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Comments

Steve Fisher

I actually enjoyed this article. One always needs options when it comes to finding the best way to educate our children. Unfortunately this article did not present a logical option in my opinion. This style of teaching only spreads the gap between students, which ignores the concept of “No Child Left Behind." One must also think of the wide range in socio-economic levels in the U.S. The only students who would benefit from this method are those who can afford it, further spreading the educational gap between lower class and upper class. If this was to occur, the upper class would have an advantage, making it harder for the lower class to compete.

Allison Fishbein

In response to the title of this post: No, I do not think that our national curriculum is too busy, rather that it is too rigid. Education boards today seem obsessed with getting students into the most advanced levels possible in every subject area as well as with things such as high placement scores on standardized tests in order to raise their schools’ statistics. Rather than trying to cram more (such as important information about technology) into a day of learning mathematics, science, English, etc. I would suggest reformatting the organization of the day. Perhaps a lesson in technology could be combined with one in a history course by requiring students’ presentations to use a power point system instead of poster boards. Basically, I agree with the idea of constantly trying to improve students’ abilities. When I was young, the “average” math level upon entry to high school in my district was Pre-Calculus and the advanced level was Geometry. The year after me, the average class was changed to Geometry. When my parents were young, it was an even more basic math. I believe it is important to push children into more challenging classes because that is how we will ultimately improve as a society. However, that definitely does not require making their school day even busier.

Katie Schoen

"If they are given pointers some assistance when required, this free's up the teacher to work more closely with students who for varying reasons are not yet able to access information themselves." I completely agree with the idea of letting the students who know what is going on be able to explore themself so that the teacher can help the others who aren't understanding right away. Not only does this give the teacher a chance to help the students who need more guidance, but it also keeps the students who are a little a head from getting bored. It also keeps those students on track and interested in the class.

Melissa Reed

"The National Curriculum was designed at a time when teachers did have the monopoly on information. Students didn't have access to the wealth of information they do now."
I can't help but draw a parallel to the educational dilemma that was brought about with the invention of the printing press. Prior to that teachers had even more of a monopoly over information and the students were required to listen and memorize. Imagine how hard it must have been to transition into using books, which allowed students to learn information without the teacher telling them directly. I think that the more transitions the educational system goes though the easier those transitions will become. Transitioning to an Internet and technology based system will be difficult, but beneficial. We can only hope that we are paving the way for future generations to make easier transitions into future technology.

Mike Faurie

"The National Curriculum was designed at a time when teachers did have the monopoly on information. Students didn't have access to the wealth of information they do now." I agree fully with what everyone here was discussing, I also agree completely with this statement. I believe this shift of sources of knowledge is something that will soon need to be attended to. The role of teachers will become of no less importance than it does now, but I think the way that teachers will be teaching, to what extent, and how they will guide students will change. All in all it is a teachers job to educate, and if there are other sources of information out there that would greatly benefit students, it is the teachers job to educate about such things. I also believe it isn't exactly the whole syllabus that will have to change, but I think it's imperative it becomes a little more loose about the exact information that needs to be learned, based on standardized testing and grades. Adapting the internet into schools and a more unstandardized learning structure, is key to the future of education.

David McGill

I think that holding the students responsible for their knowledge of the easier concepts and subjects in a course's curriculum can work with a few guidelines. First of all, all students in the class need to have access to the internet, which, nationally, just isn't the case. This would work in suburban schools, but in urban or rural settings it would be difficulut for a teacher to find the time to help each student. Secondly, students need to be held accountable in some way for the information that they are supposed to learn on their own. We are currently supplementing my experiencing music class with online articles and information on different composers. The sad truth is that because we are not being tested on this knowledge, at least 90% of students do not do the readings.

I like this concept though. This way teachers can dig deeper instead of wider and student can really apply their knowledge in a classroom setting.

