Outcome-based education: Catholicism?Throughout Ontario, Catholic school boards, working alone or in combination, are trying to provide a Catholic content to the Common Curriculum introduced by Ontario's Ministry of Education. In 1995 the Toronto Metropolitan Separate School Board (MSSB MSSB Modified Statutory Solvency Basis
MSSB Metropolitan Separate School Board (Toronto Catholic district)
MSSB Maple Story Social Board (GameFAQs message board) ) which teaches 106,000 children, produced a working document covering the transition years, Grades 7, 8, and 9. It is worth examining whether or not this Board succeeded in remedying the deficiencies in the Curriculum already pointed out in previous Catholic Insight articles.
Objectives of program
The MSSB certainly made an honest attempt to do so. Its mission statement emphasizes that school communities should be formed by Catholic beliefs and traditions, provide role models of Gospel values and Catholic doctrines, and integrate Catholic beliefs with other learning experiences. It wants a school system that is "Christ-centred" and "visibly and demonstrably de·mon·stra·ble
1. Capable of being demonstrated or proved: demonstrable truths.
2. Obvious or apparent: demonstrable lies. Catholic."
To the ten main outcomes in the Common Curriculum, the MSSB adds an additional program area, "Religious Education and Family Life Education," with specific learning outcomes appropriate to this area. By the end of Grade 9, students should be able to "demonstrate knowledge and understanding of Gospel values and of the rich vitality of the Catholic faith tradition." These are certainly laudable laud·a·ble
Healthy; favorable. objectives. A very important task the editors of this volume have also completed is to show the relationship between religion and other subjects, in the "Cross-Curricular Connections" section at the bottom of each page of the Outcome Planner. For example, a history assignment on p. 363 asks students to discuss Canada's role as a United Nations peacekeeper, and the "Connections" addendum addendum n. an addition to a completed written document. Most commonly this is a proposed change or explanation (such as a list of goods to be included) in a contract, or some point that has been subject of negotiation after the contract was originally proposed by asks the student to demonstrate a knowledge of the Church's teaching on peace and justice.
There is a lot wrong with the list of outcomes set down by the Ministry, though these are not the fault of the MSSB. By the end of Grade 9, for example, students should be able to "use technology effectively," and "evaluate the influence of technological developments on people, communities, and the environment." This is a good example of too much, too soon; the students are being asked to make judgments concerning matters entirely beyond them. Outcome number 4 asks them to "demonstrate an understanding of the world as a set of related systems," whatever that means. Number 56 asks them to "participate as responsible citizens in the life of the local, national, and global communities"; we might well ask, "How?" Number 7 requires them to explore educational and career opportunities, when they are ultimately going to pursue careers--most of them--about which they know very little when they are in Grade 9. In brief, the Common Curriculum makes the assumption that the students are far more advanced than they actually are, and the added Catholic content is based on the same mistake.
A guiding principle of the Curriculum is that "Individual self-esteem must be a foremost consideration in any assessment process." One of the four subject areas set down by the Ministry is "Personal and Social Studies," and in it dimensions of the self, including self-image, self-concept, and self-esteem, figure prominently.
The Catholic schools are not responsible for this emphasis, but instead of resisting it they welcome it; one student demonstration in religion, for example, says, "compare personal views of self with how others see the individual in a reflective journal." Education is about learning something; it is not about taking views of the self.
The most notable feature of "Personal and Social Studies" is that it completely destroys two traditional subject areas. Geography comes under this heading, where it surely does not belong, and the first outcome listed under it is "use advocacy skills to promote environmental as well as moral, ethical, and social awareness and responsible behaviour in the school and community." In other words Adv. 1. in other words - otherwise stated; "in other words, we are broke"
put differently , we start not with facts about the world but with current environmental concerns. To judge by the assignments they are given in this subject area, the students are never going to learn whether the Congo flows into the Amazon and whether New South Wales New South Wales, state (1991 pop. 5,164,549), 309,443 sq mi (801,457 sq km), SE Australia. It is bounded on the E by the Pacific Ocean. Sydney is the capital. The other principal urban centers are Newcastle, Wagga Wagga, Lismore, Wollongong, and Broken Hill. is part of the British Isles British Isles: see Great Britain; Ireland. . Other geography assignments include "draw a political cartoon to dramatize dram·a·tize
