Tag Archives: education

Four Major Foundations of Curriculum and their Importance in Education

This article explains the four major foundations of curriculum and their importance in education. Examples are provided to stress the importance of curriculum in the academe.

Read on and reflect on some of the experiences you have had in school to match it with how philosophy, history, psychology and sociology influence those experiences of yours.

The Influence of Philosophy to Curriculum

Educators, curriculum makers and teachers must have espoused a philosophy or philosophies that are deemed necessary for planning, implementing, and evaluating a school curriculum. The philosophy that they have embraced will help them define the purpose of the school, the important subjects to be taught, the kind of learning students must have and how they can acquire them, the instructional materials, methods and strategies to be used, and how students will be evaluated.

Likewise, philosophy offers solutions to problems by helping the administrators, curriculum planners, and teachers make sound decisions. A person’s philosophy reflects his/her life experiences, social and economic background, common beliefs, and education.

When John Dewey proposed that “education is a way of life”, his philosophy is realized when put into practice. Now, particularly in the Philippines, Dewey’s philosophy served as anchor to the country’s educational system.

History and Its Influence to Curriculum

The history of one’s country can affect its educational system and the kind of curriculum it has. If we are going to trace the formal beginning of curriculum, we get back in time to Franklin Bobbit’s book entitled, “The Curriculum” which was published in 1918.

From the time of Bobbit to Tyler, many developments in the purposes, principles and contents of the curriculum took place. Please read the Six Famous Curriculum Theorists and their Contributions to Education for more information.

The Influence of Psychology to Curriculum

Curriculum is influenced by psychology. Psychology provides information about the teaching and learning process. It also seeks answers as to how a curriculum be organized in order to achieve students’ learning at the optimum level, and as to what amount of information they can absorb in learning the various contents of the curriculum.

The following are some psychological theories in learning that influenced curriculum development:

1. Behaviorism

Education in the 20th century was dominated by behaviorism. The mastery of the subject matter is given more emphasis. So, learning is organized in a step-by-step process. The use of drills and repetition are common.

For this reason, many educational psychologists viewed it mechanical and routine. Though many are skeptical about this theory, we can’t deny the fact the influences it had in our educational system.

2. Cognitivism

Cognitive theorists focus on how individuals process information, monitor and manage their thinking. The basic questions that cognitive psychologists zero in on are:

  • How do learners process and store information?
  • How do they retrieve data and generate conclusions?
  • How much information can they absorb?

With their beliefs, they promote the development of problem-solving and thinking skills and popularize the use of reflective thinking, creative thinking, intuitive thinking, discovery learning, among others.

3. Humanism

Humanism is taken from the theory of Gestalt, Abraham Maslow’s theory and Carl Rogers’ theory. This group of psychologists is concerned with the development of human potential.

In this theory, curriculum is after the process, not the product; focuses on personal needs, not on the subject matter; and clarifying psychological meanings and environmental situations. In short, curriculum views founded on humanism posits that learners are human beings who are affected by their biology, culture, and environment. They are neither machines nor animals.

A more advanced, more comprehensive curriculum that promotes human potential must be crafted along this line. Teachers don’t only educate the minds, but the hearts as well.

4. Sociology and Curriculum

There is a mutual and encompassing relationship between society and curriculum because the school exists within the societal context. Though schools are formal institutions that educate the people, there are other units of society that educate or influence the way people think, such as families and friends as well as communities.

Since the society is dynamic, there are many developments which are difficult to cope with and to adjust to. But the schools are made to address and understand the changes not only in one’s country but in the world as well.

Therefore, schools must be relevant by making its curriculum more innovative and interdisciplinary. A curriculum that can address the diversities of global learners, the explosion of knowledge through the internet, and the educational reforms and policies recommended or mandated by the United Nations.

However, it is also imperative that a country must have maintained a curriculum that reflects and preserves its culture and aspirations for national identity. No matter how far people go, it is the country’s responsibility to ensure that the school serves its purpose of educating the citizenry.

Now, it is your time to reflect. Can you think of your experiences in which the major foundation of curriculum can explain it?

Try to ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Why should I take history, philosophy, psychology or even PE subjects in college?
  2. Why is it that there is K to 12 and the mother tongue-based curriculum being implemented by the Department of Education?
  3. Why is there institutional amalgamation?
  4. Why is there “One UP” (One University of the Philippines) now in the Philippines?
  5. Why is there a need for a globalized higher education?

