A Journal on Signature Pedagogies for Social Foundations: Negotiating Social Foundations Teaching Practices in the Field of Education by Sandra Schneider
A Journal on Signature Pedagogies for Social Foundations: Negotiating Social Foundations Teaching Practices in the Field of Education by Sandra Schneider written by Sharo Dickerson
The conflicts arising between the pedagogical preferences of the fields of instructional design and technology (IDT) and social foundations of education are substantial. This conflict is primarily one of pedagogical values separating the Social Foundations with its emphasis on critical and creative thinking and the presumption of value and theory neutrality inherent in IDT. This is a serious issue because, increasingly, educators use IDT models to translate Social Foundations courses with social justice and equity outcomes into online formats. Much is lost. This article offers a discussion of the theoretical grounding of IDT (task-analysis) versus social foundations in regards to implications for the instructional social organization of online social foundations classrooms. This article uses the notion of signature pedagogy to describe socio-cultural literacies as a basic tenet in social foundations of education. By doing so, it is demonstrated how these important theoretical positions are currently playing out in online instruction and space, to extend their relevance by introducing newer concepts such as Digital Cartesianism and co-presence, and to provide a concrete example of what these concerns look like in the current push towards digital formats. In the current context of the use of electronic, social, communication, and mobile technologies in education, we find a new site to continue challenging the assumed neutrality of the technological model for education.
Literature Review and Discussion
The transfer of critical theory and building of relationships through co-presence in signature pedagogies have raised conflicts between the fields of social foundations and instructional design and technology (Schneider, 2010, p. 416). Social foundations entails in-depth understanding of socio-cultural views, literacy, justice, and the like, that may include the development of different human characteristics: (a) appropriate behavior, (b) values, (c) human nature, (d) coping mechanisms, (e) tolerance (Ornstein, Pajak, & Ornstein, 2011). In doing so, there is concern on the effectiveness of developing and implementing critical pedagogies of social foundations in an online learning environment (Schneider, 2010, p. 416). An online or web-based learning environment has course instructors use both asynchronous and synchronous tools to deliver atypical online curriculum (Revere & Kovach, 2011). The learning environment is primarily conducted in a virtual space where both online teachers and students communicate, collaborate, and interact in a learning management system (LMS), such as Blackboard, MOODLE, and Angel (Revere & Kovach, 2011). Social foundations content, in this type of environment, is provided through similar curricular and instructional practices as accomplished in a face-to-face environment (Schneider, 2010, p. 416). Meanwhile, in a face-to-face course, social foundations is presented with a special emphasis on social justice and equity outcomes using socio-cultural lens, particularly with the implementation of strategies based on ecological views of classroom community and spatial proximity (p. 425). For this reason, instructional design and technology has to provide valuable and meaningful evidences that online learning is an effective medium in imparting social foundations content to students.
Co-presence in the same space is highly essential in the successful delivery of social foundations pedagogies (p. 418). This provides teachers and students with “informal, intuitive, local, knack-oriented, improvisational, and ad hoc nature” of meaningful learning experiences. Social foundations, based on face-to-face instruction, provide students with opportunities to process learning through (a) interdependence of individual minds and (b) interpersonal relations and social situations (p. 419). According to John Dewey (1980), growth is defined as an articulation of “visceral, affective, semiotic, and deeply embodied codependent experiences”, with resulting changes occurring throughout the course of learning, which is identified as “habit reconstruction” (p. 419). Signature pedagogies in social foundations are critical to the understanding of socio-cultural views on literacy and justice, which include the use of teaching characteristics and views about knowledge to construct new ideas among students (p. 420). As socially dependent beings, students gain better understanding with peers when learning involves support and respect from teachers, and significant amounts of human socialization is cultivated in a mutual space (p. 421).
