Saturday, 29 October 2011

Curriculum Development

Currently, the United States has been regarded as a land of milk and honey among migrant individuals seeking for employment in the said country. This phenomenon made the country a location where a fusion of diverse cultures, nationality, and customs. Furthermore, an ensuing result particularly in the education sector has also been given. The population of both public and private schools are now crowded with a significantly diverse  studentry. This calls for the institution of a multicultural curriculum.


At the end of the year 2000, children of color comprised one-third of all students enrolled in public schools and it is projected that by the year 2020 this figure will increase to 40% (Cushner, McClelland, & Stafford, 1996). Although the increasing diversity among populations of children reflects a significant change, diversity is not limited to racial composition. Changing family composition, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, religion, and varied abilities of children have an effect on society’s expectation of what should be included in the school experience (Garibaldi, 1992). Acknowledgment of these changing demographics has resulted in a great deal of attention focused on how to best prepare preservice teachers for entrance into the diverse classroom.


The majority of prospective teachers are from backgrounds with limited exposure to diversity. In fact, 95% of elementary school teachers are middle-class, Caucasian females (Zimpher & Ashburn, 1989). To be successful in a diverse classroom, teachers must become culturally sensitive. Teachers are working with increasingly diverse populations of children from a variety of racial, cultural, ethnic, linguistic, economic backgrounds, and diverse family types with varying customs, traditions, and histories (Hill, Carjuzaa, Aramburo, & Baca, 1993). The culture of teachers will vary from the children they teach. Teacher education programs are often challenged to transform the teachers’ culturally isolated background in order to become culturally sensitive to students with whom they are not acquainted with their students’ backgrounds or communities. Additionally, teachers may have preconceived ideas about teaching diverse populations based on their unique socialization process and their previous experiences. These processes influence attitudes and beliefs. The perceived obstacles for teaching a diverse curriculum are imbedded in these beliefs and attitudes.


Interestingly, as the population of children is becoming more diverse, teachers entering the profession continue to reflect majority culture (Villegas, 1991). Therefore, the culture of teachers will contrast from the culture of the students they teach. This realization is important because what teachers say, perceive, believe, and think can support or thwart students (Nel, 1992). Beliefs influence how teachers may teach (Kagan, 1992) and how they understand multiculturalism (Sleeter, 1992). This poses a problem as teachers entering the workforce are of the majority whereas the population of students is becoming increasingly more diverse. Because there is greater likelihood that teachers will be working with students whose cultural backgrounds differ greatly from their own (Dilworth, 1992; Fox & Gay, 1995), it is of great importance that teachers become aware of individual cultural perspectives and that they have an opportunity to reflect on various forms of diversity.


In some cases multiculturalism is defined in terms of process, that is, ways in which teachers and students interact in the process of teaching, learning, and living together in schools. In other cases multiculturalism seems to be a product–a curriculum to be learned with new forms of knowledge to be achieved and evaluated. A third approach seems to define greater multiculturalism in terms of presage criteria, such as: (a) things we can know about a school before setting foot in it; (b) the ethnic background of the teachers, students, and administrators; (c) the curriculum materials in use; (d) the number of languages used in the school program; (e) the nature of parent involvement in decision-making; and (f) the criteria used for determining students’ achievement. (Post, 1994)


These approaches are not always mutually exclusive. (Zeichner, 1993) Advocates frequently use more than one way of viewing greater multiculturalism. The problem is that there is seldom a conscious recognition that one or more ways are being used simultaneously since there is rarely any connection between the problems being addressed and the objectives being advocated. Following are the major ways in which reformers seem to be using multiculturalism in their various, frequently conflicting, advocacies.


Multiculturalism is regarded primarily as a new form of content and goal. In this approach the emphasis is not on “what” curriculum is to be taught but on “how” it will be taught. A strength of this approach is that connecting students’ background of experiences with the school curriculum makes the lives of teachers and students working together all day easier, and more pleasant and meaningful. A weakness of this approach is that it assumes existing curriculum to be essentially adequate and focuses on how to motivate students to connect with it.


Strength of this approach is that it recognizes that students are taught by the formal and informal school curriculum. A weakness of this approach is that it requires changing everything about a school since, in one way or another, everything sends multicultural messages of one kind or another to the students. Typically, multiculturalism seems to have become the purview of social scientists and educators. In this approach scientists, environmentalists, and members of societies worldwide provide new content regarding what constitutes multicultural content. Strength of this approach is that students may expand their multicultural concerns to the international level and to physical sciences. A weakness of this approach may be that issues can appear to be resolved with scientific data when many of the underlying concerns are actually value differences among culture groups. Another criticism is that it would be better to focus students on cleaning up the water and air in their local communities rather than dissipating their interests and energies on worldwide concerns.


