I have a list of quotes from some websites I found after only a couple minutes of searching on the topic of ‘what should we teach’. As you may see, these quotes cover quite a lot of territory.
I have one book from Amazon.com which presents a history of the travails which a social studies curriculum has been contested and twisted with. I have another post (similar to the Scott Adams posts about ‘getting a real education’) where the author implies somehow that because schools and organized teaching in general don’t cover every aspect of what it takes to accomplish things in life, that schools (and curriculum) are therefore bereft of any value…
I have a quote discussing the complexities in teaching critical thinking…as in: how do you ‘teach’ something like this, and even more difficult, how do you asses whether the student has actually developed some semblance of mastery over this family of skills. Other quotes relate to the problems in finding a math course which liberal arts students can manage, and finally a quote bringing up some of the possibilities in adding in what could best be called teaching virtue into curricula…
My point is that all of these quotes and related links are addressing various aspects of the simple question “what is important to teach, and for students to learn”…This ties in with the posts I have already written about the divergences between a science/engineering curriculum and a humanities/ liberal arts curriculum… This topic also ties in with the related topic of what exactly is a 21st century curriculum/student/teacher, and why is this the way we should be going?
As you can see, there are a lot of potential oxen which could get gored in this morass of questions and ideas.
So, I have a question to tender to you…where should we start, in order to consider:
1. What exactly are we really teaching students today?
2. Is there a change which we should be considering in this curriculum?
3. What should a possible new curriculum consist of?
The Social Studies Wars: What Should We Teach the Children?
Largely because it is a space for articulating competing visions of the "good society," there is no area of the school curriculum that is more contested than social studies. In his detailed and well-researched examination of a century of curricular and pedagogical reform efforts, Evans argues that the history of the field is largely a story of civil war over the purposes, content, methods, and ideology of the social studies curriculum. Evans’s thesis that what began as a struggle of various interest groups has evolved into a cultural war against progressive social studies is convincing, and he points to the current, narrow disciplinary focus on history and the social sciences in today’s schools as evidence. Evans concludes that the turf struggles in the field have contributed to continuing failure of curricular reform… Until now, social studies education lacked a satisfying, comprehensive curricular history; that this history has been written by one of the strongest critics of history-centered social studies education adds to the irony. Summing up: Highly recommended
~E. W. Ross, University of British Columbia
What do we teach our kids?
I ask myself, what has been the most important stuff I’ve learned? Was it history, math, and science? Was it home ec, or literature, or business management 101?
Or did it come from experience at the School of Hard Knocks?
Can We Teach Creative and Critical Thinking?
When a teacher gives a test, he or she is trying to measure students’ ability to recall and apply information learned over a particular period of time. The exams make it relatively straightforward: Did the student get an answer right or wrong? Was mastery of skills demonstrated?
But how is creative or critical thought defined and taught? And by what assessment can we measure it, if at all?
What should we teach to liberal arts students who will take only one math course?
Liberal arts students are often required to take one math course. Often that course consists of a bunch of useless clerical skills. How to do partial fractions decompositions and the like is what students are told "mathematical thinking" is about. In some cases professors feel the one math course that the philosophy major takes is not worth attention because students who didn’t learn that material in high school the way they were supposed to aren’t any good.
When a university has a course intended to acquaint those who take only one math course with the fact that mathematics is an intellectual field, there are still nonetheless numerous students who take only the algebra course whose content is taught only because it’s prerequisite material for other subjects that the student will never take
So what should we teach to liberal arts students who will take only one math course?
Education: What should we teach children?
Tags: education, epistemology, teaching
What should schools teach children about morality, the environment, drugs and parenting, and should lessons in citizenship be compulsory? David Blunkett, the Secretary of State for Education, must decide shortly. The latest battle for the curriculum is about to be determined.
"For too long, many primary school teachers have been prevented from giving literacy and numeracy the attention they deserve because the national curriculum has lacked a clear focus on the basics."