Hans Feng

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In your opinion, do you feel we need to move toward curriculum reform ? What areas would you target? What are the main issues you see?

In your opinion, do you feel we need to move toward curriculum reform (Canada/U.S)?
What areas would you target?
Are we in need of some large scale changes, or small, or none?
what you feel are the main issues.
Reasons for changing or not changing the current curriculum.

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    Nov 9 2013: Yes, reform is desperately needed. But, as long as the extremely narrow-minded mandate of simply making students employable and obtaining jobs and careers is the principle function of schools everywhere reform will never actually happen. Instead we will continue to see more and more tinkering with the peripheral curriculum components with little to no effect on the employment mandate.

    As for effective and relevant reform, the very first thing to do is scrap the outdated employment mandate and replace it with one that works with each and every student to first identify their strengths, weaknesses and personal interests and then work within that framework of knowledge to support each and every student in finding their own level of participation within their respective communities.
  • Nov 12 2013: I love any comment that starts with "yes, we need to reform schools". Not because I don't think it is necessary but rather because the assumption is that schools aren't reforming.

    Having spent a good number of years in education, I can't actually tell you a year that I was teaching that we were not changing, fixing, or altering something so that we would be better than before. We have been in a constant state of reform rather than in a steady state of anything other than change.

    The reforms are most often driven by the government and reformers who have no clue or experience with students or the classroom. Testing mandates, increasing passing rates and testing rates, and a myriad of other mandates, making schools social justice institutions rather than educational institutions creates a host of issues.

    Quite simply, the reforms were most often the next shiny program with little focus on long-term achievement, but they sure looked good for about 1 - 3 years before they were tossed in favor of the next best shiny program presented by the great reformers.

    If you are going to institute true reform, figure out what the stakeholders want, identify it, spell it out, then make it happen. Don't just say things need to be reformed, because that has been ongoing for a lot of years and we are now in this mess.
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    Nov 8 2013: Could you describe the most recent curricular trends in Canada and the focus of reforms now underway? What are the big themes in curricular reform where you are?

    Here is a historical picture: http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/articles/curriculum-development
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      Nov 8 2013: Some curriculum experts are becoming alarmed about the trend in recent years of moving away from teaching knowledge to teaching skills.
      Here is one local opinion retrieved from Vancouver sun:
      Former minister of education George Abbott's attempt to trans-form the British Columbia public school curriculum demonstrates that the ministry's view of education has finally been reduced to the level of adolescent musing.

      When I was a senior in high school in 1964, a number of my classmates and I complained to our teachers that we wanted to study concepts, not facts. We were ignored, of course, by our teachers and the administration, and with good reason: we were wrong.

      I didn't realize we were wrong until my first year of university, when I discovered that concepts can only be discussed and debated when one is in possession of a very large number of facts. Without facts at one's disposal, any discussion of a concept becomes merely an expression of uninformed opinion, a reality that the social media embrace and that even the traditional media now encourage with their new emphasis on "feedback" from readers and viewers.

      Yet this is the vision of the Ministry of Education: a population of students that have somehow "learned" concepts without learning any facts. The "over-view" of the curriculum's transformation on the ministry's website states: "Educators say the current curriculum has too many objectives to cover and with so many objectives it can in some ways restrict student learning. Moreover, its highly prescriptive nature puts it at odds with the vision of a more personalized learning experience set out in B.C.'s Education Plan. ... In today's technology-enabled world, students have virtually instant access to a limitless amount of information. The greater value of education for every student is not in learning the information but in learning the skills they need to successfully find, consume, think about and apply it in their lives."
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      Nov 8 2013: Do you have any teaching experience? If so can you tell me how you feel about the curriculum nowadays? referring to my questions. thanks
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        Nov 8 2013: Yes, I have as well as three offspring in school.

        What I see is that the quality of education students receive is quite different from school to school, but that an emphasis on critical thinking, problem-solving, reasoning, and analysis is vital. One cannot learn these in the abstract but only through application, which means they must be used in a context, which by its nature includes facts. As there is indeed a limitless amount of information available online, students in school can certainly use a lot of help in recognizing quality and reliability, or they will have great difficulty in life-long learning..Too many people are engaged in continuous reading of stuff online and do not recognize which things they read make sense and which don't. This is a problem.
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          Nov 8 2013: thanks for sharing! I totally agree
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    Nov 11 2013: I'm not even sure where to start. I've written a whole book (short one: A Brief Discussion on Education) about the issues regarding our education system. Our entire system has been corrupted by corporate interests. Educators are no longer the ones driving the direction of education. Here's a "short" list of reforms that would improve the quality of education.