Shavon Coleman

Now I am just a teaching scholar but from my experiences and observations I have found that curriculum is not busy at all but really constrained and limited. It feels that most teachers are pressed to make sure students know the information on various standardized tests. I feel that there is little wiggle room for teachers to present new experimental and potential advanced material to students because A. you have a schedule you have to follow B. you have to make sure all the students are caught up C. Administration limits the time spent and subject matter. Also it is easy for us to say that since children to have easy access and knowledge of the internet and other research materials you can't just assume that they can find out things for themselves. There is still so many advanced programs and websites that children aren't aware of. For example, I am an avid internet user and have even made a couple of websites but once I got to my Curriculum and Instruction and was introduced to Wikispaces, Delicious, and 21classes it was overwhelming and hard to understand. Though I believe you summed things up nicely by saying it sound easy but difficult to actually act on.

Shavon Coleman

Nick Smith

I enjoyed and agree with this article’s points. I think that the students should be given separate topics in the course that relate to the materials being taught in the classroom. The students could be assigned into groups and select topics they would like to learn in the class. The teacher could put several topics on the board for the groups to choose from or they could suggest one. They could research the information and prepare a presentation using PowerPoint or even a video for the class. This makes the students more involved in the classroom and promotes the use of technology and communication. Also, this allows the teacher to be free to help the students explore their topics since he or she does not have to teach the material him or herself. Overall the students would find the class more engaging by having the freedom to choose. If we could give the students the freedom to choose we could breakdown the National Curriculum and create a new teacher/student curriculum.

Bridget Hood

I agree with you on many points such as when you say that students have access to an abundance of information, and that teachers should spend more time helping those students who do not know how to access information at easily using different resources. I think that teachers should not be afraid or feel threatened when their students know more about a topic than they do, or how to use different resources to find that information. Students are now growing up using technology whereas older teachers might not be comfortable searching the World Wide Web.

Some teachers are trying to change the way that students learn in the classroom, but at the same time the other teachers might be scared or nervous to stray away from the National Curriculum. I believe teachers should work together in little groups to come up with ways to advance students learning. Teachers that might not be good with the internet or using technology in a creative way should be in a group with other teachers who have a lot of information in this area. This is a huge obstacle for teachers to overcome, but hopefully sometime in the near future this is how students will learn.

Bridget Hood

Kyle Knee

To some extent I believe that this is a completely valid point. We know that students learn and retain information better when they have the chance to “teach themselves.” Student discovery is one of the most important parts of education, but you are right, the National Curriculum does exceedingly complicate the problem of providing these situations to students.
As a future math teacher this is something that will be very important to my students. Since the National Curriculum doesn’t leave a lot of time for teachers to expand in class material, they should be finding ways for students to learn outside the classroom as well. The vast expanse of information available today is sometimes an untapped resource. Creating activities or projects where students can learn related material on their on is highly advantages to deeper understanding. In my sophomore year of college one of my math professors assigned a project that required me and the other students to do lots of research that allowed us to relate the things that we were learning in class to new knowledge that we were learning on our own. Personally, this projected helped me to make connections in ways that I had never done before, and although it was difficult to learn new concepts about mathematics on my own, it was also very beneficial. I believe that experiences like this are what we as teachers and future teachers should be trying to do in our classrooms.

Veronica Pollack

This sounds like an effective but tricky way to go about teaching a classroom. Yet I do have my doubts about how this would happen. I don’t know if it is a good idea to allow the students who know how to access information to go ahead and learn, while the teacher spends more time with those who do not know how to access this available information. I can’t quite see how this could be beneficial. I agree with the second point that teaching them how to better access information and then helping them start could create good learning habits. I think we should find a way to implement some of these ideas, like teaching them good learning habits, without reconstructing the entire National Curriculum. It is important to keep all students engaged to their ability level, and to help them develop good learning habits. I hope to find ways to do this in my future mathematics classroom.

Veronica Pollack

Pearly

Interesting to know.

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