 Nevertheless, the need for an imposition of values education in schools particularly in the level of K-12 is proposed. Nonetheless, a strict adherence on multicultural values is needed in order to fully imbue the principles of the curriculum to the diverse student population. Cultural diversity is therefore one of the most pressing influence in the development of a curriculum. Positive cultural diversity means that societal groups coexist harmoniously, secure in their distinctive social, ethnic, religious, and gender patterns. They feel equal in their accessibility to the resources of a nation, including civil rights and political power. (Perry and Fraser, 1993) Cultural diversity implies that all separate groups abide by a set of societal norms that stress tolerance for group differences and endorse the belief that interests of no one group can be placed before the welfare of collective groups. Such an ideal view of cultural diversity suggests that society is stratified horizontally, with each group potentially sharing in each level of that community’s economic, social, and political hierarchies. Not all members of a particular group will experience such mobility, but multicultural practices ensure that each group has the opportunity to do so.


Negative cultural diversity means that separate groups regard each other suspiciously, resulting in competition for economic, social, and political power. This view also implies that groups are unequal, that some groups are dominant and more powerful than others, and that one or a small number of groups decide what is proper for all groups. In this view of diversity, society is likely to be organized vertically with traditional social groups occupying different levels in the society’s economic, social, and political hierarchies. One group, for example, will tend to perform one set of occupational roles and to exist predominantly in one social-status level, guarding its position jealously and resenting the attempts of other groups to become upwardly mobile (Solomon, 1985).


Strategies for imbuing this phenomenon in the curriculum must take into account that formal education historically has tended to reinforce the societal values of the powerful and privileged. Although numerous educational reform movements since the 1960s have sought to move the curriculum toward a more multi-cultural center of balance, the sad truth is that many of the negative values have remained and have sometimes become even further ingrained through what stylistically has been labeled “the hidden curriculum” (Bonwell & Eison, 1991).


The need of a solid values education of students is reflected in various works. It is widely accepted among educators and researchers involved with community service programs that reflection is an important factor in promoting students’ personal and sociomoral development (Billig, 2000; Waterman, 1997). The standard interpretation of the benefits of reflection is that academic goals are promoted through the acts of oral and written reflection, and that personal development is enhanced by drawing students’ attention to the types of personal changes taking place and linking actions and effects. However, if the fields of community service and service learning are to develop a body of “best practice” knowledge, the relationship between theory, research, and practice must be strengthened. One topic in need of attention is a more precise specification of varieties of student reflection within community service settings, and the relationship between the characteristics and quality of such reflection and students’ personal and sociomoral development.


A useful and insightful theoretical perspective on how community service experiences promote personal and sociomoral development has been presented (Yates & Youniss, 1996; Youniss & Yates, 1997). Building on the work of Erikson (1968), they suggest that adolescents struggle to understand themselves in relation to society. In the process of searching for an identity, adolescents attempt to identify with values and ideologies that transcend the immediate concerns of self and instead have historical continuity. Community service offers an opportunity for adolescents to form an identity with links to mature social membership. On a related work, the Building Decision Skills (BDS) curriculum (Born & Mirk, 1997), the structured ethical reflection that was integrated into the community service program, consists of ten lessons designed to help middle school and high school students develop an awareness of the need for sound ethics and to teach them a method of reasoning about ethical dilemmas. After activities designed to define the shared (core) values of the students and their community, the curriculum shifts students’ focus from reasoning about right-versus-wrong dilemmas to reasoning about right-versus-right situations. It is the latter focus that is at the heart of the curriculum. Four right-versus-right decision paradigms are presented and students participate in identifying how these conflicts play out in ethical dilemmas: truth versus loyalty, self versus community, short term versus long term, and justice versus mercy. Once students are able to utilize the decision paradigms to analyze ethical dilemmas, three decision principles are presented: ends-based thinking (utilitarianism), rule-based thinking (Kant’s categorical imperative), and care-based thinking (Golden Rule). Students then practice the curriculum’s decision-making techniques by applying them to hypothetical dilemmas, as well as real-world dilemmas that the students or teacher might broach in class.


