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Steppingstones

Chapter 1
Setting Out on the Curriculum Path
Outline
Is a Neutral Curriculum Possible?
Making Curriculum Decisions
The Underlying Basis for Making Curriculum Decisions
The Teachers as Guide
Teaching for Commitment in Christian Schools
Teaching for Commitment in Public Schools
What is Curriculum?
Aims of the Curriculum
Justifying Curriculum Choices
Notes
Is a Neutral Curriculum Possible?

Mary Warnock: two reasons from those who advocates neutrality in


teaching (3)
o Avoid indoctrination
It is not neutral since they indoctrinate their students into
thinking that values are either unimportant or can be chosen
at will
o Students must draw their own conclusions from their own
explorations and constructions
Learning would be too complex if students investigate
everything fully.
It is impossible to be neutral in teaching; our selection of content is
biased by cultural assumptions and our view of what is important
Good teacher hold, express, and defend moral and religious views
Neutral curriculum = valueless curriculum
Valueless curriculum leads to:
o Accept society's dominant materialistic, self-centered values
without much thought
o Learn to believe that objective concepts and skills are more
important than values
o Take for granted that the structures and patterns of our culture are
neutral
o Conclude that they may choose whatever values and commitments
they prefer
o Adopt a dualistic view of the world where Christian faith is a private
concern that has little to do with the warp and woof of life in society
Neutral teaching involves initiation into distinct patterns of thought and
behavior (4)

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Why curriculum made by teachers cannot be neutral?
o Teachers commitment needs to be clear and defensible because
they live and nurture a way of life
Making Curriculum Decisions

Government department of education formal and prescribe


Textbook publisher inherent or default
Professional associations professionally recommended
School systems and schools intended
Teachers (the decision maker) implemented
o Decide which topics need emphasizing
o Determine themes and values
o Set suitable outcomes
o Create, choose, organize activities
o Select appropriate resources
o Opt way to assess students
o Constantly revise and adapt make their customized curriculum
becomes a meaningful learning for their students.
Students (through deliberation group) experienced or attained
o Pose and define curricular situation and problem
o Judge best course of action in terms of their belief; see all evidence
o Apply theories, practical experience, and judgement to make
recommendation
Goal students personally understand, interpret, and respond to
knowledge
The Underlying Basis for Making Curriculum Decisions

Key questions for curriculum development:


o What are the overall aims of schooling?
o How can schooling help humanity work toward a more just and
compassionate society?
o What ought to be done in the curriculum? What is the right thing to
do?
o How can the curriculum lead students to discover meaning? How
can it connect with their daily experiences? How can it link
believing, thinking, and doing? How can it make them both more
discerning and more committed to a principled way of life?
Diverse views of the purpose and meaning of life and of education may
make it difficult for a curriculum-planning group to arrive at specific
decision (6)
Curriculum needs common worldview from its maker
Christian decision maker practice biblical worldview; teaching like Jesus
o Teach with and for commitment
o Their belief in biblical love and justice will affect how they plan and
implement their programs
o Plan units and courses that are framed in a biblical worldview
o Their faith and their worldview will inform the key curriculum
decisions
The Teachers as Guide

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Christian teachers facilitators; guides
o Develop teaching skills reflectively within a well-defined
philosophical and religious framework
o Use these skills to guide young persons into knowledge and
discernment that lead to service for God and fellow human beings
o Teaching requires diverse competencies as well as a sense of
direction and purpose that enables persons to be effective guides
Jesus as great Shepherd guides his sheep with rod and staff and lead
them in the right direction that have food and no danger; to fulfill intended
role
o God calls Christian teacher to
o lead students in the way of wisdom
o develop their gifts and take on lifes calling in a deeper and fuller
way
o help them become competent, discerning, responsible, and
responsive disciples.
Be prophets proclaim Gods handiwork in creation, the effects of sin,
and the possibilities of reconciliation and restoration.
o Interpret knowledge authentically and clearly
Ideal Christians society compassion, respect, justice, truth, rights, and
responsibilities
Teaching for Commitment in Christian Schools

Elmer Thiessen every child is necessarily initiated into particular


religious or irreligious tradition provides children with the necessary
tools for further growth and development in the area of religion (9)
Christian school "should attempt to foster both growth in rational
groundings of Christian convictions and honest and serious grappling with
doubt, questions, and objections to Christian convictions" (9)
Balance between special grace and common grace
o Special grace focus to faith
o Common grace focus to facts; since faith did not have all answers
to social and moral problems
Three key points as Christian teachers formulate their classroom
curriculum
o They confidently initiate their students into their cultural and
Christian heritage
o They encourage their students to grow in normal rational
responsibility
o They teach with commitment since they want to teach for
commitment
Teaching for Commitment in Public Schools

Public school serves all sectors of society, the curriculum is secular,


suitable for all children regardless their backgrounds
o Teach in public school means you agree to teach that curriculum,
even though you are a Christian teacher.
o Allowed to present different point of view (including Christians point
of view) fairly and sensitively, but teacher do not have obligation to
teach and encourage commitment to a set of basic values.