On the other hand, content delivery, task analysis, formalization, and codification of knowledge are key methodologies used in computer-mediated instruction in the field of instructional design and technology (p. 418). Many computer-mediated instruction is presented in images and text, together with web-based manipulative and virtual interactions (P. 419). Likewise, there is significant emphasis placed on task analysis, particularly with its paramount role in instructional design (p. 422). The understanding of social foundations context in this type of learning environment is made through a pre-specified process of analytical activities, which are defined within the parameters of the learning situation (p. 422). In addition, task analysis provides direct instruction, performance support, and constructivist learning environments as part of the pre-specified process (ibid).
These differences (i.e. on teaching and learning through co-presence in a mutual space and on computer-mediated instruction through a virtual learning environment) are demonstrated in the disconnection of “practiced responsiveness” and making of meaning (p. 418). This includes the limitations (i.e. lack of emphasis on: cohort groups collaboration, peer-journaling partnerships, diversity brought in face-to-face learning, grappling as part of student learning) of computer-mediated instruction that concerns many face-to-face social foundations teachers (p. 419). In other words, computer-mediated instruction in the instructional design and technology model restricts the structure of participation and intimate communication that originally occurs in a face-to-face social foundations course (p. 423).
These constraints can be associated with Lawrence Kohlberg’s (1975) identification and explanation of the different stages of morality, namely: (a) Stage 1: the punishment-and-obedience, (b) Stage 2: the instrumental-relativist orientation, (c) Stage 3: the interpersonal concordance or “good boy-nice girl” orientation, (d) Stage 4: the “law and order” orientation, (e) Stage 5: the social-contract, legalistic orientation, and (f) Stage 6: the universal-ethical-principle orientation (Ornstein et al, 2011). In a social foundations course, where socio-cultural views on literacy and justice are developed, students can be led to experience these different stages of morality through supportive and effective contextual delivery and methodological practices by teachers in a face-to-face learning environment (Schneider, 2010). The valuable contributions that social foundations teachers can provide through face-to-face discussions, collaborative groupings of students, relevant and real-world situational experiences, and the like, can lead to more opportunities of meaningful and critical teaching and learning experiences (Ornstein et al, 2011). In an online learning environment, these experiences may be more challenging and difficult to achieve based on limited possibilities of human interaction and internalization in a mutual space, and with a greater emphasis on the use of computer-mediated instruction in delivering content (Schneider, 2010).
In today’s classroom, there is continuous evidence on the reluctance of regular classroom teachers, parents, and district/campus administrators to allow students to take different courses in a full online learning environment. This reluctance may include the lack of understanding about online course instruction and curriculum development, and the difference between online teacher-led instructions versus a completely computer-mediated instruction. As discussed in previous paragraphs, there is a greater preference to develop understanding and deliver meaningful learning activities of social foundations in a face-to-face learning environment (Schneider, 2010). It is difficult to identify and implement specific methods of instruction that will truly work successfully in any curriculum, particularly when it involves a more complex and elaborate content such as social foundations (Ornstein et al, 2011). Though social foundations context may be more ideal in a face-to-face learning environment, teachers may find it valuable to blend such learning with educational technology and facilitate the strengths that can be obtained in an online learning environment (Ornstein et al, 2011). There have often been discussions on the importance of addressing the development of every student as a whole. In doing so, students cannot be denied with opportunities to construct new knowledge and skills using methodologies aside from face-to-face classroom activities. There is immense power in combining different instructional methodologies to produce the most number of benefits in appropriate teaching, meaningful student learning experiences, and relevant curriculum development (Ornstein et al, 2011).
Ornstein, A., Pajak, E., & Ornstein, S. (2011). Contemporary Issues in Curriculum. (5th ed.). Upple Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
Revere, L., & Kovach, J. V. (2011). Online Technologies For Engaged Learning: A Meaningful Synthesis for Educators. Quarterly Review Of Distance Education, 12(2), 113-124.
