Archive for the ‘American Education System’ Category

Week 13: Blog Reflection: Curriculum and Instruction EDCI 506

Sunday, April 14th, 2013


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In today’s schools students, I believe, are being taught the essential curriculum.  These “essential influenced curriculum” includes English, mathematics, science, history, foreign languages and geography.  These subjects are deemed as necessary for students to complete upon graduation.  This way students have the essential knowledge needed to deal with situations and ideas that may arise in their future.  Currently there are several approaches to curriculum development.  Curricula may be subject-center or student centered.

Subject centered curricula has many different styles of creating a curriculum.  Schools may use a subject-area approach, perennialist approach, essentialist approach, back-to-basics approach, or core approach.  Each one of these approaches focuses on the subject matter as the main focus.  Therefore these curriculums are tailored around the subjects that the student’s needs to learn in order to graduate and become the best students possible.  A subject-area approach uses the textbook as a master plan for how students should learn. The textbooks are organized in a way to organize thoughts and ideas of the subject.  Subject-area approach treats “each subject as a specialized and largely autonomous body of knowledge.  Perennialist focus on the logic in the elementary level then classics at secondary level, whereas Essentialist focus on the high-school curriculum (English, science, math, geography, foreign language, history) in order to keep up with today’s knowledge and what the children will need to know in the future.  The back-to-basics approach “connotes a heavy influence on reading, writing, and mathematics”.  A core approach also focuses on the basic subjects in order to create a knowledgeable body of students. Student centered curriculum, as its name sounds, places the student as the most important factor in creating a curriculum.  Approach may be activity based, relevant curriculum, humanistic approach, free schools or alternative schools or value centered curriculum.  Each one of these styles of developing curriculum makes sure that the student is learning in the best way possible perhaps through experiences, or through the values instilled upon the students by the teacher. (Ornstein, 2011)

Teacher may choose to use the direct instruction model.  This model “emphasizes well-developed and carefully planned lessons designed around small learning increments and clearly defined and prescribed teacher tasks (Ornstein, et al.) .”  These direct instruction lessons are often scripted.  The teacher leads the lesson which is then followed with the students practicing the lesson and then immediate teacher feedback.  This type of instructional method is often found in schools suffering under NCLB.  Outside sources may help schools to develop a curriculum focusing on direct instruction in order to make sure the students are learning what they need to be learning in order to pass the SOL or any other standardized test.  Non-direct instruction is often the type of instruction that you will see if inquiry-based learning is prominent. Through inquiry-based learning students are able to construct a response from what they were able to gather without the scripted lesson of the teacher.

As a future history teacher I will be using student-centered approach to curriculum in order to make sure that all my students are engaged throughout the learning process.  History can often be thought of as boring and drawn-out.  It’s important for me to change the idea of a history class in my student’s mind.  Instead of sitting and listening to a scripted lesson from the textbook, I want to be able to have my students interact with myself and each other through jigsaw activities, learning centers and technology.  In order for my students to do their very best I need to make sure that I am following the subject curriculum developed by the school and department head , especially if my class has a SOL at the end of the year.  I would use to my advantage, the department head and administrators for any questions that I might have.


Ornstein, A., Levine, D., & Gutek, G. (2011). Foundations of education. (11 ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

EDCI 506 Blog: Week 12

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

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Schools in the twenty-first century are encountering several issues.  More and more policies are being added to state’s educational plans, such as NCLB, IDEA Goals 200: Educate American Act.  These policies are making it hard for schools and instructors to be their best.  The impact that these acts and policies have on state standards will heavily influence the way that an instructor plans his or her lesson.  The instructor needs to be aware of performance based outcomes and how those will affect the students and the teacher.

Although these policies have been trying to make education better, there are still accounts where new ideas are being stifled due to reemerging old ideas.  During the Cold War the idea of education was based upon intellectual training due to a “concern over economic competition with foreign countries”, you can see this idea now as the US tries to become one of the top countries.  The US falls behind in areas such as math and science to other countries who score higher and are able to obtain higher-paying jobs even in the US.  As well as intellectual training the idea from the 1960s and 1970s that education should focus on educating the disadvantaged is also making a comeback.  The issue here though is, are these goals and objectives of education relevant of the times?

I think that these reemerging ideas are relevant to the issues of the US today.  Education should focus on intellectual training as well as educating the disadvantaged.  Programs are in place to allow for the more intelligent students to further their knowledge in magnet schools and gifted programs.  Head Start Programs and after school programs are helping to educate the disadvantaged students in order to get them into the school system and keep them there until graduation.  These are programs and ideas that need to be in place if the US has any hope of having an educated generation in the upcoming years.

