Curricular Foundations and Best Practice

Trends Involving Efforts at School Reform or Improvement

Business and Community Participation

Boston Private Industry Council

This is an example of business and community participation
in an educational system.

Logical Technology
This is an advertisement for a company that makes technology specifically for the classroom, but you can see different uses, how it could help special needs students, and hear some opinions from teachers about technology in the classroom.

Gifted and Talented Students

Increasing Time for Teaching and Learning

Our Thoughts on Best Practice

Rural Education is often difficult becasuse of lowered expectations for teachers. These lowered expectations happen for many reasons, most involving the difficultes of bringing qualified staff to a rural area. Due to this, rural districts and schools often hire from the local population, which is a very small pool, and that can bring the quality of teachers down. While hiring from the outside might no be a realistic possibility, rural areas can demand standards of professionalism that holds everyone accountable. According to Wayne (1995) increased accountability can be achieved with habits as simple as updating insturction techniques and observence of school policies.

By Chris Mizel

Gifted and Talented Students
By Karen Babel

There are many approaches to meet the needs of the gifted student. Education has tended to either accelerate the curriculum or enrich the curriculum for gifted students. As we think about reform or improvement. We need to address the gifted student by increasing the number of minority and economically disadvantaged students. We need to make sure we are challenging them.

All students in our schools, including those who are gifted, deserve the best education we are capable of providing. On the one hand, education reform efforts reflect those approaches deemed necessary to accomplish that goal. On the other hand, gifted education has frequently been perceived as being the best in education provided only for "the best." If the aim of education reform is that all students should experience "gifted teaching," then the expertise and support of educators of the gifted should be a part of those efforts. Concurrently, all educators need to acknowledge that "gifted teaching" does not necessarily mean effectively "teaching the gifted." Knowing the difference depends upon understanding the nature of a student's gifts and talents. It also means placing greater value on each student's strengths.

The keys to successful education reform for students who are gifted results in educators and parents who can continually:
  1. Evaluate the effectiveness of the education reform strategies used in their districts.
  2. Review the quality and clarify the relationship of educational services for students who are gifted.
  3. Understand the complexity of the "big picture" as different education reform strategies are institutionalized in schools and beliefs about services for students who are gifted are incorporated.
Education reform is an opportunity for professionals in gifted education to recognize what works, what does not work, where "hitchhiking" on the ideas of others is wise, and to understand the changes that are needed to assure excellence in learning and character development. An inevitable outcome will be better schools for all students.

The Hidden Curriculum: Riddle Me This!?! What Are We Really Telling Our Students?
By Ladd Wendelin.


An English teacher heaps praises on the writings of Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer throughout the course.
A wrestling coach jokingly calls one of the students a “pansy” during practice.
A social studies teacher places pictures of her husband on her desk.
These may seem like relatively harmless examples of some of the activities and incidents that make up a day in the life of a typical school, and rightly so. They are in fact a small sampling of how the “hidden curriculum” has perpetuated itself into classrooms and hallways of every kind of contemporary school.
Teachers do not so much “teach” the hidden curriculum as they unconsciously enforce what constitutes it, which can differ from school to school, class to class, but it is generally agreed upon that the hidden curriculum reinforces societal norms, cultural, ideological, sexual stereotypes, and acceptable social behaviors. “In other words, the medium is a key source of messages,” according to Catherine Cornbleth ( Education Encyclopedia,“
As humans, we append meaning to objects, signs, or symbols. It’s how we construct the value of meaning in the world and determine what does or does not have intrinsic worth. In the same way, we bring these symbols along with their meanings and our values to the classroom, and using them, students derive ideas and construct meaning about their classroom and the school in ways we may not have even considered or intended. It begs the question, ‘What are we really telling our students?’
We want to impart lessons that will not only resonate but meaningfully serve the student outside the classroom as well. The hidden curriculum often describes how not to behave or how not to act. But as teachers, it only stands to reason that we should recognize sometimes obvious behaviors and encourage students to develop their own unique ideologies and values.
Perhaps Shakespeare isn’t the greatest writer of all time. The next Shakespeare could be sitting in your class! Derogatory statements that only serve to demean or enforce gender roles can be avoided. Perhaps it’s okay not to get married, since many people live happy lives alone within the support of family and friends. These, as mentioned, are just some examples of how the hidden curriculum can unknowingly work its way into the classroom curriculum.
Above all, we should remember that what we don’t teach is almost as important as what we do teach.
A case for the hidden curriculum being used as a positive model to teach socially acceptable manners and language to ESL students.
Brenda Smith Myles has done an extensive amount of work with the hidden curriculum and how it affects those with autism or Asperger’s Syndrome. Quite interesting, since the hidden curriculum reinforces socially acceptable behavior, but what about someone who is challenged in forming mental constructs of what socially acceptable behavior is? A brief article.

Technology is Beneficial: Use it Well
by Rebekah Keller

Technology in the classroom is something that people are unsure about. Some believe it to be necessary to keep up with our advancements and something that will help us connect with the next generation. Those unsure of technology wonder if it is actually helping the children learn better? Is this just another fad that will pass? If so then why spend all that money on implementing it?
I think one of the most important things to keep in mind when evaluating whether it is good or not is looking at how it is used. Those unsure or afraid to use technology might take attendance on a smart board or use a computer as a glorified projector because they can then say they are using technology in the classroom. In order to make use of this resource it must be used well; engage the students! It could be beneficial and enhance the lesson by allowing you to better teach to the different learning styles of the students in your classroom, help disabled students to better participate, or allow the more advanced students to be challenged with different activities.
The students are becoming more and more accustomed to technology use as it becomes more prominent in our society. Let us use this to their educational benefit. An article from the Heritage Foundation comments a particular way that technology is beneficial because in a study to see if those who used computers did better on tests the results said “that students who used computers predominantly for drill and practice, as opposed to using them in ways that develop higher-order thinking skills, tended to do worse on the NAEP math test.”
Technology should never get to the point in the classroom that it replaces the interaction and communication between people; it should be used to enhance not replace that interaction. Another thing to keep in mind is that the information overload, given to us by the internet, does need to be addressed and why not use the classroom to teach students to critically analyze information, particularly on the internet, so they are safe and are able to separate the opinions from the facts in this vast cyberspace of information readily available to them.

Do Computers in the Classroom Boost Academic Achievement?
Keyboard Campus
Evolution of Technology and Teaching
Why We Need to Teach Technology

Cooperation and Participation
with Business, Community,
and Other Institutions**
By Mary Hiner

When education is partnered with local businesses, the community, and other institutions, it is a win for the students and those partnering with them. It is especially true in very large cities with high drop out rates. This is the message students get : “ If you stay in school, work hard, and master the basics, you will be helped to find a job.” (Foundations of Education, Ornstein/Levine, 10th edition, p488).

To begin with, the inner city schools have a problem: high drop out rates and a struggling school system. The community at large has talents and funds that can be used to help the schools. For instance, the community has tutors, experts in computer technology and education, professionals for job shadowing, funds for education, churches for counseling services, professionals to help with curriculum development, and all sorts of other volunteers with individual skills.

Basically, this partnership helps set goals for both sides. Through the school officials, the community and businesses set high graduation standards. In order to work in these businesses, the students will need specific skill sets and educational degrees. The students know these requirements. They then set their own goals accordingly based on what type of jobs and careers they want.

The students become productive members of society. The local economy remains strong. As adults, these students now earn and spend money and pay taxes. The welfare system is alleviated. Crime is reduced. Family structure is strong.

Links to Websites on Reform-
I am adding some links on reform because I was amazed by how many groups were working on reforming the education process.

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