“Rather than dictating information as absolutes, teachers should try to inspire their students to think for themselves.  We cannot focus on the teaching of facts alone, but rather, on the teaching of content as a means to the process of critical thought.”  –Joan F. Kaywell, U of South Florida, 1987. 

“All students have the right to be happy and productive citizens.

“The primary purpose of English is to provide each student with the reading, writing, listening, speaking, and viewing skills necessary for effective communication.

“Learning experiences must deal with current concerns of the students, bear some relationship to life outside the school…

“The study of literature provides vicarious experiences where direct experiences are impossible or undesirable.  Students may be prepared for various experiences through their reading…: teen relationships, death, injustice, prejudice, war, drugs and alcohol, crime, suicide.  It doesn’t matter how many facts our students know if the final choice is drug addiction, imprisonment, or the taking of their own lives.

“…it is far more important that students know HOW to find, use, and apply content to their lives rather than be able to ‘bubble-in’ WHAT they learn on any given day.

“An English teacher has the capability of offering students the skills necessary to learn anything (assuming there is motivation and confidence).

“No other subject can compete with English in the integration of school with everyday life.

“If a person cannot read, write, and communicate effectively, many doors to a successful future are closed for that person.

“There is no way we can teach all the facts in 17 years; there is no way we will ever agree on what facts must be learned….  But there are ways to teach students to think critically and creatively about the world in which they live.”

“The teacher’s task is not simply to implant facts but to place the material to be learned in front of the learner and through sympathy, emotion, imagination, and patience to awaken in the learner the restless drive for answers and insights which enlarges the individual’s life and gives it meaning.”


Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

“The more things change, the more they stay the same.”



“The sense that our nation represents a progressive rupture with the past breeds complacency about dispensing with the serious study of history, which sinks into a bog called ‘social studies.’”  –George F.  Will, “Learning from the Giants,” Newsweek (14 Sept. 1987).

George Frederick Will:  Pulitzer Prize–winning conservative political commentator.  In 1986, The Wall Street Journal called him “perhaps the most powerful journalist in America.”  He studied philosophy, politics, and economics at Magdalen College, Oxford, (BA, MA), and received MA and PhD degrees in politics from Princeton University.  He has taught at the James Madison College of Michigan State University, the University of Toronto, and at Harvard University (in 1995 and again in 1998).  He has served as editor for National Review, has written for the Washington Post, and from 1976 until 2011 he became a contributing editor for Newsweek.  (“Often combining factual reporting with conservative commentary, Will’s columns are known for their erudite vocabulary, allusions to political philosophers, and frequent references to baseball.”)  [from Wikipedia]

In 1987, the best-seller list included E.D. Hirsch Jr.’s Cultural Literacy (What Every American Needs to Know), “ a daunting assortment of information Hirsch says must be mastered before true literacy can be claimed” (says Will), and Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind, “an analysis of the damage done by higher education today.”

The chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities (Lynne Cheney) argued then that “inadequate teaching of history in public schools is putting at risk our national character, dissolving the sense of nationhood that is our civic glue, and threatening to condemn our nation to perpetual infancy.”

[In 1987] 2/3rds of America’s 17-year-olds could not locate the Civil War in the correct half century…  We can teach children how to think [and] “to learn things worth thinking about,” to teach them “how to understand their world [and] the events and ideas that brought it into being.”

“…the serious teaching of history and literature…the core of the liberal arts curriculum.”

“Liberal education” is “intensely useful,” but “a certain elevation above utilitarian concerns, [with] …glimpses of the good … [and] rich in examples of noble human types.”

“History [should be] properly taught, not as a smattering of dates but as a spectacle of human striving…”

“…education should be first and primarily the transmission of treasures [implying] that some things are clearly and permanently more precious than others.  …there are discoverable and teachable standards.”

“The real hubris is in thinking we can dispense with the transmission of the achievements of the giants of other generations, on whose shoulders we stand.”




“There is no generally agreed upon definition of curriculum.”  [Wikipedia]

Using the statements below, design a curriculum–core, common, or otherwise–that will satisfy at least ONE school board, one school district’s parents, one k-12 faculty, one state board of education, one k-12 regional accrediting agency, or ONE NATIONAL STANDARD. 

Note the following: Curriculum can be envisaged from different perspectives.  What societies envisage as important teaching and learning constitutes the intended curriculum.  Since it is usually presented in official documents, it may be also called the written and/or official curriculum.  

However, at classroom level, this intended curriculum may be altered through a range of complex classroom interactions, and what is actually delivered can be considered the implemented curriculum.

What learners really learn (i.e. what can be assessed and can be demonstrated as learning outcomes/learner competencies) constitutes the achieved or learned curriculum.  In addition, curriculum theory points to a hidden curriculum (i.e. the unintended development of personal values and beliefs of learners, teachers, and communities; unexpected impact of a curriculum; unforeseen aspects of a learning process).

Those who develop the intended curriculum should have all these different dimensions of the curriculum in view.  While the written curriculum does not exhaust the meaning of curriculum, it is important because it represents the vision of the society.  The written curriculum is usually expressed in comprehensive and user-friendly documents, such as curriculum frameworks; subject curricula/syllabuses; and in relevant and helpful learning materials, such as textbooks, teacher guides, and assessment guides. [Wikipedia notes]


The Naming of the Parts

What I Learned in School Today

Using a Typewriter/Keyboard

Why My Signature Is Important

Righty Tighty, Lefty Loosey

Making Change, Counting Money

My Handwriting Tells about Me

Rules for Capitalization

Cursive to Be Read

How to Take a Bath or Shower

Eating Well So I Don’t Get Fat–or Throw Up

How to Use Crayolas without Breaking Any

Drawing Trees and People–and Showing the Difference

Columbus Was Here–Somewhere

Add, Subtract, Multiply, and Baseball Diamonds

I Know Where Babies Come From–and Why

Is WISK Better Than TIDE?

Coarse or Fine

Hitler, the Pope, and Abraham Lincoln

The WHO Sing Beethoven’s Ninth

Input, Output, Shotput

“O Say Can You See?”

Domes, Arches, and Spires: What’s the Point?

Sometimes a Dictator Helps the World


When My Food Enters My Stomach

Do Rainbows Matter?

I Turn the Key; the Engine Starts

“The Play’s the Thing,” He Wrote.

Biology.  Reading.  History.  Chemistry.–Just Words?

Who Really Was Bernoulli?


Apples Fall from Trees–on Earth

The Man in the Moon Just Smiled at Me

Sometimes I Can’t Breathe When It’s Cloudy

Under Water Scares Me

Condors, Penguins, and Koalas

“Congress Shall Make No Law….”

Is There a Use for Poetry?

Another Plane Crashed in Russia Yesterday

A Hundred-Yard Universe, a Hundred-Meter Dash

“Mind the Gap!”

Whites, Lights, and Darks



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