Experts discuss how to develop curricula so that students learn to solve problems they are likely to encounter in life--while also providing them with approaches to unfamiliar problems. The book also addresses how teachers can help prepare students for postsecondary education.
This important book addresses how to make mathematical education of all students meaningful--how to meet the practical needs of students entering the work force after high school as well as the needs of students going on to postsecondary education.
For ESL/EFL students, making explicit the implicit is crucial in learning to write an academic argument. And this book does that in a way that captures the essence of academic writing and represents it in a down-to-earth way. Although written for L1 composition, is a book I plan to read and re-read this summer and incorporate into my classes next fall.
One virtue of such templates, we found, is that they focus writers' attention not just on what is being said, but on the forms that structure what is being said. In other words, they help students focus on the rhetorical patterns that are key to academic success but often pass under the classroom radar.
Besides showing "the moves that matter" in an easily understandable way, the book provides templates to help students make these moves in their own writing. Graff and Birkenstein anticipate "naysayers" on templates as being prescriptive and "stifling creativity," but respond by noting their classical history and present modern examples from academic journals. Then adding their own voice, they write,
The thinking here can be explicated in terms of the analogy of anout-of-control virulent disease, for which there is only one type ofmedicine available; taking a large dose of this medicine is extremelybeneficial, and the hope is that taking only a little—while lesseffective—is better than taking none at all. Medically, this isdubious, while the educational version—forcing students to work,until they exit the system, on topics that do not interest them andfor which they have no facility or motivation—has even lessmerit. (For a critique of Adler and hisPaideia Proposal, see Noddings 2011.) It is interesting tocompare the modern “one curriculum track for all” positionwith Plato's system outlined in the Republic, according towhich all students—and importantly this included girls—setout on the same course of study. Over time, as they moved up theeducational ladder it would become obvious that some had reached thelimit imposed upon them by nature, and they would be directed off intoappropriate social roles in which they would find fulfillment, fortheir abilities would match the demands of these roles. Those whocontinued on with their education would eventually be able tocontemplate the metaphysical realm of the “forms”, thanksto their advanced training in mathematics and philosophy. Having seenthe form of the Good, they would be eligible after a period ofpractical experience to become members of the ruling class ofGuardians.
students work through the story to achieve the missions the story puts forth, they learn the critical skills they need to successfully accomplish their tasks. The SCC implements true learning-by-doing, integrating all aspects of real-world tasks, as opposed to teaching skills independently, without context.
In contrast, for Dewey each individual was an organism situated ina biological and social environment in which problems were constantlyemerging, forcing the individual to reflect, act, and learn. Dewey,following William James, held that knowledge arises from reflectionupon our actions and that the worth of a putative item of knowledge isdirectly correlated with the problem-solving success of the actionsperformed under its guidance. Thus Dewey, sharply disagreeing withPlato, regarded knowing as an active rather than a passiveaffair—a strong theme in his writings is his opposition to whatis sometimes called “the spectator theory ofknowledge”. All this is made clear enough in a passagecontaining only a thinly-veiled allusion to Plato's famous allegory ofthe prisoners in the cave whose eyes are turned to the light byeducation:
The different justifications for particular items of curriculumcontent that have been put forward by philosophers and others sincePlato's pioneering efforts all draw, explicitly or implicitly, uponthe positions that the respective theorists hold about at least threesets of issues. First, what are the aims and/or functions of education(aims and functions are not necessarily the same)? Alternatively, asAristotle asked, what constitutes the good life and/or humanflourishing, such that education should foster these? (Curren,forthcoming) These two formulations are related, for it is arguablethat our educational institutions should aim to equip individuals topursue this good life—although this is not obvious, both becauseit is not clear that that there is one conception of the good orflourishing life that is the good or flourishing life for everyone,and it is not clear that this is a question that should be settled inadvance rather than determined by students for themselves. Thus, forexample, if our view of human flourishing includes the capacity to actrationally and/or autonomously, then the case can be made thateducational institutions—and their curricula—should aim toprepare, or help to prepare, autonomous individuals. A rival approach,associated with Kant, champions the educational fostering of autonomynot on the basis of its contribution to human flourishing, but ratherthe obligation to treat students with respect as persons. (Scheffler1973/1989, Siegel 1988) Still others urge the fostering of autonomy onthe basis of students' fundamental interests, in ways that draw uponboth Aristotelian and Kantian conceptual resources. (Brighouse 2006,2009) How students should be helped to become autonomous or develop aconception of the good life and pursue it is of course not immediatelyobvious, and much philosophical ink has been spilled on thematter. One influential line of argument was developed by Paul Hirst,who argued that knowledge is essential for developing and thenpursuing a conception of the good life, and because logical analysisshows, he argued, that there are seven basic forms of knowledge, thecase can be made that the function of the curriculum is to introducestudents to each of these forms. (Hirst 1965; for a critique seePhillips 1987, ch.11.) Another is that curriculum content should beselected so as “to help the learner attain maximumself-sufficiency as economically as possible.” (Scheffler1973/1989, p. 123)
In high school education, preparation for work immediately after high school and preparation for post-secondary education have traditionally been viewed as incompatible. Work-bound high-school students end up in vocational education tracks, where courses usually emphasize specific skills with little attention to underlying theoretical and conceptual foundations. College-bound students proceed through traditional academic discipline-based courses, where they learn English, history, science, mathematics, and foreign languages, with only weak and often contrived references to applications of these skills in the workplace or in the community outside the school. To be sure, many vocational teachers do teach underlying concepts, and many academic teachers motivate their lessons with examples and references to the world outside the classroom. But these enrichments are mostly frills, not central to either the content or pedagogy of secondary school education.
Educational thinking in the United States has traditionally placed priority on college preparation. Thus the distinct track of vocational education has been seen as an option for those students who are deemed not capable of success in the more desirable academic track. As vocational programs acquired a reputation