Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Important for All the Wrong Reasons: Curricular Control

Important for All the Wrong Reasons

Image result for curriculum clipartCurricular control in the public school America has incrementally moved away from the influence of the classroom teacher and districts. Knight’s (2006) tolling of the tocsin in 2006 decrying teacher education, qualifications and experiences of decision makers, and a pervading mindlessness as “a natural outcome for a society which has traditionally been concerned with the “how” rather than the “why” of modern life” (Kindle Locations 216 – 218) echoes still today.  The goals and values embedded into the curriculum have shifted from the needs and cultural influences of the locality to the whims of the state and federal government competing in a global market. Standardized testing of curriculum has eroded this influence.  Through the accountability of a test that directly impacts district funding, teacher evaluation, and teacher retention is anesthetizing and narrowing the school curricula. Therefore the importance of the curriculum has changed from learning to accountability and skill mastery. Curriculum is designed through adherence to standards that are aligned to the test. Leaving little choice over curricula.

Without a Sail

The absence of a curriculum is a direct line to maleficence in today’s classroom. A plan must be made, matched to an outcome, and assessed accordingly. This matched outcome is grounded in Knight’s (2006) definition of learning as a “new or changed behavior” (Kindle Location 327). Even in my personal beliefs toward today’s curricula in this political environment – something is better than nothing. Lacking a plan leaves the teacher unchecked and an inability to qualify or quantify the learning. Left to the whims of a teacher without a plan, students will be trapped in the likes, share in the teacher's dislikes, and never explore their own passions, interests, and philosophies. 

Towards the future

            The philosophical underpinnings of today’s curricula need reevaluation and reconsideration. The why needs to be explored in the absence of a political agenda and a national fear. The pendulum of the how has streamlined access to resources, efficiency and tool integration in the 21st Century. Towards the future, the balancing between the why and how must occur. In doing so, a philosophical influence will buoy an emergence of critical thinkers able to minister grace.


Knight, G. R. (2006). Philosophy & education: An introduction in Christian perspective (4th ed.) Andrews University Press. Kindle Edition.

Friday, October 9, 2015

The Unsaid: An Implied Curriculum

Image result for implied
Only Tommy Lee could say so much with a look!
An implied curriculum when aligned with an institutional philosophy can be a powerful and effective union that brings together a community and a school. However, when an implied curriculum runs in contrast, the effects can be counterproductive and corrosive. These are, as Jackson suggests, “subtle or not-so subtle messages that are not part of the intended curriculum” (as cited in Smagorinsky, Boggs, Jakubiak, and Wilson, 2010).

Inside a classroom this implied curriculum pushed upon by the teacher’s “assumptions about the social futures of children implicitly shape their present action to bring about those very futures” (Smagorinsky, 2010). In a negative light, a teacher who subscribes preconceptions that in turn drives instruction, discipline, social interactions, and reaction against the grain of the institution or philosophical stance of the school can cause great conflict. However in a positive light, the effect can be highly successful as in my current placement.

Smagorinsky et al., (2010) believes that when educators “consider whose values become institutionalized in the school structure, what social futures are projected for students, and how teachers—either consciously or unconsciously—help to bring [positive outcomes] about those futures” (p. 6). This is the case in my current placement, the implied curriculum is aligned with the educational philosophy of the school. How we interact and the classroom management plan within each classroom is charged by this implied curriculum that is not displayed throughout the school, nor is it policy, or a selling point to our enrollment. The Life Space Crisis Intervention program is the underlying implied curriculum that is “suggested” and “promoted” by administration. Training is provided on a voluntary basis. This is why I believe this an implied curriculum. It helps us speak, interact, and empathize with our students while promoting our overt curriculum.


Smagorinsky, P., Boggs, G. L., Jakubiak, C., & Wilson, A. A. (2010). The implied character curriculum in vocational and nonvocational English classes: Designing social futures for working class students and their teachers. Journal of Research in Character Education, 8(2), 1-23. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.liberty.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/873032528?accountid=12085