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Teaching in the problem districts
It is a great art to teach children. Thus, the teacher should do his/her best to be able to make the process of learning more effective and productive. That’s why a teacher should understand that he/she should change his/her program and tactics of learning according to the conditions and demands of the pupils. The superintendent of the Reed-Enwright District, Dr. Eleanor Spagnola, understands that teachers are to teach pupils from the poor and socially disadvantaged region, that’s why they should concentrate on what is of primary importance for those children.
According to the thought of Paulo Freire represented in his book Pedagogy of the Oppressed (2000), the pedagogy for such regions “must take into account their (people who suffer from oppression) behavior, their view of the world and their ethic” (p. 55).
That’s why the learning process should meet the demands of students first of all.
The traditional approach to curriculum
The main aim that a good teacher should attain is not to make the students learn as much information as possible, but to represent only those facts and material which will be useful for pupils in their future life. Of course, the teacher should broaden the horizon and deepen the knowledge of the students, but first of all, he/she should concentrate on helping the pupils to master those skills that will be of primary importance in their lives. Thus, the curriculum is meant to help both teachers and students in developing their relationships and improving the efficiency of the process. Learning is teamwork of teacher and students, that’s why they need to understand each other and be able to collaborate. According to Posner (2003), there are five perspectives to curriculum, traditional, experiential, the structure of discipline, behavioral, and constructivist (p. 44). Looking at the case that touches the problem district, Reed-Enwright, it would be better to advise the superintendent, Dr. Eleanor Spagnola, to use a traditional curriculum approach to maintain her plan of work with the students.
The reason why she should choose this approach issues from the difficulties connected with her case. The aims that the traditional approach defines can solve the problem that touches her question. They coincide with the needs of the students better. Thus, many third-grades have failed to pass the Basic Reading Competency Test. So, the teacher should concentrate on helping the pupils to be ready for this exam.
The traditional approach takes into account the social background of the learners and focuses on the result of the education. Thus, a teacher should pay more attention to what skills the student will acquire after the end of the course and the role they will play in students’ future life.
Lange emphasizes in her article (1984) that a student plays an important and considerable role in all aspects of curriculum development (p. 161). That’s why the aims reflected in the curriculum will satisfy students from the Reed-Enwright District.
Purposes of curriculum
If the teacher is eager that his/her collaborative work with a student is well-planed and effective, he/she should use the curriculum to explain to the class what they are to learn this material and how the acquired knowledge will help them in the future. Thus, Posner (2003) also mentions that curriculum is meant to make the process of learning understandable to students (p. 102).
It is the main purpose of the curriculum to make everything clear for both sides, thus, students will realize why they work on something and what they are to do next. It regulates the process and lessens the tension because most of the pupils from the problem districts may be afraid of facing something that they will not be ready for. Thus, they will know what they will do tomorrow and see the goal they are going to attain. That’s why the students from the Reed-Enwright District will do their best to master the skills necessary for the Basic Reading Competency Test. Moreover, if all students pass the test, it will improve the situation in the region and give pupils the chance to overcome their disadvantages.
The traditional curriculum approach will build a bridge between teachers and students and make them meet half the way. If students see that he/she understands their problems, they will trust the teacher and learn better than if they do not believe in their tutor. Good motivation is the best reason to improve the situation in the Reed-Enwright District.
Moreover, mutual understanding between the teacher and student will work for improving and developing their relationships. Thus, the traditional curriculum approach can become the first step to establishing good relations with pupils and encouraging them to learn. Perhaps, it will help the teacher to present some innovations to the students step by step when he/she see that they are ready for the experiments and risks. However, the first stage to success should be simple to give the students just what they want and need and not more. To impose something they cannot deal with and rely on that they might have some experience and background to apprehend the material can be not a good method because it can gain nothing but distract many students.
- Crawford-Lange, L. M., & Lange D. L. (1984). Doing the unthinkable in the second language classroom: A process for the integration of language and culture. In T. Higgs (Ed.), Teaching for proficiency: the organizing principle, 139 – 177.
- Freire, P. (2000). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York, NY: Continuum International Publishing Group.
- Posner, G. (2003). Analyzing The Curriculum. T. Dorwick, (Ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Humanities/So cial Sciences/Languages.