    Give teachers back control of the classroom and create a homeroom environment where the homeroom instructor sets curriculum. Increase the number of trade/vocational schools. Emphasize learning by doing, especially learning by play. I think games should be a big part of the learning process. End the mentality that everyone has to go to college. It's simply not true, and not everyone is cut out for college. There's a lot more, but it would be too much to discuss in a single post.
  • Nov 11 2013: 1. need to emphasize early years 3-10 so that they are prepared to learn, reading, writing, and math

    2. Flip the class so that there is more personal instruction and do problems with teacher's help (there will be a need for

    3. Emphasis on critical thinking.
  • Nov 11 2013: Character development and early skills development such as multilingual abilities, typing, acting, writing, detailed planning, meditation, yoga, massage therapy, philosophical concept interpretation
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    Nov 11 2013: traditional attitudes and assessment practice are the giant stones that drag all curricula down.

    the reform needs to happen around how people view measurement of performance. both within the education system and the parent community. i think this is slowly changing.

    i also like to remember a quote from George Santayana - "a child educated only at school is an uneducated child".
  • Nov 10 2013: It's my observation that the popular curriculum is a thin layer of a lot of topics and interests. Absorption misses the most vulnerable classes and contributes to a failed outlook in their long term planning and delay of life's goals. If the curriculum was designed around their expectation then all the hyperbole surrounding education and success can be their story. Most members of the vulnerable classes who achieve success are successful in their careers or perspective industries in spite of their education. Most include a teacher in their beginning years who was the fulcrum that guided their realities to their dreams. By that example curriculum should focus on business education k-12. Meaningful learning would be prevalent and by it's nature business education is a curious animal seeking out new ideas and recasting old ones.
  • Nov 9 2013: Reform is desperately needed in the U.S.

    If reform was to happen, classroom layout should be addressed as the current in class arrangement makes it easy for students in the back to get distracted from the lessons being offered because they just can't see or hear as well as the students up front and they don't get noticed as well. A semi-circle of three to four desks deep around an elevated teachers platform would make it easier to stay focused and hear the topic of discussion and participate.

    Another issue that needs to be addressed is the fact that not all students learn in the same manor (e.g.. visual, audio tactile. etc.). However, all students are taught exactly the same way sit, listen, memorize, repeat back what was just said/written. They are also taught how to successfully take a test. This does not mean the student understood or related to the lesson only that they indeed heard, were paying attention, maybe wanted to learn but not that they cognitively connected to the heart of what was being taught.

    The final thing I feel needs to be addressed is social interaction. As an individual who was severely bullied and whom never saw anyone successfully address the bullying, nor any reduction in the bulling when it was addressed; I know that socialization education and relating to others is a severely under addressed and necessary factor of a young individuals life. You can not guarantee children will get that education at home anymore than you can guarantee that a child will learn how to count to 10 or there ABC's before going to Kindergarten.

    K-12 is the most impactful years of an individuals learning life. And we in the U.S are failing of future generations as it stands now. Many of them are socially inept, cognitively confounded and unable to think for themselves about what is and is not the right way to think about what they are doing, where they are going and how there actions relate to that objective.
  • Nov 9 2013: When we talk of Politics, we talk of the Leadership.
    When we talk of Education, we talk of Teacher-Student interactions.
    Leadership is seldom mentioned, nor critical judgments made.

    For an area that has fallen low in accomplishment of purpose, yet
    made fortunes for it's Leadership's, nary a word spoken.

    Strange, huh?

    Can you out there "name" the Supervisor Levels and Who sits in charge
    of your children's education?

    I would wager, that unless you are involved in the education system, you cannot.
    Strange, huh?
  • Nov 9 2013: Simple this ---

    Our Geographical Government needs to restrict School Loans to Students who attend
    Schools that Guarantee their Education Curriculum.

    Unfortunately the Educators of our Nation cannot seem to be successful in their venture.
    Why then support them?

    Colleges and Universities make the big bucks with Football. Let them have their games.
    Education should be a more serious matter.
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    Gord G

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    Nov 8 2013: I suppose in a perfect world reform wouldn't be needed simply because a curriculum should be a dynamic document. But I think the rapid rise of the information age and subsequent changes in how people interact with new resources, necessitates a pedagogical paradigm shift.

    I think targeting learning strategies would be the most beneficial. There appears to be a common misconception in the general population that access to information equates to education. I think it's important people understand the way we learn so they have the skills to process the deluge of data flooding the multitude of devices they own.