These questions imply that change will take place in the near future. So, brace yourself for the many changes that will take place in education!

Reference

Bilbao, P. P., Lucido, P. I., Iringan, T. C., and R. B. Javier (2008). Curriculum development. Quezon City: Lorimar Publishing, Inc.

© 2015 January 9 M. G. Alvior

Cite this article as: Alvior, Mary G. (January 9, 2015). Four Major Foundations of Curriculum and their Importance in Education. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from http://simplyeducate.me/2015/01/09/4-major-foundations-of-curriculum-and-their-importance-in-education/

Five Characteristics of an Effective Communication Arts Teacher

This article deals with the five characteristics of teachers who would like to be effective in teaching communication arts subjects. In addition, this article tackles the three levels of conceptualization and organization in language teaching, namely: the approach, method and technique.

Are you a student majoring in English? Or perhaps, you have been teaching English for so long, but is still interested to hone your craft in teaching? To begin with, you must be familiar with the characteristics of an effective communication arts teacher.

Five Characteristics of an Effective Communication Arts Teacher

1. A competent user of the language.

This means that aside from your ability to express your ideas in English through oral and written communication, you must have a good academic preparation particularly on how to teach English. Identifying the knowledge and skills that students need to learn can help you conceptualize the structure and functions of language that must be organized and chunked into lesson-sized experiences. In addition, you should also have a communicative competence in which you have the ability to use your ideas in a right place, in a right manner, at a right time, and to a right person.

2. Ability to interact with students

You should have the ability to interact with students. Interacting successfully with students means that you have stimulated their interest and have motivated them to learn.

Interacting is not just simply asking low level type of questions where the students give their responses from a book. A good interaction is when students give their answers by relating what they have learned to their own experiences or current issues. Or when they give their opinions or ask thought-provoking questions to their classmates.

Thus, there is a need for you, as a teacher, to diagnose your students’ needs and interests and plan for activities that will improve their critical thinking ability.

3. Interested in literature

You need to have a healthy interest in literature. A teacher must be a bookworm.

There are great books and literary pieces to read about and share to your students. Literature is the best way to educate the heart and mind of students.

Teach your students not only of the knowledge that they need for work but teach them how to be more compassionate with others and live life without prejudices or biases due to skin color and religious affiliations. After all, we are all human beings who need to love and be loved.

4. Adopts a positive attitude towards communication arts

As a teacher, you should have a positive attitude towards the communication arts curriculum. There’s no perfect curriculum.

Sometimes, you may not like a particular subject matter or activity to teach in class, but if that subject matter or activity is mandatory, you still have to show your enthusiasm and interest in teaching it; for interest begets interest.

Even if you wouldn’t tell the students of your attitude in teaching, they could discern if you are interested or not in imparting knowledge to them. So, you better adopt a positive attitude and always wear a smile while teaching them.

5. Applies various teaching approaches

A good communication arts teacher should apply the various approaches, methods, or strategies in teaching. Since you will be teaching students from different backgrounds, interests and needs, it is therefore important to have a repertoire of approaches, methods, techniques and strategies of teaching to meet your students’ individual needs.

Approach, Method, and Technique

Now, there are three levels of conceptualization and organization in language teaching as identified by Anthony (1963) as cited by Villamin et al. (1994). These are the approach, method and technique which are hierarchically arranged.

The approach refers to the assumptions and beliefs about what your students must learn in a particular subject. For example, you should know the nature of a subject matter from language specialists or researchers. Based on the selected approach, you have to think of a method to demonstrate it. A method is an over-all plan as to how you will organize and present your lesson. Once you have a method in mind, think about how you will implement it in class. The classroom procedures or techniques you have learned can help you carry out the plans.

At this point, it would be easier for you to choose a teaching strategy that is best suited to your purpose and to your students’ needs.

So, why don’t you apply this information, and find out if you can use the Total Physical Response Method in your class?

Reference

Villamin, A.M., Salazar, E.L., Bala, E.C., and N.R. Sunga (1994). Innovative strategies in communication arts. Quezon City, QC: Phoenix Publishing House, Inc.

