Assignment 4: Hero’s Narrative Due end of Week 13
(30% of the Final Grade)
Over the last ten weeks you have read and discussed many ideas about curriculum development. Some ideas may have stimulated your imagination, while others you may have rejected outright. The times we live in may be challenging ones for teachers because of the pace of change. Traditionalists may caution to move slowly with curriculum reform because trends come and go; others may urge teachers to keep up with change for fear of students being at a disadvantage. How do you see yourself in this conflict? You are already on the battlefield. What will your strategy be?
Assignment 4:The Hero’s narrative is due end of Week 13 (30% of the final grade)
Please read through the material in Week 12. Then you will be given your culminating assignment for the course in Week 13.
There are many ways to write a personal narrative. The main thing is to choose a particular focus (your developing understanding of the ideas and issues surrounding Curriculum Development) and explore your thoughts and feelings deeply. Have a look atthis video for some tips on how to write narratives (Links to an external site.).
See Assignment 4 for further details.
Learning goals for this unit are the following:
- After reviewing your starting point in the course, identify key moments when you understood something on a higher level
- Argue for an aim of education that functions well with common socio-economic and environmental pressures in schools today
- Articulate the link between theory and practice and name a few of the concerns of educators in the field
- Name ways to improve lesson plans to better suit today’s learners, or give reasons why there is no need for small scale reform, and then do the same for large scale reform
- Develop several ideas about the possible impact of technology on curriculum development in the future
- Imagine yourself as a teacher in a classroom some day and envision how you will engage in the ongoing debate on curriculum
In the last two weeks of the course, please review your notes, assignments, discussions and readings. Imagine that you have been on a journey, and recall some of the memorable moments of learning you have experienced. Remember, you are the hero of this journey, and you have been asked to face a number of tasks. What have been some of the conflicts in your endeavours? How have you resolved them? Or why can’t they be resolved?
The last assignment will be envisioning yourself as a member in a game of acquiring knowledge. You are at the beginning of your career and soon to be moving into your role as an educator. How well you play this game will directly impact how successful you are.
Questions to probe:
What knowledge has helped you the most this semester?
Which knowledge has altered the way you think about yourself in the field?
How will this knowledge change the way you teach?
Write a narrative of what has had a big impact on your understanding of the course material over the semester. How did your views change, what particular readings, discussions and activities helped form your views?
Possible types of narratives:
Choose one central event or milestone in your teaching career so far. Move through the four main levels of the course (aims of education, philosophies, teaching and curriculum, and reform) and apply ideas to your experience. Tell the story of who you are in this event, what thoughts and feelings you had in the past, what they are now. Focus on the major conflicts and what you learned from them. Discuss “what you know now that you didn’t know then.”
- Match each level of the course (aims, philosophies, teaching, and reform) with a different story from your teaching experiences. Describe how, for example, you discovered what aim of education was the most important through a teaching experience. Show how the theory connected to the practice of curriculum. Analyze what these ideas mean to you as a teacher. (Minimum of four teaching stories.)
- Find a repeating or continuous thread in your learning and make it a theme in your narrative. For example, if one of the big moments in your teaching has been to discover some quality that good or effective teachers have, follow that through your learning journey, describing how it has grown as an idea. Do research on how it ties in to the different levels of the course (aims, philosophies, etc.). (Four academic references minimum.)
- Write a more traditional analysis of an educational program you have experienced, such as Reggio Emilio, Montessori, Waldorf, or an institution with particular religious, ethnic or academic goals. Discuss your experiences there and explore what aims, philosophies, pedagogies, etc. were at work. Discuss what meaning they had for you in your experience. (Minimum of four academic references.)
- Write more of a fictional story of yourself as the hero, how you have chosen to prepare yourself for the conflicts inherent in becoming a teacher, how people have helped you along the way, how you are beginning to see what needs to happen in a classroom in order to improve teaching and learning, and/or what you might be willing to fight for to improve curriculum in schools overall. Bring in concrete details from the readings and discussions that support your vision.
- Your choice. Come up with an idea that demonstrates your learning over the course and tells your story in your own way. This could include a mixture of approaches from the list above. Please email the idea to your tutor-marker before you start writing to make sure you are on the right track.
An exceptional narrative will explore personal experience in a deep and meaningful way. The strength of learning through stories is that they help us understand our lives through both understanding our thoughts and feelings better. Everyone has an emotional response to conflict in the moment. Reviewing later why we had those feelings can bring us much knowledge. Joining the cognitive together with the affective opens new paths toward learning. Don’t be afraid to dig deeper, describe the details with accuracy, to get at the nature of the experience.
Weak narratives just report the facts; for example, first this happened, then that happened. There is no insight, no human connection and little to be learned from a list of facts.
Look at how certain experiences challenged your values. Maybe you had to face some painful facts about yourself, or some shortcomings in your abilities. As human beings, we often dwell on conflicts because we want to learn from them. If we can understand them, we can measure growth from an experience.
Writing reflections or professional narratives are key to developing as educators. Being able to share them is an opportunity for feedback, for hearing different points of view and often we find out that other people have had similar experiences.
The ambiguity of this final assignment is not meant to alarm you but to free you to write what is most important to you. You will not be marked on what experiences you choose to write about, but I will look at
- the quality of your ideas,
- the effort you put into thinking about the ideas of the course and
- the connections you can make with your own learning.
I encourage you to draw on the notes you’ve been saving on your computer as it marks stages of learning in the class.
This is an academic paper, so I expect that you will edit carefully and make sure your ideas are clearly communicated.
It should grow out of your experiences in being exposed to the ideas presented in the class and woven through with your creative take on it and your memories of your own teaching experiences. Be confident of your own ideas and experiences and let your narrative arise organically from inside. No one else’s ideas or experiences will have deep meaning for you. Focus on what meant a lot to you personally, and write from your head and heart.
Please write a minimum of six double-spaced pages.
Submit the assignment by 11:55 p.m. on the last day of Week 13 at the latest. (There will be deductions for late assignments.) This marked assignment is worth 30% of your final grade.
|Addresses all four of the levels of the course. Have all four sections of the course been incorporated into the narrative? Does the narrative adequately connect and explore the four course sections?||
|Engages deeply, meaningfully, emotionally. Does the essay move beyond simple restating of facts to engage deeply and personally with ideas and values?||
|Mastery of Course Concepts. Is it evident throughout the essay that the author has a mastery of key course concepts?||
|Meets General Assignment Requirements. Is it obvious that the author followed the assignment requirements?||
|Grammar & Mechanics. Is the narrative free from errors? Does the essay read smoothly? Is it evident that edits have been made?||
|Total Points: 30.0|