I think that it is important the schools focus on the creativity and allow for students to have some control over the content that they will be learning.  By giving the students a little control it will make the students seem that they have had a voice, that they aren’t being told every class what they will learn without a reasonable explanation to why.  This way if they want to focus more on the Civil Rights movement, let them decide what they want to focus more on, collectively as a class or by themselves as a project for the lesson.  It is important that instructors try not to stifle the creativity of their students but instead to embrace it.  Let the students have some control on what they want o learn, how they want to learn it and how they want to showcase what they have learned.  This will let them have to think for themselves and to take some responsibility.



Ornstein, A., Levine, D., & Gutek, G. (2011). Foundations of education. (11 ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

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INDT 501-02: New Technologies

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

TED talks Youtube channel

I’m just going to start off by saying that those TED talks are so interesting and awesome! I thought it was incredibly neat that when you “wore technology” you could just put your four fingers together and take a picture..of anything..ANYWHERE. That is awesome! That could definitely be beneficial in classroom. For only $350 (which doesn’t seem too bad), you could have one that the school can share.  It was be neat for classes to take this on a fieldtrip, that way a blog or school website could be updated instantly with pictures from the trip.  It would also be neat to have this in the classroom or in the environment when you’re outside with your students. I can only imagine that this would open up so many opportunities and ideas for the future generations!

I also thought that the ARIS game program was really neat. I would definitely try to use this as much as I could in a classroom. I read an article that an ARIS game was created which walked students through Vietnam protest on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. The students, “using their phones, the kids view footage of protests at the same spots where they’re standing. They also learn how the press covered the war and how that colored the protests”.  As I hope to teach History I think this would be an amazing app to walk students through the Fredericksburg Battlefields and spots around Downtown Fredericksburg where significant events occurred during the Civil War and such.  I would also want to incorporate the podcasts via mobile phones so that the students could immediately share with the class their feelings of being in the same spot that events occurred hundreds of years ago.

I would also like to have a class blog for my classes. I want the blog to be a source of information and creativity for my students. I like the idea that you can upload videos, texts and pictures from your phone to the blog (  This would give the students more opportunities outside the classroom to find information and immediately upload the information instead of waiting and forgetting. This would have made it easier for me as a student when I saw something that relted to my class while I was in another state or on vacation. If I could updated the blog and shared what I found instead of printing the picture, and writing up a reflection.  It’s important that as we continue to live in the 21st century that we try, as teachers, to incorporate as much of modern technology as we can. As teachers, we cannot fall behind into the traditional teaching model but need to embrace the technology, embrace our students needs and desires of learning and try our best to make learning hands-on and fun again!

EDCI 506 Blog 11 EEO

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

Inclusive classroom grades 6-12

Curriculum and instruction will vastly differ between a gifted class and that of other classes.  In gifted classes students are taught and expected to think more creatively about situations.  They are expected to master complex vocabulary and to think deeper about stories and subjects they are learning about.  For example, my sister is in 7th grade and in the gifted education program.  Her gifted class focuses more so on English than any other subject.  She usually has upwards of an hour of homework to do working on analogies, interpreting poems and stories, conducting research and creating projects on what they had read about. I’ve even noticed that she thinks more into topics than I, or my parents do. Her vocabulary is astounding (I even have to look up the words sometimes that she uses).  She wouldn’t get this type of experience or higher-level learning in a regular class. I was not in the gifted program at school (I pretty sure it’s because when I was tested and they asked me what I liked to do for fun, I replied “play with barbies”), I’m not as creative or think as deeply into readings. I’m not an expert at interpreting readings and poems and my vocabulary could definitely be stronger. If I have gifted students in my classroom I would try to give them additional independent work.  If I’m teaching a lesson on the civil war maybe I would ask these students to do extra research on literature of that time period, or of a battle. I would not want to separate these children drastically but also have them inter-mixed when I assign projects, hoping that their ways of thinking could influence the other students.