Schneider, S. B. (2010). Signature Pedagogies for Social Foundations: Negotiating Social Foundations Teaching Practices in the Field of Education. Educational Studies, 46(4), 416-428. doi:10.1080/00131946.2010.496349
A Conference Proposal for SITE 2012: The Effectiveness of Virtual and Blended Learning in High Schools
A Conference Proposal for SITE 2012: The Effectiveness of Virtual and Blended Learning in High Schools written by Sharo Dickerson
This paper is a report on the study of the effectiveness of virtual and blended learning in high schools. Findings in this study have indicated that face-to-face learning is not for all students. Virtual and blended learning environments provide significant contributions to the teaching and learning of high school students, particularly as a supplemental and an alternative option to support different student learning styles to achieve academic success.
Curriculum structure plays a significant role in any educational institution (Apple, 2004). It serves as the very foundation that teachers and administrators use to identify the scope and sequence of the content areas that will be taught in the classrooms (Apple, 2004). In doing so, it is important that educators understand the critical issues in curriculum development to provide the necessary services for student achievement. Contemporary issues in education have resulted in the development of different learning environments, from face-to-face, to virtual or online and blended learning. Despite the changes in education, there are many questions and problems that need to be addressed, such as the rigor and quality of instructional methodologies and concepts to support student academic achievement (Ornstein, Pajak, & Ornstein, 2011). In understanding the different learning environments that exist in today’s education, it is important to identify the definition of each learning environment.
First, face-to-face learning is the traditional method of delivering concepts and teaching methodologies by a classroom teacher or an instructor to students. Students are situated in a conventional classroom setting, which often consist of the brick-and-mortar classroom, tables and chairs, a whiteboard or blackboard, specific content-based instructional materials (i.e. manipulative resources, activity sheets, running records, paper and pencil assessments), technology equipment, to name a few. In most school communities, the traditional classroom setting is where most of the teaching and learning is created, developed, and delivered. In addition, students obtain learning experiences through a sense of dependence on the knowledge and expertise of the classroom instructor or teacher.
Second, virtual learning is an alternative method of delivering concepts, where students’ learning experiences are developed through an online Learning Management System (LMS). Interactive and hands-on activities are provided to stimulate teaching and learning. A classroom teacher becomes an online instructor to online students. Students are not constrained within the confines of a brick-and-mortar classroom. Teaching and learning are provided through anytime, anywhere accessibility. There are two main varieties of virtual learning, namely, online learning and self-paced online learning. Online learning is a non-traditional method of delivering concepts using a learning management system and an online instructor or teacher who provides the student learning experience (Kachel, Henry, & Keller, 2005). Students follow a designated schedule for every module or unit that is managed by the online instructor or teacher (Kachel, Henry, & Keller, 2005). Meanwhile, self-paced online learning is a non-traditional method of delivering concepts similar to an online learning environment (Rhode, 2009). The difference lies in the time allotted for each module or unit (Rhode, 2009). In self-paced online learning, students can accelerate the process of completion as long as the students complete the entire course within the designated semester (Rhode, 2009).
Finally, blended learning is another learning environment that was recently developed based on the teaching and learning experiences obtained from both face-to-face and virtual learning environments (Rovai & Jordan, 2004). According to Alfred Rovai and Hope Jordan (2004), blended learning is a non-traditional method of delivering concepts and methodologies using both face-to-face and virtual learning methods. Furthermore, the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) defined blended learning as “combining online delivery of educational content with the best features of classroom interaction and live instruction to personalize learning, allow thoughtful reflection, and differentiate instruction from student-to-student across a diverse group of learners” (Eduviews, 2009, p. 2).
The Four-Quad Analysis methodology is used to conduct this study. This type of methodology provides the study with significant opportunities in gathering data, interpreting findings, segregating relevant from irrelevant information, and understanding the elements that contribute meaningfully to this study. The Four Quad Analysis methodology is composed of four parts. These parts include: (a) Quad 1, which defines the theory, research, and best practices of the study, (b) Quad 2, which identifies the federal and state laws, rules and data of this study, (c) Quad 3, which describes a district or campus perceptions, feelings, beliefs and experience in relation to this study, and (d) Quad 4, which provides the district or campus policies, regulations, records, and data of this study.