© 2015 January 8 M. G. Alvior

2 Plus 1 Emerging Model of Professional Development for Teachers

This article introduces the two contrasting models of professional development for teachers which I used as one of the bases for the development of the customized professional development model in 2011.

At that time I searched for related literature, articles on models of professional development are difficult to come by. It was like trying to find a needle in a haystack. But then my diligence paid off when I found an article containing the models of professional development (Smith et al., 2003).

I describe two of those models in the table below. These are Traditional Professional Development and Job-Embedded Professional Development Models. Based on the findings of my study and the first two models, I came up with my own. I refer to it as the Customized Professional Development Model which I contrast with the two models I read about.

Please see the first 3 columns for the comparison and contrast of the two models. Then take a look at column 4, which is about the enhanced professional development model.

The Different Models of Professional Development for Teachers

 Features Traditional Professional Development Job-Embedded Professional DevelopmentCustomized Professional Development Model (Alvior, 2011)
Primary GoalsIncrease individual teacher’s general knowledge, skills, and teaching competency. Introduce new instructional models or methodologies.Improve student learning and help teachers with the specific teaching problems they face.Increase teacher’s knowledge, skills and teaching competencies. Improve student learning.
Location (“site” is school or program)Mostly off-siteOn-siteOff-site, On-site,ICT-based
IntensitySingle session or seriesLong-term, ongoingSeries, long-term, on-going
Common format of this professional developmentWorkshops, seminars, conferencesStudy circles, research practitioners, inquiry projectsThe identified professional development activities in this study.
Content for this professional developmentRange of knowledge and skills teachers should know and be able to do (competencies, special issues, new approaches to teaching).Student thinking and learning (examining student work), teaching problems.Combinations, eclectic approach

The table shows the differences between the traditional and job-embedded models as to the following features: goals, location, intensity, format and contents. The model in column 4, actually combines the two contrasting models. The design of the latter model is for continuing professional development (CPD) for teachers. Further, I added information and communications technology or ICT for location in order to address the needs for the 21st century.

Another notable contribution in the study is the list of professional development activities which teachers may choose as their professional development activities.

To know more about the activities, please read, A Research on the Professional Development Model for Teachers.

So, the next time you hear “2n1”, would you think it is a coffee? No, it isn’t but a professional development model for teachers based on the two models I have described in this article.

Reference

 Smith, C., Hofer, J., Gillespie, M., Solomon, M., & Rowe, K. (2003). How teachers change: A study of professional development. Retrieved 19 June, 2010 from http://www.ncsall.net/fileadmin/resources/research/brief25.pdf

© 2014 December 25 M. G. Alvior

A Research on the Professional Development Model for Teachers

This article discusses an enhanced professional development model for teachers with an array of activities that can help improve their teaching performance and increase their students’ academic performance as well. This model is one of the findings taken from the dissertation of Dr. Mary G. Alvior entitled, “InService Training Programs, Teacher Factors, and Student Performance: Bases for Enhanced Professional Development Model for Teachers (2011).”

Today’s knowledge-based economy and the rapid explosion of networked communications across the globe have created pressures among educators to prepare students such that they will possess a wide range of skills, content knowledge, and practical experiences needed to survive in this highly competitive world.

In the Philippines, the Department of Education has recognized the importance of acquiring the 21st century skills through the integration of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the educational process (Lapus, 2008). However, the study of Maligalig and Albert (2008) showed that the contributing factor for low quality basic education in the country is the lack of competent teachers. This result is in consonance to the reforms stipulated in the Basic Education Sector Reform Agenda (BESRA) particularly in the Key Reform Thrust 2 that there is a need to improve the classroom performance of English, Mathematics, and Science teachers for better learning outcomes.

This educational scenario prompted the researcher to zero in on the professional development activities for teachers by espousing the idea that the classroom performance of teachers is a critical factor for student academic performance. She based her assumption from Weiner’s Attribution Theory that there are external and internal factors that can improve performance. Students may attribute their academic performance to their teachers (external factor) while the teachers may attribute their teaching performance to the in-service trainings they attended (external factor) and perhaps, to their teaching efficacy, job satisfaction, and attitude towards the teaching profession (internal factors).

As a result, the enhanced professional development model was developed by using the following results:

  1.  students’ performance,
  2. teachers’ perception and satisfaction of INSET programs,
  3. level of teaching efficacy,
  4. level of job satisfaction, and
  5. attitude towards the teaching profession.