The proposed curriculum is geared towards accomplishing a mission of teaching values education through enhancing the sociomoral development of the students while adhering to a multicultural perspective. This curriculum shall encompass all subjects of social sciences. The curriculum shall adhere to the definition of Banks (1988) stating that the racial, ethnic, and gender variety that comprises American society is regularly and normally reflected in the materials, references, assumptions, words, and actions of the school’s work and life. Such a curriculum assumes that Americans come from all races and ethnic groups, and men and women of all races and groups have helped build this country. Today all are a vital part of society, playing a wide variety of roles. A non-sexist curriculum is one in which proper and fair recognition of the achievements and potential of women as well as men in American life and history is given as a regular and normal part of the schoolwork. Such a curriculum is one in which ethnic, racial, and gender stereotyping in school activities, work, and materials is identified and countered.


In implementing a multicultural curriculum for imbuing sociomoral growth as well as values education, it involves several objectives. Its objectives could be as broad as enhancing multiethnic and multicultural understandings, building healthy human relationships and serf-concepts, improving the multicultural climate of schools, and implementing new curricula, which introduce and develop feelings of multicultural awareness and appreciation. Moreover, its thrusts could also be composed of specific objectives such as to create a non-threatening atmosphere for learning that will help students explore creative activities and succeed in school; help students become more culturally literate through; providing an atmosphere of equal opportunity for all students; foster appreciation of cultural diversity and developing positive attitudes toward people from other cultures and backgrounds; break down psycho-social factors which tend to isolate students or induce them to seek companionship only from others who share their backgrounds and cultural interests; and promote values education through social awareness particularly by engaging in service learning options.


The initial stages of the plan are conducted in one semester of an academic year. The first month of the semester shall be dedicated to the training of the faculty in facilitating the curriculum. The ensuing months will be used as a trial period to measure the effectiveness of the proposed curriculum. Moreover, the plan would only be tested for the social studies classes of the school. These subjects shall be converted into an atmosphere where the students are able to apply what they have learned in their respective classrooms to the real world. This shall be through what will be labeled as service learning options. This way social awareness as well as values education would be inculcated to the students. After the trial period, if it provided positive results, the curriculum revision shall commence.


Planners, over an extended period of time, will be involved in planning educational efforts that encompass classes, courses, or total educational programs. Numerous specialists have written much about how to evaluate educational programs. Models for evaluation are presented in textbooks with varying degrees of complexity. Some of the major concepts recommended by evaluation specialists can be found in several of the evaluation models, as authors pose similarities and differences. Specified objectives are contained in some models; in contrast, goal-free assessment is offered in others. The evaluation of the implementation of the curriculum by the faculty shall be based on the CIPP model developed by Stufflebeam (1983). The acronym CIPP was derived from Context Evaluation (C), Input (I), Process Evaluation (P), and Product Evaluation (P). The CIPP approach is based on the view that the most important purpose of evaluation is not to prove but to improve. The CIPP model has an essential dimension for assessing educational programs because it includes both process and product evaluation. But the model, as conceptualized by Stufflebeam, has an additional ingredient or component that further enhances its capability, and that is the inclusion of context evaluation. Context evaluation is designed to identify the strengths and the weaknesses in an educational setting as related to the instructional program. By determining the context, goals become more meaningful and the discrepancy between desired outcomes and the reality in which the educational program is taking place can be observed. If a program is being conducted in an area with full family support, conditions will be much different than for the same program offered in a setting in which there is a high level of broken homes and limited family support. The contextual difference can be a major factor. Finally, context evaluation records are an excellent means by which to defend the efficiency of one’s goals and priorities. Input evaluation was designed to provide assistance in the consideration of various alternatives in the context. Needs and environmental circumstances have a relationship to the selection of alternatives, which can better be understood with the support of input evaluation. Moreover, process evaluation can provide an ongoing check to help managers determine if the plan is being followed. It is, in this respect, a management function. The process evaluation should be designed to provide feedback so that managers will know if the project is progressing according to schedule and, if not, why. If a schedule is not being maintained, a manager can possibly allocate additional resources and make related schedule adjustments, as suggested through the process evaluation. In addition, the product evaluation is, as the term implies, an assessment to determine if the objectives specified for a class, course, or educational program have been reached. The focus can be on an individual student or group of students in product evaluation. Product evaluation can be viewed as short-term, exit measures or as follow-up studies.


The issue of cost-effectiveness is a final consideration when viewing the comprehensive structure for educational program evaluation. The allocation of prime resources (time, staff, space, information, materials) may be viewed from a number of perspectives and with various levels of intensity. Actually, in many situations, little or no consideration is given to the determination of cost effectiveness of a class, course, or educational program. In order to minimize this aspect, the criteria of Worthen and Sanders should be used as a benchmark. These conditions include internal validity, external validity, reliability, objectivity, relevance, importance, scope, credibility, timeliness, persuasiveness, and efficiency.


