The Tragedy of American School Reform: How Curriculum Politics and Entrenched Dilemmas Have Diverted Us from Democracy

Springer
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Two persistent dilemmas haunt school reform: curriculum politics and classroom constancy. Both undermined the 1960s' new social studies, a dynamic reform movement centered on inquiry, issues, and social activism. Dramatic academic freedom controversies ended reform and led to a conservative restoration. On one side were teachers and curriculum developers; on the other, conservative activists determined to undo the revolutions of the 1960s. The episode brought a return to traditional history, a turn away from questioning, and the re-imposition of authority. Engagingly written and thoroughly researched, The Tragedy of American School Reform offers a provocative perspective on current trends.
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About the author

Ronald W. Evans is Professor of Education at San Diego State University, USA.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Springer
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Published on
May 9, 2011
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Pages
295
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ISBN
9780230119109
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Language
English
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Genres
Education / Curricula
Education / Educational Policy & Reform / General
Education / General
Education / Philosophy, Theory & Social Aspects
Political Science / Political Ideologies / Democracy
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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What is understanding and how does it differ from knowledge? How can we determine the big ideas worth understanding? Why is understanding an important teaching goal, and how do we know when students have attained it? How can we create a rigorous and engaging curriculum that focuses on understanding and leads to improved student performance in today's high-stakes, standards-based environment?

Authors Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe answer these and many other questions in this second edition of "Understanding by Design." Drawing on feedback from thousands of educators around the world who have used the UbD framework since its introduction in 1998, the authors have greatly revised and expanded their original work to guide educators across the K-16 spectrum in the design of curriculum, assessment, and instruction. With an improved UbD Template at its core, the book explains the rationale of "backward design" and explores in greater depth the meaning of such key ideas as "essential questions" and "transfer tasks." Readers will learn why the familiar coverage- and activity-based approaches to curriculum design fall short, and how a focus on the "six facets of understanding" can enrich student learning. With an expanded array of practical strategies, tools, and examples from all subject areas, the book demonstrates how the research-based principles of Understanding by Design apply to district frameworks as well as to individual units of curriculum.

Combining provocative ideas, thoughtful analysis, and tested approaches, this new edition of "Understanding by Design" offers teacher-designers a clear path to the creation of curriculum that ensures better learning and a more stimulating experience for students and teachers alike.

The New Social Studies refers to a flurry of academic and commercial activity during the 1960s and 1970s that resulted in the mass development and dissemination of revolutionary classroom materials and teacher resources. In science as well as social studies, a spirit of “inquiry-based teaching” filled the air during this time, resulting in the development of curricula that were both pedagogically innovative and intellectually rigorous. “Constructivism and the New Social Studies” contains a collection of classic lessons from some of the most successful projects of the era, providing a resource of exceptional ideas and materials that have stood the test of time. These revealing artifacts are presented with commentaries from some of the original directors of major projects, including Edwin Fenton, Barry Beyer, and Suzanne Helburn. In addition to American and World History, groundbreaking lessons are represented in Economics, Government, Sociology, and Geography, including the Public Issues Series (Fred Newann), The Amherst History Project (Richard Brown and Geoffrey Scheurman) and Teaching American History: The Quest for Relevancy (Allan Kownslar, Gerald Ponder, and Geneva Gay), and Man: A Course of Study (Peter Dow). With a Foreword by Jerome Bruner, the volume not only provides a resource of exceptional curriculum ideas and actual materials, it also builds a lucid bridge between the theoretical ideas of constructivism and the pedagogical principles of inquiry learning. With over 50 years of expertise from curriculum history and social studies pedagogy, the editors make the case that “guided inquiry” as presented in these projects was constructivist by design, offering a range of instructional methods that begin with questions rather than answers and considers progress in terms of the development of analytical skills and experimental habits of mind rather than the mere acquisition of knowledge. Projects developed during the New Social Studies serve as both an interesting historical archive of powerful curricular innovations as well as a treasure trove of actual lessons and materials still useful in social studies classrooms striving to become more constructivist. The lessons and other materials we chose should be relevant if you are an historian, researcher, theorist, or teacher of any subject, but it will be especially significant if you are interested in the nature of social, civic, or historical literacy in America, including how to teach for authentic achievement in those areas.
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