This model provides teachers different professional development activities that suit their needs and improve students’ academic performance. For example, they may get some activities that are self-directed or that can be done in school or through the use of Information Communication Technology (ICT). Thus, this model is called the Customized Professional Development Model for Teachers.

In this model, teachers can modify the professional activities by using the three-mode and two-mode combinations. By using the three-mode combination, they may choose specific activities from each major type. For example, they may choose reflective journal for self-directed, lesson study for school-based, and audio-video tape analysis for ICT-based.

Likewise, teachers may have three sets of combinations for the two-mode combination. They may opt for activities under School-based and Self-directed, Self-directed and ICT-based, and School-based and ICT-based. Table 1 contains specific activities under each type of professional development model.

Table 1

 The Array of Professional Development Activities

SELF-DIRECTED ACTIVITIESSCHOOL-BASED ACTIVITIESICT-BASED ACTIVITIES
Reflective JournalObservation/AssessmentOn-line Learning
Personal ResearchOpen LessonElectronic Networking
Teacher PortfolioLesson StudyAudio-video Tape Analysis
Jigsaw ReadingStudy GroupPersonal Research*
Inquiry/Action ResearchReflective Journal*
Case StudyTeacher Portfolio*
MentoringLesson Study*
Professional Development SchoolStudy Group*
Dual Audience, Direct InstructionPeer Coaching*
SeminarCoaching*
Conference
Demo Lesson
Workshop
Team Teaching
Peer Coaching
Coaching
Visitation
Professional Book Talk
Talk Walking
*can be done using ICT

This Customized Professional Development Model is a “generic model”, in which all teachers at all levels can use. The purpose of this model is to empower teachers  to choose their own from an array of professional development activities through a written contract with their school heads/administrators.

However, the researcher does not recommend the use of this model as a primary means of providing professional development for teachers. Instead, it should be used to complement and enhance the standardized professional development activities mandated by the Department of Education.

 References 

Lapus, J.A. (2008). The education system facing the challenges of the 21st century country: Republic of the Philippines. Retrieved 25 September, 2010 from http://www.ibe.unesco.org/National_Reports/ICE_2008/philippines_NR08.pdf

Maligalig, D. S. & Albert, J. R. (2008). Measures for assessing basic education in the Philippines. DISCUSSION PAPER SERIES NO. 2008-16. Retrieved 3 July, 2010 from http://dirp4.pids.gov.ph/ris/dps/pidsdps0816.pdf

Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (2007). 21st century skills professional development: a partnership for 21st century skills. Retrieved 1 June, 2010 from http://www.p21.org/documents/21st_century_skills_professional_development.pdf

Smith, C., Hofer, J., Gillespie, M., Solomon, M., & Rowe, K. (2003). How teachers change: A study of professional development. Retrieved 19 June, 2010 from http://www.ncsall.net/fileadmin/resources/research/brief25.pdf

© 2014 December 16 M. G. Alvior

The Meaning and Importance of Curriculum Development

This article explains the definition of curriculum development, and its importance in school, country, and society, in general.

Before I discuss the definition of curriculum development, let me describe to you first the importance of curriculum. A curriculum is considered the “heart” of any learning institution which means that schools or universities cannot exist without a curriculum. With its importance in formal education, the curriculum has become a dynamic process due to the changes that occur in our society. Therefore, in its broadest sense, curriculum refers to the “total learning experiences of individuals not only in school but society as well” (Bilbao et al., 2008).

Definition of Curriculum Development

Curriculum development is defined as planned, a purposeful, progressive, and systematic process to create positive improvements in the educational system. Every time there are changes or developments happening around the world, the school curricula are affected. There is a need to update them to address the society’s needs.

To illustrate this contention, let’s trace back history.

During the ancient times, people taught their children knowledge and skills to survive by catching fish or hunting animals for food. They had no formal education during that time, but their children learned and acquired the knowledge and skills for survival. So, during that time, they already had a curriculum that other educators call as, the saber-tooth curriculum. This type of curriculum refers to a kind of curriculum that existed during the ancient times in which the purpose of teaching was for survival.

However, when the effects of discoveries and inventions became inevitable, ancient people’s way of life had changed for the better. As a result, education became formal, and curriculum development evolved as systematic, planned, purposeful and progressive, even today.