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How to plan curriculum as Christian teacher in public school?
o Choose content that helps students to function well in society and
contribute to it
o Ensure that your pedagogy reflects the implications of a biblical
view of the person
o Acquaint students with the Christian heritage
o Be balanced in your approach
o Use the templates in chapter 7 for planning units
o Adapt the unit examples in chapter 7 to public school classrooms
You should present diverse views fairly and equitably, giving students full
freedom to consider and adopt points of view that differ from yours
Your belief implicitly color your teaching
Your students need models in life
Many questions students ask can be discussed honestly only if teachers
relate the issues to what they belief
What is Curriculum?

Curriculum course of study in a school (including teaching methods;


Dewey and Montessori)
Four common definitions
o Curriculum is what is taught, particularly the subject matter
contained in a schools course of study
o Curriculum is an organized set of documented, formal educational
plans intended to attain preconceived
o Curriculum is dynamic, ever-changing series of planned learning
experiences
o Curriculum is everything learners experience in school
Note that even how you define curriculum is rooted in your worldview!
Not all teachers have drafted an explicit, clearly defined worldview--or a
particular definition for curriculum. Yet what teachers believe, perhaps
implicitly, about the nature of the learner, their role as teacher, meaningful
content, and worthwhile learning strategies affects how they define and
implement their curriculum. (14)
Aims of the Curriculum

Curriculum aims general goals that provide a framework for action


Christian schools reflect biblical workdview
General goals for Christian schools
o To unfold the basis, framework, and implications of a Christian
vision of life
o To learn about God's world and how humans have responded to
God's mandate to take care of the earth
o To develop and apply the concepts, abilities, and creative gifts that
enable students to contribute positively to God's Kingdom and have
a transformational impact on culture
o To discern and confront idols of our time such as materialism,
hedonism, technicism, relativism, and other "isms" in which faith is
placed in something other than God
o To become committed to Christ and to a Christian way of life, able
and willing to serve God and neighbor

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o Schools, teachers, and students revise curriculum plans constantly
as particular needs become clear-but do so while keeping their aims
in mind.
Justifying Curriculum Choices

Justifying curriculum decisions and choices explicitly, so the others will not
make decisions for us
The usage of teaching materials undermining out educational beliefs and
aims
Does the curriculum enhance understandings needed for exercising
responsive discipleship?
Does it contribute to an understanding of some aspect of a Christian
worldview, especially the importance of biblical shalom?
Does it help students to consider biblically based values and encourage
them to form dispositions and commitments based on such values?
Does it help familiarize students with our Christian as well as our Western
cultural heritage?
Is the curriculum relevant for students?
Does it connect with and expand students' previous backgrounds,
experiences, and knowledge?
Does it address meaningful and significant current issues in the world and
encourage response in personal ways?
Does it foster students seeing and investigating interrelations with
different subject disciplines where this contributes to understanding issues
and their applications?
Does the curriculum meet students' pedagogical needs?
Is it imaginative enough to maintain student interest?
Does it provide for active response suitable for the learners' stage of
development?
Does it support diverse learning activities appropriate for diverse learning
styles and other individual differences?
Does it encourage the development of different modes of knowing?

Reflection
I have never actually thought about this before, but I am starting to wonder how
I will maintain a biblical worldview in a public school. Unlike in America, a public
school still teach Religion Education, though they teach Islamic religion. I would
imagine myself having a very hard time if I were to teach there, that is if I get to
teach there at all. Now I understand that a biblical worldview does not
necessarily mean I have to talk about the Bible in all of my lesson. When my
previous semester taught me that the Bible is in all things, this semester taught
me that all things is in the Bible. I do not need to make sure that I mention the
Bible all the time. As long as I make clear connections about what the students
are learning and creation, that is already a biblical worldview.