Part I. At the beginning of the course, I believed that the purpose for public schooling in the United States was to provide free education to all citizens. Every person in the U.S. has equal opportunity for success. Education should consist of the basic fundamentals of knowledge. For example, citizens should be taught how to read, write and perform arithmetic. Everyone has the capability to learn, even through disability. Sometimes those with disabilities outshine the average student. After learning these three basic abilities, a person has the chance to succeed in academics and ultimately in a future career as well as interact comfortably social situations. The famous B.B. King said that “the beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.” All of Eisner’s orientations posed interesting views. However, the two orientations that I found most appealing were Personal Relevance and Social Adaptation. Children easily get bored and distracted when involved with something that disinterests them. The Personal Relevance approach, I feel, gives children motivation for learning due to focusing on the child’s interest. It is important to note that when children are actively engaging in an activity, they are processing learning. Eisner defines the Personal Relevance orientation for the curriculum to be one which emphasizes the primacy of personal meaning for students; he suggests that it is the responsibility of schools to develop programs that focus upon the learner and his or her interests and personal experiences. The role of the teacher is to provide enough structure and guidance for students to be productive. “Education should consist of the basic fundamentals of knowledge. After learning these three basic abilities, a person has the chance to succeed in academics and ultimately in a future career as well as interact comfortably social situations.” Social Adaptation is relevant in this statement I had previously made in Part I of the first paper. Students whom are taught the basic fundamentals in school represent the status quo of maintaining society. This orientation focuses on addressing societal needs and issues. Teachers aim to teach students citizenship and values of society, and adapting to society. For example, elementary schools stress the uniform importance of ‘character counts.’ Every student is taught the six pillars of character. This helps develop the student into a respectable person who will be able to interact comfortably in social situations. By learning trustworthiness, caring, respect, responsibility, citizenship, and fairness students perform better in school because they know what is expected of them from a young age.
Part II. My current orientation is Personal Relevance. My orientation did not change, however, discussions of issues in class improved my understanding. Schools, I believe, like the larger society of which they are a part, function as cultures in both senses of the term. They make possible a shared way of life, a sense of belonging and community, and they are a means to expand children’s learning capacity. How schools are organized, what is taught in them, the kinds of norms they embrace, and the relationships they foster among adults and children all matter, for they all shape the experiences that students are likely to have and in the process influence who children will become. Experience is central to growth because experience is the medium of education. Education, then, is the process of learning to create ourselves. As teachers in the classroom, it is a way of expanding our consciousness, shaping our dispositions, satisfying our quest for meaning, establishing contact with others, and sharing a culture. When instruction is student-centered, it emphasizes the primacy of personal meaning and the schools responsibility to develop programs that make such meaning possible. On issue 17, “Are single-sex schools and classes effective,” I found Personal Relevance to apply to the ‘no’ side. Nicole stated that there are “specific differences why boys and girls are wired.” So if gender were to be separated, curriculum in the classroom would be less distracting and more would ultimately be learned. Issue 1, “Should schooling be based on social experiences,” Personal Relevance is evident on the ‘yes’ side. The central job of schools is to maximize the capacity of each student. Dewey provides ideas about taking curriculum beyond traditional instruction and honing in on individual students interests and abilities in a changing world. Students should learn through experience, not mundane instructional practices followed in previous generations. I said that there are experiences that you can’t teach. Social class seems to play a big role in the freedom of an individual.