Importance of Curriculum Development

Curriculum development has a broad scope because it is not only about the school, the learners, and the teachers. It is also about the development of society in general.

In today’s knowledge economy, curriculum development plays a vital role in improving the economy of a country. It also provides answers or solutions to the world’s pressing conditions and problems, such as environment, politics, socio-economics, and other issues of poverty, climate change, and sustainable development.

There must be a chain of developmental process to develop a society. First, the school curriculum, particularly in higher education, must be developed to preserve the country’s national identity and to ensure its economy’s growth and stability. Thus, the president of a country must have a clear vision for his people and the country as well.

For instance, in the Philippines, if President Aquino would like the country to become the Asia-Pacific’s tourism hub, then the school curriculum must be developed along that line. Curricular programs for higher education can be crafted in such a way that it will boost the tourism industry. For example, different models may arise such as edu-tourism, eco-tourism, cultural tourism, medo-tourism, biz-tourism, techno-tourism, agri-tourism, archi-tourism, among others.

If universities have curricular programs that are innovative and in demand in the local or global markets, many students even from foreign countries will enroll. A higher number of enrollees would mean income on the part of the universities. As a result, if the income is big, it can be used for teachers’ promotion, scholarship, and remuneration. It can also be used in funding research and development endeavors, and in putting up school facilities, libraries, and laboratories.

I believe that the country’s economy can improve the people’s way of life through curriculum development. And to develop it, curriculum experts or specialists should work hand in hand with lawmakers such as senators and congressmen, the local government officials, governors, mayors, among others. Likewise, business communities and industries, and other economically oriented players in society may be engaged in setting and implementing rules and policies for educational reforms.

Hence, curriculum development matters a lot in setting the direction of change in an organization, not only at the micro but also at macro levels. As long as the goals and objectives of curriculum development are clear in the planner’s mind, cutting-edge achievements in various concerns can be realized.

For additional information on curriculum development, please read Edecolepmentalism: a Personal Philosophy of HIgher Education, and Translating the Edecolepmentalism Philosophy Into a University’s Vision, Goals, and Program Objectives.

Reference

Bilbao, P. P., Lucido, P. I., Iringan, T. C., and R. B. Javier (2008). Curriculum development. Philippines: Lorimar Publishing, Inc.

© 2014 December 13 M. G. Alvior

Cite this article as: Alvior, Mary G. (December 13, 2014). The Meaning and Importance of Curriculum Development. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from http://simplyeducate.me/2014/12/13/the-meaning-and-importance-of-curriculum-development/

Six Famous Curriculum Theorists and their Contributions to Education

This article deals with influential people in the educational system particularly in shaping the curriculum as we know today. It also talks about their specific contributions that can still be observed by the present generation of learners.

Let’s enumerate and discuss the curriculum theorists and their contributions by chronological order.

The Six Famous Curriculum Theorists

1. Franklin Bobbit (1876-1956)

Bobbit believes that the learning objectives, together with the activities, should be grouped and sequenced after clarifying the instructional activities and tasks. He also views curriculum as a science that emphasizes the needs of the students. This viewpoint explains why lessons are planned and organized depending on the needs of the students and these needs must be addressed by the teachers to prepare them for adult life.

2. Werret Charters (1875-1952)

Aside from emphasizing the students’ needs, he believes that the objectives, along with the corresponding activities, should be aligned with the subject matter or content. For that reason, department chairpersons or course coordinators scrutinize the alignment or matching of objectives and subject matter prepared by the faculty members.

3. William Kilpatrick (1871-1965)

For him, the purpose of curriculum is child development, growth, and social relationship. He also introduced the use of small group interaction, and the project method in which the teacher and students plan together. Thus, it is called as the child-centered curriculum.

4. Harold Rugg (1886-1960)

He introduced the concept of the development of the whole child, the inclusion of social studies, and the importance of curriculum planning in advance.

5. Hollis Caswell (1901-1989)

He believes that subject matter is developed around the interest of the learners and their social functions. So, the curriculum is a set of experiences. Learners must experience what they learn.

