School news....

Well, I’m now halfway through my master’s degree. Six classes more to go and I’ll be done. My most recent class was pretty interesting. It was a class on curriculum design, and during the class, we looked at different (broader) views and definitions of curriculum.

There were a few really interesting subjects that came up in the class. The first was the question of whether schools should use uniforms and so on, and even whether teachers should have to wear a “uniform” of sorts to reinforce what everyone was calling “professionalism.” I guess many people are a bit too insecure about how important their job is. I know that for me, I don’t look for validation in the form of whether people view my job as professional work. I get my rewards from doing the work and making an impact on my students’ lives and their abilities to improve with time.

Another interesting topic that came up was the concept of the hidden curriculum—the idea that schools also have a hidden curriculum that socializes people. And that is fine and unavoidable to a certain extent, but there is also the possibility that a hidden curriculum can also harm students. Some studies have shown that hidden curriculums can contribute to gender and racial biases. Also, the hidden curriculum is often used to define hierarchical roles within society; students are taught as subordinates, and that can take away a lot of innovation.

Anyway, the main part of the class was to create a web-based learning project. We ended up doing a webquest on immigration which was a lot more rewarding to do than the PowerPoint assignments that are usually assigned to us. My favorite part of the activity was when I read a post in my team’s newsgroup by one of my teammates. He basically said that doing this assignment helped open up his mind about immigration. I guess he wanted to go into it more from the approach of how immigrants take away jobs from Americans and so on, but ended up recognizing the significant role that immigrants play.

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