Staffing costs generally are not too difficult to identify. A complex issue frequently surfaces when a staff member spends only a part of his or her time in a given effort. A determination must then be made concerning what percentage of a full-time equivalent (FTE) is involved. Based on that estimate of the percentage of FTE involved, a figure for salary and benefits can be determined.


Organizational considerations can enter into costing out a program. If an existing organizational structure will suffice and no changes are required, an assumption may be made that no added cost is involved. If, however, an organizational change is involved, the cost determination may become complex and difficult to define.


When evaluating projects in an educational agency that are not in the instructional realm, Management by Objectives (MBO) has proven to be a most satisfactory approach. Through the use of the operational planning model and consideration of the measurable outcomes that have been identified, the next step–the identification of preliminary criteria for evaluation–can be reached. Each specified outcome should be accompanied by one or more criteria to assess when that outcome is reached and to make a determination about the effectiveness of the results.


Evaluation procedures and concepts can be adopted and modified to measure the effectiveness of a building project as contrasted to a new reading program implemented in the primary grades of a school. The degree of emphasis on measuring satisfactory results for accountability purposes may be different for a building project than the emphasis on improving the process of constructing a building. In other words, an instructional program evaluation effort may be directed primarily at program improvement, while in some management efforts, such as a building project, an effort to demonstrate accountability may receive more emphasis.


 


Reference:


Banks, J. (1988). Multicultural education: Theory and practice. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.


 


Banks, J.A., & Banks, C.A.M. (Eds.). (1995). Handbook of research on multicultural education. New York: Simon and Schuster.


 


Billig, S. H. (2000). Research on K-12 school-based service-learning: The evidence builds. Phi Delta Kappan, 81(9), 658-664.


 


Bonwell, C. & Eison, J. (1991). Active learning: Creating excitement in the classroom. Washington, D.C.: ASHE-ERIC.


 


Born, P., & Mirk, P. (1997). Building decision skills (2nd ed.). Camden, ME: Institute for Global Ethics.


 


Cushner, K., McClelland, A. & Safford, P. (1996). Human diversity in education: An integrative approach (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.


 


Dilworth, M. (1992). Diversity in teacher education. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.


 


Erikson, E. H. (1968). Identity: Youth and crisis. New York: W. W. Norton.


 


Garibaldi, A. (1992). Preparing teachers for culturally diverse classrooms. In Dilworth (Ed.),Diversit3, in teacher education: New expectations (pp. 23-39). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.


 


Hill, R., Carjuzaa, J., Aramburo, D., & Baca, L. (1993). Culturally and linguistically diverse teachers in special education: Repairing and redesigning the leaky pipeline. Teacher Education and Special Education, 16(3), 258-269.


 


Kagan, D. M. (1992). Professional growth among preservice and beginning teachers. Re. view of Educational Research, 62(2), 129-169.


 


Nel, J. (1992). The empowerment of minority students: Implications of Cummin’s model for teacher education. Action in Teacher Education, 14(3), 38-45.


 


Perry, T., & Fraser, J. W. ( 1993 ). “Reconstructing schools as multicultural democracies”. Rethinking Schools, 7(3), 16-31.


 


Sleeter, C. E. (1992). Multicultural education: Five years. The Education Digest, 53-57.


 


Solomon, I. (1985). Minority status, pluralistic education, and the Asian-American, Education 106, 88-93.


 


Stufflebeam, Daniel L. (1983) “The CIPP Model for Program Evaluation.” In Evaluation Models, ed. George F. Madaus, Michael S. Scrivens, and Daniel L. Stufflebeam. Boston: Kluwer-Nijhoff.


 


Villegas, A. M. (1991). Culturally responsive pedagogy for the 1990s and beyond. Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Services.


 


Waterman, A. S. (1997). An overview of service-learning and the role of research and evaluation in service-learning programs. In A. S. Waterman (Ed.), Service-learning: Applications from the research (pp. 1-11). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence


 


Yates, M., & Youniss, M. (1996). A developmental perspective on community service in adolescence. Social Development, 5(1), 85-111.


 


Youniss, J., & Yates, M. (1997). Community service and social responsibility. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.


 


Zeichner, K. M. ( 1993 ). Educating teachers for cultural diversity. East Lansing: Michigan State University, National Center for Research for Teacher Learning.


 


Zimpher, N. L. & Ashburn, E. A. (1989). The RATE project: A profile of teacher education students. Journal of Teacher Education, 40(6), 27-31.


 



Credit:ivythesis.typepad.com


No comments:

Post a Comment