6. Ralph Tyler (1902-1994)

And as to the hallmark of curriculum development as a science, Ralph Tyler believes that curriculum should revolve around the students’ needs and interests. The purpose of curriculum is to educate the generalists and not the specialists, and the process must involve problem solving. Likewise, subject matter is planned in terms of imparting knowledge, skills and values among students.

To sum it up, the famous curriculum theorists have almost similar views. All of them believe that the curriculum should be learner-centered – addressing the needs and interests of the students. All of them have salient contributions to the educational system of the world today.

If you are an observant student, you might ask the following questions about your teachers:

  • Why is it that we are required to do projects, solve problems, and work in groups?
  • Why is it that our teachers are being observed in class, and their lesson plans or syllabi are checked?
  • Why is it that all of us should take social studies, and not only the 3Rs?
  • Why are the lessons being prepared in advance?
  • Why should we experience what we have learned?
  • Why do our teachers integrate values in our lessons?
  • And why is it that the school is after our development as whole individuals (to become generalists) and be ready to face life’s challenges?

The answers to your questions are the people behind our educational system. They are the curriculum theorists.

Now, would you like to become one someday?

Reference

Bilbao, P. P., Lucido, P. I., Iringan, T. C., and Javier, R. B. (2008). Curriculum development. Philippines: Lorimar Publishing, Inc.

© 2014 December 3 M. G. Alvior

A Definition of Curriculum from a Traditional Viewpoint

How is curriculum defined from a traditional perspective? Who were the advocates? And how can a school system work with this point of view?

This article provides answers to these questions by expounding on the curriculum concept. Read on to familiarize yourself with this popular, very basic and critical aspect of the educational system.

Traditional Definition of Curriculum

If the word curriculum is defined as a written document or a plan of action to accomplish goals; a body of subjects or a subject matter prepared by teachers in order for the students to learn; a course of study; syllabus, lesson plan, or a field of study – then these definitions come from the traditional point of view (Bilbao et al., 2008).

The Advocates of Curriculum

The following theorists are the advocates of the curriculum concept. Their perspectives helped shape current understanding of how curriculum is used in meeting educational goals.

Robert M. Hutchins

Hutchins believes that college education must be grounded on liberal education while basic education should emphasize the rules of grammar, reading, rhetoric, logic and mathematics. For him, curriculum is viewed as permanent studies which explain why some subjects are repeated from elementary to college, such as grammar, reading, and mathematics.

Arthur Bestor

Bestor is an essentialist who believes that the mission of the school is to train the intellectual capacity of learners. Hence, subjects to be offered are grammar, literature, writing, mathematics, science, history and foreign language.

Joseph Schwab

Schwab views that discipline is the sole source of curriculum, and so, the curriculum is divided into chunks of knowledge which are called subject areas like English, mathematics, social studies, science, humanities, languages, and others. As a leading curriculum theorist, Schwab used the term discipline as the ruling doctrine for curriculum development. Therefore, curriculum is viewed as a field of study and it should only consist of knowledge that comes from the disciplines; for example, linguistics, economics, chemistry, among others.

How the School System Works Using Curriculum as a Basis

In a traditional point of view, teachers are required to write lesson plans and syllabi. The subjects offered in basic education are grammar, literature, writing, mathematics, science, history and foreign language which help develop the intellectual capacities of learners. However, curriculum is viewed as a field of study in higher education. So, curriculum refers to the degree programs such as Bachelor of Secondary Education, major in English, BS in Accountancy, BS in Civil Engineering, MA in Environmental Science, Ph.D. in Education, major in Curriculum Development, and others.

As a field of study, curriculum consists of domains of knowledge as well as their research theories and principles, and the foundations (philosophical, historical, psychological, and social) which are broad in nature. Thus, curriculum is taken as scholarly and theoretical.

Would you dare take a Ph.D. in Education, major in Curriculum Development? What I have discussed is only one of the many aspects of the curriculum. I will be writing more about this subject. So, stay tuned for more.

Reference

Bilbao, P. P., Lucido, P. I., Iringan, T. C., and R. B. Javier (2008). Curriculum development. Philippines: Lorimar Publishing, Inc.

© 2014 December 2 M. G. Alvior

Hidden Curriculum: Its Definition

Is there really a hidden curriculum? Why is it called hidden? What are some of its examples? And what classroom implications can be drawn from it?

This article defines hidden curriculum, provides some examples and discusses its implications. 