Furthermore, the study also explored the use of interviews, on-line surveys, and face-to-face consultation with different stakeholders of the school community. A SEDL Program Associate analyzed the data from these research tools have been used in this study.
Face-to-face or traditional learning environments face several challenges. These challenges include, but are not limited to: (a) high schools failing to meet adequate yearly progress (AYP), (b) high schools facing increasing dropout rates, (c) high schools failing or inadequately addressing the needs of general education homebound and special education homebound students, (d) high schools inadequately supporting different student learning styles, and (e) high schools lacking funding to support larger class sizes and degrading school structures. In doing so, alternative options, such as virtual learning, have been developed in the American school system to support the different challenges being faced by American high schools (Crosnoe, Riegle-Crumb, & Muller, 2007).
Virtual learning has been introduced to high schools as a supplement or alternative method in providing meaningful student learning experiences (Archambault, L., Diamond, D., Brown, R., Cavanaugh, C., Coffey, M., Foures-Aalbu, D., Richardson, J., & Zygouris-Coe, V., 2010). Virtual learning aims to provide: (a) anytime, anywhere access in a rigorous, personalized access to student learning, (b) students with flexibility, freedom, and safety outside the traditional brick-and-mortar school, (c) students with alternative forms of education that utilize cutting edge technology, and (d) opportunities to experience a progressive form of receiving and obtaining concepts ((Archambault, L., Diamond, D., Brown, R., Cavanaugh, C., Coffey, M., Foures-Aalbu, D., Richardson, J., & Zygouris-Coe, V., 2010).).
In the state of Texas, the Texas Virtual School Network (TxVSN) was established to develop and implement virtual learning to all its public schools, charter schools, and parochial schools (Texas Virtual School Network, 2011). Many high school students participated in the state’s virtual learning program (Texas Virtual School Network, 2011). Likewise, the availability of funding from the state provided opportunities for higher participation from different high schools and the development of public school online courses (Texas Virtual School Network, 2011). Through the inspiration and establishment of virtual learning by Florida Virtual Schools, TxVSN was founded to begin an era of virtual learning opportunities for Texas high school students (Texas Virtual School Network, 2011). Below is a graph that demonstrates the demand for virtual learning during the time when state funds were available in supporting the enrollment of online courses of high school students in TxVSN (Texas Virtual School Network, 2011).
In the summer of school year 2010-2011, the high school enrollment for regular high school courses reached 8,133 and dual credit courses declined to 394 courses (Texas Virtual School Network, 2011). While in the fall of school year 2011-2012, the high school enrollment for regular high school courses dropped to 1,399 courses and dual credit courses increased to 407 courses (Texas Virtual School Network.org, 2011). The ongoing increase in high school online course enrollment was due to the funding available through the state of Texas (Texas Virtual School Network, 2011). When funding was eliminated for the fall of this year (2011-2012), there was a huge drop on the online course enrollment as demonstrated in Figure 1 (Texas Virtual School Network, 2011). From the big picture as illustrated in Figure 1, Figure 2 provides the results of high school enrollment in virtual learning in a smaller scale. Below is a graph that demonstrates the demand for virtual learning during the time when state funds were available in supporting the enrollment of online courses of high school students in a public school district located at El Paso, Texas:
Figure 2: Number of Enrolled High School Courses in Virtual Learning Per School Year in a Public School District at El Paso, Texas. X-axis defines the numerical quantity of enrollments and Y-axis defines the school years. The graph also includes the progression of enrollments for High School credits and Dual Credit courses. School year 2008-2009 was the beginning of the implementation of virtual learning in the sample public school district of El Paso, Texas (Texas Virtual School Network, 2011). State funding made it possible for this district to accommodate and enroll high school students in virtual learning (Texas Virtual School Network, 2011). According to the data provided in Figure 2, there were 5 enrolled online courses in virtual learning (Texas Virtual School Network, 2011). When more high schools from this district participated in the virtual learning initiative, the enrolled online courses increased to 22 during the school year of 2009-2010 (Texas Virtual School Network, 2011). This was then followed with a tremendous increase of 115 enrolled online courses during the school year of 2010-2011 (Texas Virtual School Network, 2011). The increase is influenced by the availability of state funding during the last year of implementation in the aforementioned school year (Texas Virtual School Network, 2011). Eventually, the lost of the funding source resulted to a huge decline in enrollment during the school year of 2011-2012 (Texas Virtual School Network, 2011). Currently, there are only 13 enrolled online courses from this district (Texas Virtual School Network, 2011).