v. dram·a·tized, dram·a·tiz·ing, dram·a·tiz·es
1. To adapt (a literary work) for dramatic presentation, as in a theater or on television or radio.
2. the impact of racial sentiments in Canada today" and "write a poem, story or song about the feelings and experiences of a Canadian immigrant." How are students ever going to learn the meaning of the word geography if the teaching materials given them distort that meaning completely?
History fares just as badly or even worse: "Write a 500-word position paper to substantiate To establish the existence or truth of a particular fact through the use of competent evidence; to verify.
For example, an Eyewitness might be called by a party to a lawsuit to substantiate that party's testimony. the need for a specific legal reform," "prepare and present an editorial commentary outlining a personal concern regarding current justice/equity legislation in light of the Church's social teachings." Into what purports to be a history syllabus--concerned with what happened in the past--come contemporary figures like Trudeau, Bouchard, Manning, Elijah Harper Elijah Harper (born March 3, 1949) is an Aboriginal Cree Canadian politician and band chief.
Harper was born in Red Sucker Lake, a reserve in northern Manitoba, and served there as Band Chief from 1978 to 1981. , and Ovide Mercredi Ovide William Mercredi (born January 30, 1946, in Grand Rapids, Manitoba) is an Aboriginal Canadian politician. He is Cree and a former national chief of the Assembly of First Nations.
Mercredi attended the University of Manitoba and graduated with a degree in law in 1977. . One project is to "analyse an issue that relates to Canada's future as a nation"--so that futurology futurology
Study of current trends in order to forecast future developments. The field originated in the “technological forecasting” developed near the end of World War II and in studies examining the consequences of nuclear conflict. comes in as well. Briefly, students are going to have a very muddled mud·dle
v. mud·dled, mud·dling, mud·dles
1. To make turbid or muddy.
2. To mix confusedly; jumble.
3. To confuse or befuddle (the mind), as with alcohol. view of what history actually is, and the MSSB does nothing to correct their misconceptions Misconceptions is an American sitcom television series for The WB Network for the 2005-2006 season that never aired. It features Jane Leeves, formerly of Frasier, and French Stewart, formerly of 3rd Rock From the Sun. . And, from the point of view of Catholic history and tradition, it is important that they have a historical framework to work with.
All the way through, the students are set very broad tasks, tasks which a 7th, 8th, or 9th grader could not possibly do. Here are some of the early assignments in Religious Education:
--"describe the human person as created in the image of God and as a complex being: physical, intellectual, spiritual, emotional, social, relational."
--"Write a reflection paper on the Exodus as the foundational event which reveals God's liberating action and covenant throughout the ages."
--"Describe the development of oral and written traditions in Scripture using historical, literary, and critical approaches."
As the editor of Catholic Insight commented, some of the assignments the grade-school students are given are similar to ones he himself worked on when he was in the seminary seminary
Educational institution, usually for training in theology. In the U.S. the term was formerly also used to refer to institutions of higher learning for women, often teachers' colleges. . The whole section on religious studies, like the other three, gives an impression of pretentiousness pre·ten·tious
1. Claiming or demanding a position of distinction or merit, especially when unjustified.
2. Making or marked by an extravagant outward show; ostentatious. See Synonyms at showy. : it claims for grade-school students a degree of maturity which they do not possess.
Again the personal element comes in strongly: "Compare a word portrait of one's self by one's self; without help or prompting; spontaneously.
See also: Of written by another class member with own self impression," "participate in a class discussion which describes how interpretation of life experience contributes to the formation of self esteem."
From here we move to a series dealing with the family and its dynamics, human emotions, patterns of abusive behaviour, and adolescent development: "Make a journal entry about self-image of the body considering situations which promote feelings of awkwardness and self-consciousness, as well as situations that promote good feelings about appearance." For many of these questions, the Fully Alive family program is listed as a resource though that program presupposes--and therefore does not provide--a parallel course in the teaching of the Catholic Faith. The main criticism of this program is the same: it forgets about the teaching of religion for whole pages at a time. Instead it concentrates on self. Worry about feelings of awkwardness may be very important, but it should not replace the teaching of Catholic doctrine.
Once again: no fundamentals of the faith
The program set down here has plenty of emphasis on the Bible, but too little on Catholic doctrine. When one compares it to Our Life in the Church, the Grade 8 text in the Faith and Life Series published by Ignatius Press Ignatius Press was founded in 1978 by Father Joseph Fessio SJ, a Jesuit priest and former pupil of Pope Benedict XVI . Ignatius Press, named for Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuit Order, is a Catholic publishing house headquartered in San Francisco, California. , its inadequacies immediately become apparent. One has the impression that students following the Common Curriculum are not taught; they are too busy doing projects, taking a global view, making assessments of current social and economic problems, to worry about little things like learning the fundamentals of the Catholic faith.
The Faith and Life book says nothing about self-esteem, nothing about inclusive language, nothing about the effects of technology on the environment, nothing about Ethical Reflections on the Economic Crisis--all of which feature prominently in the Common Curriculum program. Instead it is simply a well-organized instructional manual--a step-by-step explanation of the nature, teaching and sanctifying missions of the Church; the Christian in the world; the means to fulfil our call to holiness; and the end of Christian life. The Church and the social order does come into discussion, but principally to stress our obligations in justice, as described in papal encyclicals. Like the Common Curriculum religion program, it contains many Scriptural scrip·tur·al
1. Of or relating to writing; written.
2. often Scriptural Of, relating to, based on, or contained in the Scriptures. references; but it also does bring in papal statements and the documents of Vatican II Noun 1. Vatican II - the Vatican Council in 1962-1965 that abandoned the universal Latin liturgy and acknowledged ecumenism and made other reforms
Second Vatican Council
Vatican Council - each of two councils of the Roman Catholic Church . After each chapter, there is a brief list of words which have appeared in the text and which should be remembered -- "Mystical Body," "apostolic ap·os·tol·ic ap·os·tol·i·cal
1. Of or relating to an apostle.
a. Of, relating to, or contemporary with the 12 Apostles.
b. ,", "catholic." Sometimes there are questions, in catechism catechism (kăt`əkĭzəm) [Gr.,=oral instruction], originally oral instruction in religion, later written instruction. Catechisms are usually written in the form of questions and answers. form. One asking the marks of the Church--one, holy, Catholic, apostolic--is followed by supplementary questions asking what each of these terms really means.
This text consists of solid material, presented in an orderly and interesting way. The student who has been exposed to it will have an understanding of his faith. If the student who follows the Common Curriculum possesses a similarly coherent understanding of Christianity, it will be in spite of, not because of, the jumble of information he has been presented with in his course of study. Aiming at relevance and utility, the Common Curriculum does not produce either. The MSSB committee which produced this working document made a valiant VALIANT Valsartan in Acute Myocardial Infarction Trial Cardiology A series of multinational M&M trials to determine the effects of valsartan–Diovan® effort to integrate Catholic teaching into the different subject areas, but they had to accept the basic instructional methodology of the Curriculum, and the result was superficiality masquerading 1. (networking) masquerading - "NAT" (Linux kernel name).
2. (messaging) masquerading - Hiding the names of internal e-mail client and gateway machines from the outside world by rewriting the "From" address and other headers as the message leaves the as lofty ambition. Other groups of Catholic boards may have been more successful with their interpretations of the Common Curriculum. But I fear that they too will settle for what the Ministry guidelines are almost blatantly aiming at--mediocrity.