Before reading, I thought that school curriculum was created and written by a large group of representatives from diverse backgrounds. My previous idea was that a board of practicing teachers, experts in various fields, and government representatives would gather and discuss curriculum, and then bring it to a focus group of students to pick out any areas that need improvement before publication. To my surprise, I was wrong. The article put into demonstrated the extent to which politics and industry is imbedded in our education. It is apparent that curriculum is developed by privileged authorities such as governments along with large profitable industries who want youth to be moulded into a certain type of citizen. I was surprised when looking at how little influence teachers, students and parents have on what is taught. It appears the people most impacted by decisions made around curriculum will are also the people that do not have an influence on the changes that they seek. As a future educator, my lack of control of curriculum gives me a gut wrenching feeling. In my opinion, to inspire children to develop individual skills, there needs to be a less factory-like approach to the world of school. I am concerned as an educator that the decisions made involving curriculum will not help our students to reach their full potential and to nurture their skills, but rather will hinder them. All things being said, I feel that if the developers will not start listening to students and practicing teachers that they will stand up and disrupt the complacent model they are hoping to mould us into.
“We discovered that education is not something which the teacher does, but that it is a natural process which develops spontaneously in the human being.” says Maria Montessori. “It is not acquired by listening to words, but in virtue of experiences in which the child acts on his environment.” This quote inspires me to look at the educational experiences that my students will have beyond just the teachings I wish to instil into my pupils.
Maria Montessori was a fresh new perspective in her time, challenging the normative narrative by pursuing fields in a “mans world” and was also ready and eager to push back against traditionalist approaches to curriculum which was so prevalent. This quote contradicts the concept of cookie cutter, factory production of children into autonomous workers, an approach that grew from the industrial revolution. Previous theories failed to look at anything other than the end product of our classrooms, but Maria wanted to look at the experiences the students were having during the praxis. Looking at the process is very important because not all of our students learn and develop at the same rate and i believe it is critical that we look at our students as capable and unique individuals who will interact with spaces and tools differently than their peers.
In my path as a future educator, I see myself adapting a few of the Montessori philosophies into my teaching, but I also plan to create my own. After examining Montessori’s quote, I agree that learning is a natural process and that teachers should be guides to learning but I also feel a teacher has somewhat of a larger role to play in setting up a foundation for students to learn. The teacher should shape the background and environment to facilitate experiences that will resonate with students and create deeper learning.
A) During my schooling experience, most notably throughout middle years and high school, I noticed a heavy focus on exams. In grade 7 I experienced my first substantial exam which determined whether I would pass or fail history and social studies regardless of the other assignments I had completed. I feel this test was a great example of Tyler’s rational, as he seems to heavily focus on exams and evaluations. Another way I have experienced Tyler’s rational is in high school and university. Final exams in many classes are used as the evaluation of a students knowledge and effort through the semester, compounded into one simple evaluation for the instructors. This way of assessing students is fairly basic but can be problematic.
B) the problems that can result from Tyler’s rational arise when looking at different student’s learning styles. Some students, myself included, have issues during exams because they get nervous and freeze up, even if they have the content memorized. Teachers also need to consider that students do not all work at the same level or speed. Therefore, it is difficult to effectively examine the student’s knowledge of the course material at the same exact point. When some students learn at a slower pace and are forced to write a test at the same time as all the other students, they may not have reached their full potential. I feel that a student’s success in classes can be limited if they are rushed into digesting the course material. students need time to not only grasp the material but to create deeper meaning and engage with the course material. With this approach we should not be using it to cut out information to preserve time, we should look at the journey to get the desired outcomes. Tyler’s rational is limiting our students ability to create deeper learning. I feel his thinking encourages students to memorize and then never rethink the content after the exam. However, teachers, regardless of the issues with this rational, need to evaluate their students.
C) Although I don’t feel that Tyler’s rational is fully effective for our students I do appreciate as a future educator that he created these assessment and evaluation tools. They can be used effectively to check students’ progress through the year. These checkpoints can be used to learn more about students’ learning speeds and what material they need to go over. His rational can be used to review content and gain understanding of what our students missed during the first teachings. I, as a future educator, will be responsible to evaluate my students and will eventually use some of Tyler’s rational. To conclude, Tyler’s rational needs to be used effectively to set our students up to achieve the desired end results.