Honestly to find resources I just googled inclusive classroom techniques. I found this really cool “live binder” that had hundreds of tabs, research and teacher experiences on teaching within their nclusive classroom.  You can find the live binder here.  Just by going through ha few of these tabs teacher provided input on how you should address students with disabilities, how you should make examples out of the children who are staying on tasks and working quietly, “I love how quietly Group X is working!” The binder also gave examples of how teacher should choose their instruction methods when they encounter certain types of children with disabilities, for example the question was asked on how to plan for curriculum with students with Asperger’s Syndrome.  The website gave some valuable information, they said the most important thing is to make sure that the material is relevant and meaningful to all the students.  Without having meaningful material, you may lose the interest of students especially those with Asperger’s.  I also found this website which provided a plethora of resources for inclusive classrooms.  I really liked that it shared an article of Apps that can be downloaded in order to “level the playing field” I think it’s important to still try to keep up with modern technology with students with disabilities.

It’s also important that teachers and administrators regularly meet to discuss inclusion in the classroom. Teacher that have students with disabilities in their classrooms need a strong support system, people that they can rely on when things start to get tough.  Keeping administrators, special-ed teachers, gifted-teachers informed about the ongoing problems in the classroom and meeting to go over ideas of how the process can be made easier will help the teacher as well as the students in the classroom.  Using the resources found online on inclusive classrooms teachers can get a real feel for how their classroom might be and how they can facilitate instruction.

For myself, I think it would be challenging to have students with disabilities in my classroom and I would definitely reach out to other teachers and specialist to make sure that I am including all of my students in my lessons. The fact that the internet allows for me to research situations and figure out what other teachers have done will be a godsend!  I would want to make sure that the material I am teaching is meaningful to all the students. I would try to put the students in groups as much as possible in order for a calming classroom climate, as well as for the students to all interact with each other and feed off of each other in terms of higher-level thinking.  I would regularly ask the special-ed or gifted teachers for their input on my lesson plans and how they believe that I could change them to make it easier for the disabled students.  Their input and feedback would really help me be a better teacher.


The inclusive classroom. (n.d.). Retrieved from Resources

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EDCI 506 Blog week 10: Social Class, Race, and School Achievement

Sunday, March 24th, 2013


Social class and race have a huge impact on the school environment and te achievement of students within a classroom As much as we would like to think that all students are equal in their capability to learn and their motivations, it is not the case.  Students are from all different backgrounds, socially and economically.  The way that students have been raised, their morals/values and ideas, have a direct reflection on how that student will be perceived in the classroom and how much they are willing to achieve.

The Foundations of Education provides a detailed chart on how social class, race and ethnicity affect school performance. In summary the charts express that in average mathematics scores of eight graders in 2007, Asian/Pacific Islanders had the highest percentage, followed by non-Hispanic whites, then African Americans and then Hispanics.  Reading scores in 2007 were pretty much tied with Asian/Pacific Islanders rating the highest, then Hispanic, then African Americans. It also showed the poverty a percentage for those four groups, with African American’s having the highest poverty percentage followed by Hispanic, Asians and Whites.

Ever since the creation of education in the United States groups have been oppressed. Most commonly thought of when thinking of oppressed groups is African Americans but as time has gone on and the Hispanic population has steadily increased, educators are seeing a rising oppression with Hispanics.  As stated in Foundations of Education, “African Americans have a lower average socioeconomic status than that of white majority, even though many individual African Americans may be of higher SES than many whites…other major ethnic minority groups, such as Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans, are also disproportionately low in socioeconomic status” (Gutek 343).  The fact that these groups are of low socioeconomic status puts a damper on the idea of education for children.  Often times the lower the socioeconomic status is, the less motivation and willingness a student may have to complete assignments, or even show up for school.  This doesn’t necessarily have to do with having a lack of an influential role model for the child, but may also be that the child’s basic needs are not being met (Maslov’s pyramid).  By not having these basic needs of food, clothing and shelter met the students may feel as if they need to do more to help their family rather than sit in a classroom for eight hours.

Foundations of Education also mentions that “Hispanic white and Asian students are more likely to compete high school than are African American and Latino students”  This could be due to a variety of factors.  Often the lower the socioeconomic status of a student the less they are willing to compete school.  I believe that it takes a well-rounded, educated and informed teacher to really help push those students to wanting to finish high school and seek a career, however there will be obstacles in the classroom that a teacher must overcome if they wish to see all their students succeed.  These obstacles are, but not limited to,

