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The curriculum can be regarded as a backbone of a county’s education that is influenced by social, economic, political and cultural peculiarities of the nation. It is possible to compare two curriculum models to unveil some characteristics of different approaches. The USA curriculum can be compared with the one used in Singapore as these two countries can be regarded as leading nations when it comes to economic and social stability.
One of the major differences between the two curriculum models is the focus as the US educators employ a learner-centered approach while Singapore teachers utilize a subject-centered paradigm (Sparapani, Perez, Gould, Hillman, & Clark, 2014). In the USA, the development of a life-long learner is one of the most important goals while this aspect has little attention in Singapore (Hogan, 2014). The methods used to deliver the curriculum model also differ as Singaporean teachers rely on textbooks and drills while US teachers provide more freedom to students and tend to encourage students to think critically rather than memorize facts. A quick comparison of major peculiarities of the curricula of two countries is provided in a chart below.
|Structure||Different levels (federal, state and so on)||Highly centralized|
|Delivery||Lecturing, discussions, experiential approach (students solve problems)||Lectures, drills|
|Assessment||Tests are consistent with the curriculum||Tests are consistent with the curriculum|
|Diversity||A significant part of the curriculum||An insignificant part of the curriculum|
|Learning to learn||One of the goals is to develop lifelong learners||An insignificant part is devoted to this matter.|
|Students outcomes||Graduates are lifelong learners who have the necessary knowledge and skills to pursue their academic goals in higher education, or professional life||Graduates have the necessary knowledge to enter higher educational establishments or enter the labor force market.|
The philosophy of a school is the pathway for the educational establishment that may transcend it to affect the entire community. I will join a school that will have the philosophy of constant development and collaboration. The school will focus on the fostering of lifelong learners who are able and willing to think critically to contribute to the development of the community and the entire nation. At that, the school will not simply focus on the interaction with students. The school will try to encourage all the stakeholders to participate in the process of the development of new generations. The collaboration with students’ parents, organizations, officials and so on will be one of the goals of the school.
As the campus leader, I will try to make the stakeholders share the philosophy. One of the steps to achieve this goal is the use of shared leadership. Hughes and Pickeral (2013) note that this kind of leadership presupposes the creation of partnerships, the introduction of the shared purpose, shared responsibilities, respect between stakeholders, and teaching “inner strength” or, in other words, optimism, persistence, self-control and so on (p. 3).
I will use this paradigm to ensure the adoption of the philosophy described above. I will pay specific attention to the creation of the favorable climate in the school. I will launch a discussion of barriers to mutual trust. The discussion will mainly involve students, the faculty, parents and the administration. One of the particular methods to encourage this knowledge sharing is attention to every opinion and perspective. All students starting with the elementary school will participate in surveys, discussions, workshops and so on. I will try to create a community where people are eager to collaborate to achieve certain goals.
Research Paper Topic
The development of curriculum is an important issue to consider. It is possible to focus on various topics and areas. However, one of the aspects has received particular attention but still there are different views on the matter. Standards developed are associated with numerous questions yet to be answered (Tran, Reys, Teuscher, Dingman, & Kasmer, 2016). Tran et al. (2016) concentrate on mathematics, but standards in other disciplines are associated with similar concerns.
For instance, it is not clear how to make sure that all peculiarities of students are taken into account. One of the goals of the US education is to encourage students to be creative and find different methods to approach problems. However, the existence of standards poses threats to achieving this goal. More so, the world is developing at a very high pace, and students should acquire various skills and diverse knowledge to be able to enter higher educational establishments or labor force market.
However, it can be rather hard to choose the most relevant skills to be included in the standard. It can also be quite difficult to include all the necessary skills into the curriculum due to the time limits. Therefore, it is clear that educators face significant issues when it comes to the development of standards. Addressing these issues will make the overall system more effective as academic goals (that are incorporated into standards) will be clearly outlined.
