Reading the first two chapters of the book entitled Curriculum Theory: Conflicting Visions and Enduring Concerns I gained three major ideas that I will discuss in this reflection. In chapter one, Schiro briefly discusses the beliefs that people have about the American school curriculum and the four curriculum ideologies namely: the scholar academic, the social efficiency, the learner centered, and the social reconstruction. Even though Schiro did not offer an in-depth introduction to the four curriculum ideologies in the first chapter of the book, I was able to identify myself with both the scholar academic and the social efficiency curriculum ideologies. I agree with the premise that curriculum should foster the acquisition of knowledge and provide students with the experiences, skills, and traditions needed to become practicing professionals. Anything short of that is a disservice to students. In other words, when I teach Chemistry, I strive to provide students with the experiences, skills, and traditions needed to become actual chemists if they so choose.
Despite my firm beliefs in the scholar academic ideology, I also find myself being in favor of training students in the skills and procedures necessary for the workplace, home lives, and in meeting their democratic functions to society. This belief of mine is in line with the social efficiency curriculum ideology. In addition, I tend to side more with the views that the classification system that categorizes educators into one of four distinct groups (i.e. academic, social efficiency, learner centered, and social reconstruction) is flawed. I believe that many educators, myself included, have a strong affinity to one of the curriculum ideologies, but may also have an affinity to elements of the other types of curriculum ideologies. Therefore, we may be considered eclectic in how we align ourselves with the curriculum ideologies.
In chapter two of the book, Schiro discusses the scholar academic ideology in detail. I will mainly reflect on the teaching methods used by educators who subscribe to the scholar academic ideology. The three teaching methods Schiro discusses in this chapter include didactic discourses, supervised practices, and Socratic discussions. I find myself using almost all of these teaching methodologies in my teaching. As I develop my 5E lesson plans, I normally think of the best ways and/or teaching methods I can employ efficiently and effectively to convey concepts to students. For example, I may ask myself “is guided practice the best way to present this material to my students” or “will power point presentation (didactic) or Socratic questioning be more helpful?”. Teaching is more than knowing the content; it also involves knowing the pedagogical processes of presenting the information to students who naturally have varied interests, abilities, and backgrounds. Thus, to effectively teach students new concepts, you have to constantly think about the best way to present the information.
In conclusion, chapters one and two were very informative. I gained a lot of new information including the different curriculum ideologies, the problems associated with classifying educators into these ideologies, and the teaching method and evaluative tools associated with the scholar academic ideology.
Schiro, S. M. (2013). Curriculum Theory: Conflicting Visions and Enduring Concerns ((2nd ed). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.