Teaching is a Political Act

Curriculum and Treaty Education 

  • Part 1) According to the Levin article, how are school curricula developed and implemented? What new information/perspectives does this reading provide about the development and implementation of school curriculum? Is there anything that surprises you or maybe that concerns you?

As stated in the Levin article, “[e]very education policy decision can be seen as being, in some sense, a political decision.” This is true because education is largely the concern of all citizens. According to the Levin article, curricula is developed with two levels of objectives in mind; “very general or broad goals and then much more specific learning activities and objectives.” Furthermore, the politics of curriculum consists of “the overall shape of school curricula” and “the content of particular subjects.” Moreover, the article describes how curriculum is developed: “Education governance typically involves some combination of national, local, and school participation; and in federal systems, education governance will have a fourth (and often primary) level at the state or province.” In addition to politicians, “A second important element of governance structure is the institutional role of elected lay persons as against civil servants or experts.” The process of curriculum development also involves teachers, principals, senior administrators, elected local authorities, and subject matter experts from schools and universities. An issue in the involvement of experts in curriculum renewal “is the production of curricula that are not readily usable by ordinary teachers.” This was a new concept to me but makes sense because most teachers are not experts in the subjects they are expected to teach. This is the reason why average citizens are gaining a more important role in the construction of curriculum, which was also news to me. Overall, “curriculum decisions are often part of a much larger public debate that often extends beyond education to larger questions of public goods.” Something I found quite concerning in the article was that “[s]chools are expected to prevent bullying, obesity, and anorexia while also eliminating racism and promoting equity in all its forms.” Although I already knew this to be true, this is quite an overwhelming statement. It shows how the public, and in turn the government, asks a lot of the education system in general and even more of teachers, in particular. However, this also echoes my blog post from last week as a reminder that the work of educators is important. Therefore, any attempt to respond to these calls of actions is better than no attempt at all.

  • Part 2) After reading pages 1-4 of the Treaty Education document, what connections can you make between the article and the implementation of Treaty Education in Saskatchewan? What tension might you imagine were part of the development of the Treaty Education curriculum?

 

The Levin article states “public debate and concern can lead to an official process as the system tries to respond to public concerns, as is evident in debates about issues such as global warming or the place of indigenous peoples.” This directly relates to the implementation of Treaty Education. As the mistreatment of Indigenous peoples, past and present, has gained public attention, education policies have finally adopted a response to this public concern. Furthermore, the article discusses the undeniable relationship between government politics and education which is evident in the Treaty Education document: “The Ministry of Education respects the federal government’s legal, constitutional, and fiscal obligations to First Nations peoples and its primary responsibility for Métis people.” Furthermore, the Levin article discusses the influence of political debates on the development and implementation of curriculum. I imagine there would be great tensions in the development of the Treaty Education Document. The development of this curriculum would have experienced lots of push and pull from individuals, as it is a highly controversial topic for the public, especially in Saskatchewan. Despite resistance from some of the public, Treaty Education is here to stay and will continue to expand. However, that does not mean the tension surrounding this topic will disappear. As discussed in the article, all areas of the curriculum remain to be scrutinized and debated by the public and school officials.

 

1 thought on “Teaching is a Political Act

  1. Pingback: The Building Blocks of Learning | Kylie Matiowsky

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