Curriculum and Treaty Education
This week we read excerpts from: Levin, B. (2008). Curriculum policy and the politics of what should be learned in schools. In F. Connelly, M. He & J. Phillion (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of curriculum and instruction (pp. 7 – 24). Los Angeles, CA: Sage.Available on-line from: http://www.corwin.com/upm-data/16905_Chapter_1.pdf.
We were given these prompts:
After reading the Levin article, please also read pages 1-4 (according to the page numbers in the document itself) of the Saskatchewan Treaty Education document. Then, answer the following prompt:
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?
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?
This was my response:
School curricula is developed and implemented on the basis of public policy. The article states: “Every education policy decision can be seen as being, in some sense, a political decision.” (Levin, 2008, p. 8) In other words, policies and curriculum are intertwined; there is a political guiding factor in the way curriculum is developed. I always understood the curriculum was based on the opinions and guidance of politics and government, but I did not understand that there were specific policies that were in place to develop curriculum. I think my biggest concern of that being is the development is subjective; it would only view curriculum through the lens of what society thinks and not through the lens of what our students need. I also found it concerning on the basis of what the development all effected. However, I was intrigued by the following excerpt: “Curriculum politics and policy choices are also increasingly related to larger issues of school change and improvement and to varying theories of what it is that shapes the outcomes of education” (Levin, 2008, p.14) I enjoy that the development is always looking for ways to improve upon itself, but I do think that is dependent on who is in charge of creating the framework for improvement and whether or not it will work.
When reading the Levin article, in conjunction with the Treaty Ed article, I was disappointed because I realised that there were so many parts of this that were misunderstood and perceived wrong. First of all, the treaty document states: “outcomes and indicators at each grade level are designed to engage learners on a journey of inquiry and discovery.” (Saskatchewan Treaty Education document, 2013, p.3) While Treaty Education seeks to have learners ‘inquire’ and ‘discover’ through outcomes…pay attention to the words ‘through outcomes’ because this is stating that there are underlying policies in place in order for a student to receive a grade. Treaty Education is implemented through the use of policy which is not the same policy that First Nations people have. I think that there would have been so much tension in creating outcomes that students had to ‘meet’ in order to have knowledge of treaties; the learning should not stop at the completion of an outcome set within schools.