As much as there are statistical evidences of successful enrollments in virtual learning that are identified in Figures 1 and 2, blended learning is being introduced to high schools as a new methodology that combines online learning and face-to-face instruction to meet the needs of 21st century teaching and learning (Eduviews, 2009). The combination of these two learning approaches include: (a) an in-depth understanding and integration of curriculum developers and teachers with content area concepts and methodologies, united with online technology tools, (b) the appropriate use of face-to-face learning materials and resources with online learning, (c) the facilitation of collaboration, communication, and creativity among students, to name a few (Eduviews, 2009). Students desire to have control in their own learning and there is value in providing students with different opportunities to collaborate effectively in their learning process (Eduviews, 2009). This means that students do have desire to learn, and teachers have to build that trust to enable students in taking ownership of one’s learning (Eduviews, 2009). Teachers, who have experienced virtual or online learning, have found value in virtual or online instruction to support students’ different learning styles (Eduviews, 2009). The non-biased delivery of instruction provides students of any race, color, or ethnicity to take on courses without pre-judgments and biased assumptions of personal and cultural backgrounds (Eduviews, 2009). With the limitation or unavailability of a funding source to support full virtual learning enrollments from the public school district of El Paso, Texas, the blended learning environment may serve as an alternative to continue the facilitation of face-to-face classroom instruction and seamless integration of technology.
The purpose of this study is to demonstrate the effectiveness of virtual and blended learning environments for high school students. Based on gathered information in this study, there are evidences that support the valuable role of virtual and blended learning environments. This includes the use of the methodologies and practices to support the academic challenges being faced by American high school students. Face-to-face learning is not adequate in providing students with meaningful and rigorous learning experiences, based on the aforementioned challenges that are continuously experienced by American high schools. There is an eminent need to support virtual and blended learning environments to attend to different students’ learning and individual needs. Virtual and blended learning environments provide different opportunities for students to perceive learning as positive and motivating tools for growth and development. Students are able to learn at their own pace without the presence of threat of external factors in face-to-face learning environments. Likewise, the utilization of different types of technology tools entices students’ appetite for life-long learning.
Apple, M. (2004). Ideology and Curriculum. (3rd ed.). New York, NY: RoutledgeFalmer.
