global community, with the term such as global village becoming a model. The process of understanding these 6
  7. 7. relationships now becomes the major issue and focus in American education. American education, through Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, had tried to make comparison of educational achievement within USA and with other countries in the world, and at the same time tried to understand education system of these countries.13.2 TRENDS IN EDUCATION• Trends towards common educational expectations. Implementing common educational expectations for all schools, teachers and students is one way to solve the issue of students are not getting the knowledge and skills that they need, teachers are not fully trained, and differences between rich and poor schools. Teachers need common curricula as guide for their teaching, and schools should have common mechanism to measure school effectiveness. States must make sure all students reach certain level of achievement in the examinations.• Trends towards comprehensive curriculum and assessment. The pressure from public on educational standards had motivated the curriculum and assessment reforms. The trend is to integrate the contents with characteristics of students, teaching methods, and relevant thinking skills to the contents, so that schools can have comprehensive curricula. As for assessment, the trend is to have more comprehensive assessment, not just depending on examination results, but more on project-based assessment.• Trends towards the application of technologies in teaching and learning. The application of technologies, particularly those related to ICT, needs substantial investment in the hardware, software and teacher training. Allocations of fund must be made to schools, to enable them to purchase the equipments and software. Teachers are now being trained and retrained on how to apply technologies in teaching and learning. All these trends can be regarded as educational reforms, and teacher professionalism will change accordingly.• Trends towards education for diversity. Schools were asked to make sure all students get similar educational outcomes. However, students are different for example some are motivated to learn, while others are not. If they are to have similar outcomes, they need different types of support. These include developing different curricula and instruction for students with different cultures and subcultures, and for students with special learning needs. A new trend to cater education to students with different needs is teaching them in inclusive classrooms. One example is to teach special-needs students in the same class as normal students, rather them in putting them together in special classes. However some argue on the problems of suitability of curricular and instruction for special-needs students (p. 368).• Trends towards character education. Character education is teaching students about values with the hope to shape students’ character. Schools were pressured to add character education in addition to the normal knowledge and skill curricula. Three approaches were suggested for character education: views, virtues, and values. The views approach will encourage students to state their views on certain controversial issues related to, for example, politics or religion. The virtues approach will help students to develop good habits and virtues to become responsible adults. The values approach (most popular in schools) will help students to know the values that are desirable to people. The six core values are trustworthiness, respects, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship. 7
  8. 8. •13.3 TUTORIAL ACTIVITIES • Read on “How are links to technology changing the foundations of education” (pp 371- 75). Briefly explain how technology had changed the foundations of education. 8