  1. Inappropriate instruction and curriculum: The teacher needs to be aware what the students know and what they need help with. Teachers cannot just assume that students know their basic math skills and vocabulary words, often times they might not and by continuing on with lessons that build off of the basics, you are just preventing the students from ever coming to level and achieving the best for them.
  2. Lack of Success: This goes in hand with inappropriate instructions.  If a student never learned or understood the fundamentals and they continue to be pushed to the next grade, they will eventually understand that they will not ever be able to accomplish that of other students, they will lack motivation to do assignments knowing that they might score an F on it. If they know that they have no room for improvement, why would they even try?
  3. Difficult conditions of teaching: This was showcased in the Freedom Writers movie.  If you have an inner-city school that has a mixture of cultures, ethnicities and backgrounds you classroom climate may not be what you expect.  It is up to the teacher to really get to know his/her students in order to make them all feel welcome
  4. Homogeneous grouping: This type of grouping has been praised and ridiculed in the recent years.  The idea of “tracking” students based on their intelligence and achievements has schools starting to put those higher-learners in one group and the lower-learning/thinkers in another group.  This type of grouping clearly discriminates between the two different types of learners.  Instead of embracing the class as a whole teachers focus their attention on helping the lower-level learners on basic fundamentals while the high-level, more independent students are free to explore more in depth of the topics and move on without much help.  I believe that homogenous grouping will inevitable happen (think of Regular, Advanced and AP classes, that right there is clear separation by ability level), or even reading groups in elementary schools.  Separation doesn’t just stop in education, in careers you are split up among the most intelligent and the least.  There will always be a discrimination dealing with intelligence.  However, I do believe that this type of grouping could cause more emotional problems for students.  If they know that they are in a slower-learning group they may not even try to push themselves because they are comfortable. Of course, I want my students to be comfortable but I also want them to push themselves to be better. I think that if teachers group homogeneously then there should always be a chance that students can advance to the other group. Also, the groups should always come back as a whole in order to reflect on what they did, that way the learners can see how each other interpreted the situation and may lead the slower-learners into new ideas and pathways for how they interpret situations.

Time and time again you will read that the more time a student spends in school and activities the less time they will have to get into trouble. I agree with this statement but I also think that it takes more than just giving the students an assignment or busy work.  The teacher needs to be able to express to the students the importance of an education, the importance of achieving goals and dreams.  If the students can see that the teacher is there to help them, through thick and think, I believe the students will do a little more than what they come off as being able to do.  Students need to feel accepted by their peers and teachers.  If the classroom is comfortable and the teacher continuously shows how subjects relate to life and the environment I believe that students will start to see why an education is so important and why they should be in school and trying to achieve their dreams.  In my future classroom I would want to start the year off by having the students write down their quarterly and yearly goals. I would want to reflect on these goals with the student and with the class to be sure that these goals can be accomplished. When the students can see how they are achieving their goals through learning and being in school I think it will show them just how important and successful they can be.


Ornstein, A., Levine, D., & Gutek, G. (2011). Foundations of education. (11 ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.



EDCI 506 Blog 5: Governing and Administering

Sunday, February 17th, 2013


The No Child Left Behind Act has been a huge legislative move on the government part in order to make school districts and teachers accountable for the way their students perform on a standardized test.  In my beliefs this is not an accurate or positive way to showcase how well students understand material, or how well a teacher taught a subject.  The NCLB ends up putting more stress onto the students and teachers.  As mentioned in the video case, teachers and principals alike have several issues with the NCLB.  First off, the act puts a great amount of stress on the students, giving them little, if any, wiggle room to focus on other material that could potentially help the students understand a subject better.  The score of the standardized test does not take into account the issues that a students may be going through (homeless, divorced parents, assault, etc) which could affect the student and how they performed on the test that given day.  The score neglects any other pivotal information, such as how well the student had progressed from the beginning of the year until the end.  Perhaps the student was able to improve their overall grade by 10 points from the first nine weeks to the fourth nine weeks, the students explains that he or she understands the material.  However, the student is not good at taking tests, he or she gets nervous and is unable to score a 400 or better on the SOL.  Even though this student made such progress throughout the year, it does not matter in the eyes of the state because he or she was not able to “understand” the material according to the state requirements. All in all I do not believe that the NCLB will last for much longer. I do think that school systems should be held accountable but the test only score is not the way to make a school accountable, in the end this will make future generations not want to become a teacher because of all the red-tape and issues they would have to deal with.

The main concept I got from watching the video was teamwork.  The principals and experienced teachers could not emphasize working as a team enough to the intern.  They repeatedly told the intern to look for a mentor teacher, communicate with the teachers and administrative staff in order to get help.  I think that having a strong support system and help when need is absolutely pivotal to being able to manage a child with a learning disability in your classroom.  A mentor teacher and reading/math specialist would be able to help you more than ever.  They would be able to share with you their experiences and how they believe you should approach certain subjects and topics.  Having this system would allow for myself to be more at ease and comfortable with having a child in my class with a learning disability.  I would want a mentor or experienced teacher there to help me understand the IEP, or show me ways that I can include the student without make it more of an issue of their learning.