 

Definition of Hidden Curriculum

According to the book, “Curriculum Development” (Bilbao et al., 2008), hidden curriculum refers to the physical condition of the classroom or the school environment, the mood of the teachers or the students, the teacher-learner interaction, the peer influence, and other factors that may affect the delivery of the lesson.

Another term for hidden curriculum is the unintended curriculum which is not actually planned but may change the behavior or affect the learning outcomes of students. So, what does it mean? More often than not, when teachers plan for a lesson (by writing lesson plans or syllabi), there are some parts that are not fully implemented due to the presence of the “hidden curriculum”.

Actually, hidden curriculum is one of the types of curriculum operating in schools according to Allan Grathon (2000) as cited by Bilbao et al., (2008). The curriculum exists but maybe, not everybody is aware of this.  So, in simple words, it is hidden because it is not planned or just simply ignored when planning for a lesson. However, it might suddenly come out depending on the factors mentioned above.

How Hidden Curriculum Can Affect Learning: Some Examples

  1. Physical Conditions of the Classroom or School Environment

Is the classroom conducive to learning? Is it well-lighted and well-ventilated? Are there enough chairs and tables for students? Is there enough space for students to do group activities or online activities? Is there always electricity in the place or is brown-out or power outage frequent?

If the answer to these questions is no, then learning among students will be more difficult. An uncomfortable classroom will make students uneasy thus affect their academic performance. The physical environment is not conducive to learning.

  1. The Mood of the Teachers or Students

Are the teachers always on the mood to deliver the lesson? Are they given teaching loads and schedules that are fair?

As human beings, no matter how teachers hide their emotions or feelings from the students, they are affected by the strains and stresses that may come along. However, many will argue that teachers must leave their problems at home and pretend like actors and actresses in the classroom.

Students may also be in a bad mood. They may be hungry, or emotionally affected due to their parents’ lack of time or financial support, or they have misunderstandings with their friends, or loved ones.

While ideally the mood of teachers and students should be right for effective interaction, this is not always the case. Bad moods will hinder learning to take place.

  1. The Teacher-Learner Interaction

Having a limited background on the needs of the students, their interests and learning styles, the teachers may find it hard to interact well with the students. They should have a good repertoire of strategies or activities in order to implement the instructional objectives and reach the learning outcomes. More often than not, the mood of the students and teachers may also affect their interaction.

  1. Peer Influence

Students learn more with their friends. For example, Liza is interested in studying or learning during that day; but if many of her friends are noisy due to stress, she will be affected and influenced to be noisy too. So, the success of the lesson can be determined when the learning outcomes have been achieved by the students.

Classroom Implications

Knowing some of the examples of hidden curriculum will help the department chairpersons, course directors and course coordinators to be more humane in giving loads, and in rating the performance of their teachers through classroom observations. They should also consider the hidden factors that may affect the learning outcomes. But of course, recognition of the hidden curriculum should not be used as an excuse to cover up the teachers’ inefficiency in class. Instead, teachers should be creative, flexible and positive in teaching the students in spite of their personal problems and anxieties in life.

To the administrators, they should ensure that the school environment and learning resources are conducive for teaching and learning. They should figure out ways to combat the hidden curriculum.

In conclusion, the lessons may not be implemented as planned. Many teachers may write excellent lesson plans or syllabi but when they are already in class, they would realize that there are aspects in the lesson plans that cannot be implemented due to hidden curriculum.

Reference

Bilbao, P. P., Lucido, P. I., Iringan, T. C., Javier, R. B., (2008). Curriculum development. Philippines: Lorimar Publishing, Inc.

© 2014 December 1 M. G. Alvior

 

Effective Strategies for Engineers Writing Technical Reports in English

The research or report produced by an engineer is extremely important in getting himself established in his field. The hard work he put into his research could not be well presented if not well written. However, novice technical writers face numerous obstacles that prevent them from presenting their information clearly thus create wide readership.

This article shares some tips to engineers who are non-native speakers of English who would like to become successful technical writers in that language. It highlights some strategies to be adopted during writing. Further, the article outlines how various aspects like word choice, paragraph building, tone and grammar of a text could affect the way readers comprehend the text. It also shares some do’s and don’ts to become a good technical writer.

Introduction

Engineers investigate and try to answer questions on the working of things. While writing research reports, not only a sound knowledge of the subject is a pre-requisite but effective communication through correct language use is also important. Technical writers need to adopt a clear and effective way of expression in order to be well-understood by the readers.

This article outlines a few aspects that need attention when writing research reports in English in order to be well accepted by readers and field experts. Particular attention is given to word choice, sentence and paragraph structure, tone and grammar.

Word choice

Choices made at the lexical level make huge difference in how texts are received by the readers. While this is equally true for both verbal and written communication, verbal message especially face-to-face can be accompanied by acts such as gestures, eye contact and body language. This facilitates overall comprehension.

Unfortunately, this facility is not available in written communication. The only way left to convince the reader is through the correct word choice.

There are many factors which are decisive in determining the choices at the lexical level. To begin with, a technical writer needs to have information on the prospective readers of the text. A text written without an imagined reader is like music without soul. They need to identify who is going to read the text – whether they are students with limited knowledge or field experts with vast level of knowledge and experience. The language should have appeal to both sectors and should possess technical depth to satisfy the experts while simple enough to gain attention of novice learners of the field.

There is a possibility that as researchers, engineers writing a report might possess greater domain knowledge than their readers. This situation often results in failing to provide a proper background to their study as they tend to fall prey to the assumption that since they are aware of it, the readers ought to know it as well.

Contrary to their assumption, writing involves putting the reader in the situation. The text should be written by identifying exactly what the reader wants to know and orienting the text to arouse his interest.

Technical jargon

A technical write up usually contains a lot of technical vocabulary which do not pose a problem to field experts. However, a list of acronyms should be provided for students or newcomers in the field as they might eventually be reading the report after it has been accepted by the field experts.

Sentences

Long, complex sentences do not indicate the expertise of a technical writer. These sentences act as a hindrance in readers’ comprehension of a composition. While conveying highly technical information, small connected sentences should be preferred over very long and run-on sentences.

Paragraph building

The essential component of a written piece is the way paragraphs are built. The writers often cram information in a paragraph without any thought on organization. This leads to information dumping rather than information building.

The paragraphs should follow a structure. Each paragraph must revolve around a single idea. The first sentence of a paragraph should be the topic sentence and the rest of the sentences should be written to support that main idea presented in the first sentence (see the TSPU writing technique). The last sentence could either refer back to the first sentence or lead to the idea in the following paragraph.

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Who are the “Acapols” in Educational System?

This article introduces the phrase I use to describe the people who act like politicians in the academic community. Maybe you have met some of them or have known them for years. Read the article below to know who the “acapols” are and what they do.

My linguistic background and understanding of the characteristics of language help me coin and create words and phrases that only my friends and I understand. In 2012, my mentor and I were talking about something when the word “acapols” came into being.

The Meaning of Acapols

Have you ever heard the word “acapols”? Chances are, you didn’t. You cannot find the word acapols in the dictionary.

The word “acapols” is actually composed of two words which my mentor coined. She loved the phrase I used, when I uttered: “They are like academic politicians,” referring to academicians who act like politicians. It was my mentor’s first time to hear such word.

The next time we met, I got surprised because she used the term, “acapols”. I didn’t understand it at first but she said that the word originated from me. Only then that I remembered the phrase “academic politicians.”

Who are the academic politicians?

Academic politicians are the people in the academe such as students, teachers, administrators and other stakeholders who would play politics in its real sense just to get something or take advantage of the opportunities before them. They do what the traditional politicians do to stay in power, to gain personal benefits, and to preserve their family and business interests.

“Politicians” now are occupying their niche in the academe. They make educational institutions as their bailiwick.

Well, I remember a friend saying that in education, it’s all about business and politics. Yes, there is already a paradigm shift happening in educational system. The nature of education before is quite different from what it is now. Or shall I say, it was already there before but now, it had become so obvious. Many of the academicians turned into academic politicians and the type of behavior they manifest spreads like a virus to our students.

But, is it bad to be like “acapols”?

Others will say that there is nothing wrong about being branded as academic politicians for as long as they have genuine love for the institution, and their motive for staying in power is for the good of the academic community.

Anyways, “politics” always exist in education. So whether “acapols” are desirable people or not in the field of education, the answer is yours. The reality is that they do exist, no longer as discreet as before but in broad display.

Are you an acapol?