Archambault, L., Diamond, D., Brown, R., Cavanaugh, C., Coffey, M., Foures-Aalbu, D., Richardson, J., & Zygouris-Coe, V. (2010, April). Research Committee Issues Brief: An Exploration of At-risk Learners and Online Education. Retrieved from https://www.inacol.org/research/docs/iNACOL_AtRiskStudentOnlineResearch.pdf
Crosnoe, R., Riegle-Crumb, C., & Muller, C. (2007). Gender, self-perception, and academic problems in high school. JSTOR, 54(1), 118-138. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/pss/10.1525/sp.2007.54.1.118
Eduviews. (2009). Blended learning: where online and face-to-face instruction intersect for 21st century teaching and learning. Eduviews: A K-12 Leadership Series, Retrieved from http://www.blackboard.com/getdoc/1b9259b9-8cf4-4140-ba45-2a35eef6651c/K12_Blended-Learning_2011.aspx
Feng, L., & Cavanaugh, C. (2011). SUCCESS IN ONLINE HIGH SCHOOL BIOLOGY Factors Influencing Student Academic Performance. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 12(1), 37-54. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
Kachel, D. E., Henry, N. L., & Keller, C. A. (2005). Making It Real Online: Distance Learning for High School Students. Knowledge Quest, 34(1), 14-17. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
Kuo, J., Song, H., Smith, R., & Franklin, T. (2007). A comparative study of the effectiveness of an online and face-to-face technology applications course in teacher education. International Journal of Technology in Teaching and Learning, 3(2), 85-94. Retrieved from http://www.sicet.org/journals/ijttl/specialIssue/hongbo.pdf
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Ornstein, A., Pajak, E., & Ornstein, S. (2011). Contemporary Issues in Curriculum. (5th ed.). Upple Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
Reid, K. M., Aqui, Y., & Putney, L. G. (2009). Evaluation of an evolving virtual high school. Educational Media International, 46(4), 281-294. doi:10.1080/09523980903387522
Rhode, J. (2009). Interaction equivalency in self-paced online learning environments: an exploration of learner preferences. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 10(1), Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/603/1178
Rovai, A., & Jordan, H. (2004). Blended learning and sense of community: a comparative analysis with traditional and fully online graduate courses. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 5(2), Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/192/274
Shih-Wei, C., & Chien-Hung, L. (2005). Learning effectiveness in a Web-based virtual learning environment: a learner control perspective. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 21(1), 65-76.
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A Reflection Paper on Walkout written by Sharo Dickerson
The year 1968 was momentous for political activism (Olmos, 2006). Many events occurred during this time, such as the Vietnam War, the student protests and demonstrations that rallied against the Vietnam War, and the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr (Olmos, 2006). Likewise, the 1960’s was a poignant year in the international realm because of different significant political movements, which included, but not limited to, (a) Japan’s Anpo movement, (b) Germany’s youth and student radicalism in opposition to the Nazi regime and the German Emergency Acts, (c) Canada’s student strikes that advocated for public education, (d) Czechoslovakia’s Prague Spring, and (e) France’s student activism that shaped public debate (Olmos, 2006).
Edward Olmos (2006), who is the director of Walkout, described considerable evidences of inequity and inequality of education among non-White students, particularly with the Hispanic learners. The film took place in East Los Angeles, California, where different high schools, such as the Lincoln High School, were challenged to advocate and implement the essential changes concerning the, (a) discrimination towards Hispanic students, (b) degrading and inhuman treatment towards Hispanic learners, (c) unavailability of appropriate academic services towards non-English learners, (d) inexistence of appropriate and quality school materials and resources, (e) impermissible use of a language other than English, (f) absence of appropriate bilingual program, to name a few (Olmos, 2006). These struggles demonstrated the relentless desire of Chicanos, in particular, to achieve specific goals based on perseverance, justice, hard work, and dedication (Olmos, 2006). The Chicano students desired to be respected as individuals of equal worth as their White American peers, including the recognition of their ideas, talents, and skills (Olmos, 2006).
In the poem, “I am Joaquin”, Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzalez (1967) provided different thought-provoking situations that demonstrated the power within the Chicano race and the pride that one should have with one’s ancestral legacy. According to Nicolás Kanellos (2002), the poem clearly demonstrated the “exploitation of the mestizos from colonial era to the present, and shaped a nationalist ideology for activism (p.10).” These exploitations affected the Chicano’s appreciation and respect for themselves, including the ability to think critically about their rights as human beings (Kanellos, 2002, p.10). The poem served as an avenue for Chicanos to express one’s disparities and voice against the injustices and discrimination that they experienced, particularly during the 1960s (Kanellos, 2002, p.10). The poem also became a meaningful instrument in motivating and encouraging Chicanos to remember the proud heritage of their ancestors, particularly with the contribution of one’s culture, language, and race to the shaping of American history (Kanellos, 2002, p.10).