Ornstein, A., Levine, D., & Gutek, G. (2011). Foundations of education. Belmont, Ca: Wadsworth.

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EDCI 506 Blog 3: Recent Issues in Education

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

In terms of the purpose of education I believe Aristotle hit it spot on, “Education’s purpose is to cultivate liberally educated, rational people who can use their reason to make decisions and to govern society” (Ornstein, Levine & Gutek, 2011).  However, I do not believe that this means only through a strict curriculum of reading, math and writing, is education useful and purposeful.   In today’s schools systems it is imperative to the students that a teacher is respectful to them and their learning development, aware of emotional issues of the students, aware of the learning style of the student, and that teacher strives to make students knowledgably in areas deemed as worthy, history, sciences, math and language.

Throughout the readings on chapter three and four you can really get a sense of where education was and how it came to be today.  In each section little bits of history was transferred down from generation to generation and eventually allowed for what our education system looks like today.  The American education system has styles of Chinese, Hebraic, Greek, Roman, and Egyptian. However those countries alone cannot be credited with making education what it is today. Aspects from different time periods have also influenced how education is operating today such as, Medieval, Renaissance, and Enlightenment eras.

The American education system has been influenced by all of the above countries and time periods.  For example, the idea of testing our students to make sure they are the best and brightest came from Ancient China where it was imperative that students to see where students would spend their profession.  Egyptian educations system influenced the idea of using the education system to teach the upcoming bureaucracies.  Just as the idea of a well-rounded individual, emphasis on practical administration, the structure of the education system, focusing on science, math, language and history, and to provide education to everyone came from the Judaic, Greek, Roman, Arabic, Medieval, Renaissance and Reformation periods respectively. However, although many of the ideas of these countries and time periods have influenced America’s education system there are several ideas of those above that are no longer practiced  in the education system in American.  For example most of the countries only allowed boys and men to go to school because their job was to be a professional, and women were to stay at home.  That has completely changed in today’s education system, no longer are only certain people educated but everyone has a chance to learn and grow.

Not only have other areas all over the world helped the American Education system become what it is today but pioneers in the education field as well.  By looking at Comenius, Rousseau, Pestalozzi, Herbart, Froebel, Spencer, Dewey, Addams, Montessori, Piaget and Freire you can see all how those individuals had their own teaching method and how each was adapted and used in the classroom of today’s schools.  These pioneers introduced teacher to really look at the students, their emotions and the learning stages and development stages of the students in order to really understand what they should be learning and how they should be learning.  These pioneers changed the American system by providing not only a education outlook on how to teacher but also using influences of psychology and religion to offer different way to teach a student (memorization, self-activity, spontaneous learning, etc.).  Without these pioneers I can only imagine how the school system would work. Teacher would be lost at understanding their students, they would not have the idea of plan out lessons, and organize instruction in the most beneficial way.

From the beginning of the idea of an education system, experience has always played a part in how students should learn.  Most of the pioneers and ideas from other countries you can relate Dewey’s idea of progressivism.  For example, Rousseau “highlighted that children’s natural interests and instincts will lead to a more thorough exploration of the environment” ((Ornstein, Levine & Gutek, 2011). Pestalozzi introduced the “reliance on sensation” and that “knowing as understanding nature, its patterns and its laws…empirical, pr sensory learning through which children learn about their environment…”.  A lot of these pioneers called for students to use sensory, and putting what they’re learning into perspective, by seeing how it applies to society at that time, Addams stated that “The curriculum should be reconstituted to provide broadened experiences that explored children’s immediate environment…”.

In schools today you are more likely to see students learning the objective and then trying to relate it to a situation that occurs today.  For example the video in which the Civic’s teacher allowed for the students to learn about the law through a mock trial.  This is experience learning at its finest.  Here students are not just reciting facts and then “spitting” out the memorized facts on a test.  They are actually researching the legal terms, ad stating their case for what they believe in.  This way the teacher can see just how well the students are interpreting the information and how they are learning it.

Changing Education Paradigms –this is a pretty neat video on how education has changed and what is viewed as wrong with the education system.

Ornstein, A., Levine, D., & Gutek, G. (2011). Foundations of education. (11 ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth