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INNOVATIONS IN A TECHNOLOGICAL AGE CURRICULUM.

Processes Involved in Curriculum Improvement

School administrators, supervisors of instruction, and teachers need to study as well as adopt improved procedures of communicating with parents. In beginning a new school year, through various media, parents need to be welcomed to visit the local school to confer with teachers about the progress of their children. Sequential parent/teacher conferences are important. A philosophy of openness must be stressed in the communication process with parents receiving vital information about their child's progress as to acquired knowledge, skills, and attitudes in ongoing and completed lessons and units of study. Concepts and generalizations which are domain specific within an academic area might be shown and discussed in terms of the following:

* what has been achieved and what is left to achieve

* which problems arise in learning and attaining of selected objectives

* what hindrances are there in learning in the classroom as well as on the playground

* how might motivation occur and be sustained.

These items are broadly stated and may be used as guidelines in conferring with parents. There is much that parents can do to help the child achieve. For example, at home, a parent might read aloud an interesting library with the child to whet an appetite for reading across academic discipline lines. The words therein may be pointed to when oral reading occurs or they might be pointed to and identified when the child has problems in word identification in reading aloud to the parent. The child may go along when shopping at the supermarket occurs and read aloud/silently the listed items to be purchased. With sequential shopping on different days, the child might assist in locating specific items to be purchased. Interest in mathematics may be fostered here in noticing prices and in computing costs as well as in marketing products.

Science learnings accrue when discussing current events items heard on TV or radio. Learnings therein should be discussed with children in the home setting. Hurricanes, tornados, hail, windstorms, floods, among others, cause much damage and can be explained scientifically so that pupils understand which makes for meaningful achievement.

Pupils need to understand basic concepts and generalizations in academics and these may be transferred from the home to the school setting. Children generally appreciate quality time patents spent together with them which makes for positive feelings in the school and societal arenas.

Too frequently, there is haste in working with children in the home setting and learning fails to come about. Patience and time needs to be given to assist children to gain these concepts. Parents needs to work together with children so that the learner feels positively about the home as well as about the school curriculum.

When conducting parent/teacher conferences, the teacher must take the lead in helping parents with learning activities in mathematics, reading and the language arts, social studies, and science which may be held in the home setting. Parent/teacher conferences held toward the beginning of the school year and their results may be compared with that of other times when communication is necessary. At all times, the conference needs to be

* respectful to all involved in this venture. Rudeness, abruptness, put downs, and ridicule must be omitted.

* specifics need discussing, not vague overly broad conclusions

* parents need to provide information as to the interests, purposes, and feelings the child might have. These behaviors may be utilized by the teacher in providing for individual talents and abilities of pupils in the classroom and school environment

* the focus is upon the learner as to his/her needs

* social and emotional assistance is necessary in order that the pupil learns to get along well with others

* a well rounded individual must achieve as optimally as possible in reading and the language arts, science, mathematics, and the social studies, as well as physical education, music and art.

In addition to the above asterisked items, pupils also need to achieve well in nonacademic areas such as effort (grit), resilience, maintenance of effort, esteem, and self appraisal skills. This will mean teacher inservice education with emphasis placed upon developing the total person. In this way, the pupil might well discover personal strengths and interests for a future vocation. Haphazardly moving onto an endeavor, such as a future job or for college attendance, wastes time and talent. Pupils need to perceive purpose in life that reflects enthusiasm and excitement for life and living. By experiencing variety in academic as well as non-academic interests, such as hands on approaches in ongoing tasks within a wholesome learning environment, the learner will find what he/she perceives purpose in, within the world of opportunities. These opportunities must be available and pupils need to feel encouragement in moving forward in life. For breadth of experiences, STEM may provide for individual needs. Thus in one school in Hutchinson, Kansas, sixth graders working in committees attempted to develop a workable mousetrap. The materials to do so were at a center, accessible to all involved. This brought to bear science, technology, engineering, and mathematics knowledge (STEM) in developing and completing each project. Pupils tended to be highly interested and motivated in doing the project.

To stress the saliency of educating the total person, music, art, and physical education, also need to be incorporated into the curriculum to provide for balance in learning experiences. A well rounded individual has knowledge and skills in a variety of endeavors which presents increased possibilities of locating and finding a worthwhile future vocation.

Children in the home setting need time for play in addition to doing purposeful homework.

Healthy, energetic children interested in human and scientific endeavors, must be emphasized. Medical services, as needed must be available. The writer well remembers when teaching elementary age pupils how allergies hindered achievement. The watery eyes, itching nose, sneezing, and runny mucous coming from the nose, made it impossible for these children to focus on the school curriculum. Or in winter time, one classroom of pupils had runny noses, sneezing, and loud coughs in a hoarse manner which would be of concern to parents and medical doctors. The writer as university supervisor of student teachers could barely hear the instruction that went on in the classroom. One factor in medical care for individuals has been the minimizing of dental services. Children with dental caries and impacted teeth need immediate attention. Decayed teeth, especially, might be the cause of other diseases.

Parent/teacher conferences may be held in a face to face situation. A portfolio of pupil achievement is a good way to use these references as a source for a conference. In this way, the parent might well observe directly selected pupil products of progress.

Conferences also might be conducted through the following media:

* e-mail. Correspondences here might be conducted as convenient scheduled time permits. Clarity and meaning in each correspondence is important in all involved communications. The intent is to improve the curriculum for each child.

* cell phone as well as land line phones.

* letters mailed to the parent.

* parent/teacher organizations provide brief opportunities for meeting, greeting, and brief statements about a learner's achievement.

In conclusion, it is important to maintain good teacher/pupil relationships through conferences in a polite and respectful manner. The focal point is to assist pupils to achieve more optimally.

References

Ediger, Marlow, and D. Bhaskara Rao (2014) .School Curriculum, Issues and Problems. New Delhi, India:

Discovery Publishing House.

Ediger, Marlow (2015), "The Teaching of /Reading and Its New Emphasis," Reading Improvement, 52 (4), 145-147.

DR. MARLOW EDIGER, PROFESSOR EMERITUS

Truman State University
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Author:Ediger, Marlow
Publication:Reading Improvement
Date:Jun 22, 2019
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