Walkout portrayed many struggles and challenges that young Chicanos experienced during that time (Olmos, 2006). The different characters of the film demonstrated the innermost passions that symbolized strong beliefs in pursuing equality, equity, and justice, especially in the American public school system (Olmos, 2006). Though the end of the film demonstrated a continuous fight for one’s cause, many of the young Chicanos realized that they have accomplished changed within themselves, notwithstanding the American public school system failing to permanently commit to the required change (Olmos, 2006).
Several years have passed since the year of momentous political rallies and strife. Yet, more political activists emerged to provide those individuals a right to be heard, especially for those who belong in poverty. The fight for appropriate recognition towards Chicano’s desire for equality, equity, and justice continue to be demonstrated in current issues. These include issues concerning the (a) questionable and controversial changes in the historical contributions of Hispanics, Blacks and other minority groups (i.e. Cesar Chavez, Martin Luther King, Jr.) in the Social Studies context; (b) treatment towards documented and non-documented immigrants who belong in minority groups (i.e. border issues, roadside citizenship status checks); (c) labeling of economically disadvantaged Hispanics and other minority groups based on the path towards college life, vocational career, or dropping out; (d) lack of quality services provided to English Language Learners in the American public school system; (e) inappropriate distribution of funding on the use of school materials and resources, similar to the monies spent in more affluent American public school districts (i.e. Austin ISD); and the like. With the idea that the political movements, that were initiated by the older Chicano generation, would have produced the change that have been long desired. However, there remain obvious traces of discrimination and inequality among Hispanics and other minority groups. One cannot avoid but recognize the greater gap and segregation among races, regardless of current modernity and historical transformation.
Many interesting situations have occurred that led to deeper realizations on the continuous unequal treatment towards Hispanic students. When the virtual learning grant was introduced to Ysleta ISD three years ago, it was quite noticeable as to which schools were immediately prepared in recommending students to be enrolled in an alternative form of learning. These Ysleta ISD schools were mostly the ones that have more affluent students, even though the schools are located in a border city. Within these schools walls, many Hispanic students are segregated from each other, regardless of sharing common factors. Economic status is a significant contributor that determines the future of Hispanic students in El Paso, Texas, which includes opportunities to obtain better and brighter futures. In doing so, the depictions presented in Walkout seem to continuously be evident in today’s American public school system. No matter the clothes students wear, the cars being used, the technology that is available in schools, and the professional development that are offered to teachers. The only discrepancy is that the year is 2011.
Gonzales, R. (1967). I Am Joaquin. Retrieved from http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/latinos/joaquin.htm
Kanellos, N. (2002). An Overview of Latino Poetry: The Iceberg below the Surface. American Book Review, 24(1), 5-10. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
Olmos, E. (2006). Walkout [DVD]. Available from http://www.democracynow.org/2006/3/29/walkout_the_true_story_of_the
A Journal on Backward Design for Forward Action (Grant Wiggins and Ronald Thomas, 2003) written by Sharo Dickerson
Backward Design for Forward Action is a journal article written by Grant Wiggins and Ronald S. Thomas (2003). This journal reflection demonstrates the author’s analysis and perspective on (a) understanding the design process that is crucial to curriculum development, (b) identifying the process involved in teaching and learning, (c) recognizing critical and higher order thinking skills, (d) clarity on desired goals and expectations, and (e) selecting relevant evaluation of the student learning process.
Literature Review and Discussion
Grant Wiggins and Ronald S. Thomas (2003) stated that there are two improvement initiatives that are being aimed by American schools and districts (p. 1). These initiatives include the focus on effective instructional practices; and, a deep emphasis on student performance accountability (Wiggins & Thomas, 2003, p.1). It is quite evident today that the American public school system continues to be challenged with selecting the most effective and meaningful methodological and conceptual design in delivering curriculum to students (Ornstein, Pajak, & Ornstein, 2011). Likewise, the challenges also include the misconceptions involving the belief that the presence of having more complex teaching strategies and learning theories will lead to better student academic achievement and higher quality instruction (Wiggins & Thomas, 2003).