Cook (2010) identifies a number of controversial curriculum issues that include such aspects as students’ outcomes, evaluation paradigm, educational goals and so on. However, the author does not mention all of the existing issues. For instance, the researcher outlines some perspectives employed when developing the curriculum (objectives-oriented or process oriented and so on), but it is unclear which paradigm is the most effective.
The author notes that all of these approaches are used in parts, but the proportion of each of the paradigms is in question. The majority of educators tend to focus on objectives, but this approach is hardly consistent with the learner-centered paradigm. Thus, it is important to identify the extent to which each of the perspectives should be employed when developing the curriculum for a particular subject, a particular educational facility, or state.
It is crucial to make sure that the focus on students’ ability to learn and think critically can be maintained. Thus, educators cannot concentrate on disciplines and a set of standards. At the same time, it is also necessary to ensure the development of certain knowledge base that will allow students to achieve their academic goals. The search for balance between these major paradigms is still a controversial issue.
Curriculum Methods and Planning
Luke, Woods, and Weir (2013) note that instruction and curriculum are interdependent. However, when choosing between the two, it is necessary to note that the curriculum comes first. The curriculum is the framework that shapes instruction, and it can be regarded as the major guideline to follow. When planning, teachers should start with the curriculum. It is essential to identify major goals to meet and areas to cover. This often affects the way the material will be delivered (Luke et al., 2013).
The teacher should understand what topics should be covered and when each topic can be discussed. In other words, the teacher may try different teaching practices to ensure the effectiveness of the curriculum.
However, it is essential to identify major peculiarities of the curriculum to be able to choose the most appropriate instruction. A simple example can illustrate the effectiveness of this paradigm. Teachers can use effective teaching practices that will inevitably fail if they are inconsistent with the curriculum since students acquire skills and knowledge that is used in the acquisition of other types of skills. The lack of a rigid plan (curriculum) will create the chaos and will prevent students from proper development as some information will be forgotten before students can use it.
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Community of Learners
To achieve all academic goals effectively, schools should be communities of learners. Such communities can be characterized by a number of features. First, there is an efficient collaboration that involved all the stakeholders. Students, teachers, and parents, as well as the administration, try to work together to address some goals (Hughes & Pickeral, 2013). The collaboration is, in its turn, ensured by effective communication and knowledge sharing. Students are not the only people who learn in the school.
Parents also learn from teachers who may tell parents about their children and ways to communicate with them. Teachers learn from their students, as well as their parents, and develop new teaching practices and methods or even values and beliefs.
As a leader, I am responsible for the creation or maintenance of these characteristics. Thus, I will try to create the necessary platform for effective communication and collaboration. The use of technology will be instrumental in this process. For instance, I will encourage the stakeholders to use a social network or even specific software that will be used in the school. I will also launch numerous venues to bring the stakeholders together. These can be fairs, workshops, excursions, concerts, charity activities, and so on. Clearly, the lack of time and focus on personal issues can prevent the school from becoming the community of learners. However, I will stress the benefit of such an approach, which will (gradually) encourage people to be more active.
Cook, D.A. (2010). Twelve tips for evaluating educational programs. Medical Teacher, 32(4), 296-301.
Hogan, D. (2014). Why is Singapore’s school system so successful, and is it a model for the West? Web.
Hughes, W., & Pickeral, T. (2013). School climate and shared leadership. Web.
Luke, A., Woods, A., & Weir, K. (2013). Curriculum design, equity and the technical form of the curriculum. In A. Luke, A., Woods, & K. Weir (Eds.), Curriculum, syllabus design, and equity (pp. 6-40). New York, NY: Routledge.
Sparapani, E.F., Perez, D.C., Gould, J., Hillman, S., & Clark, L. (2014). A global curriculum? Understanding teaching and learning in the United States, Taiwan, India, and Mexico. Sage Open, 4(2). Web.
Tran, D., Reys, B.J., Teuscher, D., Dingman, S., & Kasmer, L. (2016). Research commentary: Analysis of curriculum standards: An important research area. Journal of Research in Mathematics Education, 47(2). Web.