Explain what role have the standards for content teaching in your state played in shaping your curriculum?

Directions

Starting on the final page of this document, create an essay concerning factors influencing your local elementary curriculum. Focus on three to four main points. I want everyone to include the influence of standards and the standards movement. Refer to this week’s readings for guidance, in particular Eisner’s article on schools doing well. Strive for 500 – 600 words in length. The essay should follow the main points below.

• An introductory paragraph outlining the focus of the essay and identifying your main points

• A specific paragraph on each main point providing detail as to why it is an issue and the impact on elementary curriculum. Please feel free to add your personal perceptions as part, but not all, of the material.

• A summary paragraph

Guiding Questions

1. What are the primary factors impacting your curriculum?

2. What role have the standards for content teaching in your state played in shaping your curriculum?

3. Are you doing better in your school than you were 10 years ago? Why?

Sample Essay

Many factors have an effect on the local elementary curriculum. The factor that has an overwhelming impact on my school’s curriculum is the home environment. Home is where the teaching of a child begins, but if home is unstable there is a likely chance that the child may have problems in school. Nonetheless, motivation, the school climate, and the standards movement also play a role in impacting the curriculum.

The majority of the students served in my school are either at the poverty line or just below the poverty line. This is usually an indicator that the parents are uneducated. Parents living in poverty are less likely to be as involved in their child’s education as an educated parent. This is due to many reasons, some which include a lack of communication skills, feelings of intimidation, or a bad personal experience in a school. Marzano states that a home environment structured in specific ways can positively affect achievement. Students need a time to study and read, this reinforces what was taught at school. When students don’t have structure, it effects how they view the curriculum.

Motivation or the lack thereof has had a lasting effect on the local curriculum. There is a strong link between student motivation and achievement. If students are not motivated to learn, then not much if any learning will take place. How can teachers reach students if they are unmotivated? Many of our students seem to have no drive or ambitions. As educators we try to motivate our students both intrinsically and extrinsically, but even so students don’t have that motivation that necessary to reach them. Learning does not seem high on the priority list. After reading the text, I feel that many of our students have a low self worth, which explains the students negative attitude towards learning in the classroom.

The environment or school climate has an extremely negative impact on teaching and learning. The school is where kids should feel safe, cool in the summer, and warm in the winter. For example, my classroom did not have heat for two days last week. As a result, I was not motivated to teach because my students and I were cold. Needless to say, I don’t feel that I should have to work in an icebox. This sort of incident happens frequently in our school; therefore, our school is not conducive to learning. It is not conducive to learning in many ways such as poor lighting, dull paint, dirty floors, leaky roofs, flooding, exposed wiring, and duct work, and asbestos in the restrooms. The building is a hazard. Yet, our teachers and our students are expected to teach and learn the curriculum that has been put before them by the district and the state. This is a very uncomfortable teaching and learning environment, therefore making it difficult to meet objectives.

The standards movement has a huge impact on not only the national curriculum, but also the local curriculum. According to Schmoker and Marzano, any organization is contingent upon clear, commonly defined goals. However, the goals need to be attainable and realistic. There are currently too many standards to teach in the time frame that is provided. Teachers across the U.S. are struggling to teach standards to pass a test that is standards based. The standards based movement has created a system of overwhelmed teachers and “left behind” students.

All of these, standards, school climate, motivation, and home have an effect on the local curriculum. Is any one factor more important than the other? The point is that all these factors are causing a negative impact on the way our children are learning in one aspect or another. As educators, we can’t change home, but we can make an effort to change motivation, climate, and standards.

Here is the article that the paper should be based on: What Does It Mean To Say a School Is Doing Well? by Elliott Eisner

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