In relation to this article, there was a book written by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe (2005) that stated, “teachers are designers” (p. 13). It is important that teachers recognize the crucial role that they play in respect to curriculum design and development (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005). As designers, teachers create curriculum that will be used as the foundation to implementing strategies and developing the full potential of students in the learning process. However, teachers have constraints in curriculum design, similar to the designers in other fields (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005, p. 13). Teachers as designers are required to follow the provided national, state, district, or institutional standards and expectations to ensure consistency across school districts and collegiate levels (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005, p. 13). One of the important elements in understanding the design process is ensuring that curriculum designers recognize and identify what students need to learn (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005, p. 14). There should be a clear understanding of the desired vision, as well as a different perspective in establishing one’s way of thinking (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005, p. 14). This also includes achieving specific results within the curriculum to evaluate student progress in relation to student academic achievement (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005, p. 14).
Critical and higher order thinking skills are better achieved when students are provided with opportunities to grasp the desired outcomes of their learning (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005, p. 15). This includes (a) understanding the curriculum goals, expectations, and purpose in achieving specific results (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005, p. 14-15, (b) determining acceptable evidence in identifying what students are expected to learn (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005, p. 17-19), and (c) implementing learning experiences and instruction in demonstrating students’ understanding of the learning process (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005, p. 17-19). In doing so, students will have more exposure towards relevant and meaningful learning experiences that will challenge them to think critically, analyze strategically, and provide feedback based on real world practices (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005, p. 15).
Public school districts have undergone many changes especially in the aspect of identifying desired goals and expectations (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005, p. 58). The ongoing challenges that public schools face have made it more difficult in deciding short term and long term goals in relation to the districts’ vision, financial priorities, academic objectives, and student achievement (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005, p. 58). In doing so, many public school districts have been driven on state mandated assessments in determining the “best” options for students, regardless of the failure or lack of success of these assessments in providing the finest learning experiences (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005, p.58).
According to Wiggins and McTighe (2005), genuine evaluation of student progress and academic success should be based on (a) what students need, given the desired results, and (b) what is the best time spent in and outside of the classroom, given the performance goals (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005, p. 192). This includes understanding the true nature of stumbling blocks or failures in the learning process as positive measures in obtaining feedback to shape, rethink, revise, and refine the learning experience (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005, p. 192).
Furthermore, Wiggins and Thomas (2003) explained that organization plays a key role in establishing the plan of action when it comes to implementing desired assessment strategies. There are different factors to be considered, which include: (a) a clear understanding on the alignment of standards, (b) knowledge and skills of faculty and staff, (c) campus use of funds, (d) assistance provided to students’ academic needs, (e) expectations of faculty and staff from students, (f) focus of school leadership in teaching and learning, and (g) partnerships with the school community (Wiggins & Thomas, 2003, p.4).
The different ideas presented in this journal provided evidences on the crucial role of understanding the essence and design of curriculum prior to its development and implementation (Wiggins & Thomas, 2003). It is also necessary for stakeholders to look at the big picture, particularly with regard to (a) identifying the existing school system, (b) analyzing the data at hand, and (c) utilizing the available information to reflect and evaluate decisions (Wiggins & Thomas, 2003). Today, assessments are highly used to determine academic performance and overall success. Though the author of this paper believe that assessments should not be solely based on state mandated evaluation, it will be beneficial for schools and districts to use the data from these assessments in creating appropriate plans of action to support student success (Wiggins & Thomas, 2003).
McTighe, J., & Thomas, R. (2003). Backward Design for Forward Action. Educational Leadership, 60(5), 52-55. Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/feb03/vol60/num05/Backward-Design-for-Forward-Action.aspx
Ornstein, A., Pajak, E., & Ornstein, S. (2011). Contemporary Issues in Curriculum. (5th ed.). Upple Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (2007). School By Design. (1st ed.) Alexandria, VA: Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/107018.aspx
Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. Understanding by Design. Alexandra, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2005. Print.
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