S.C. Unveils Curriculum Frameworks To Spur Reforms and Guide Learning

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

South Carolina education officials last week unveiled draft curriculum frameworks intended to revitalize the teaching of foreign languages, the arts, and mathematics.

The new frameworks are part of an ambitious effort by the state to make curriculum the linchpin of its school-reform efforts.

"Until we really re-examine how children learn, we will not significantly change education,'' said Superintendent of Education Barbara S. Nielsen.

In all, state officials plan to develop frameworks for eight disciplines by 1994. The other five subject areas are health and safety, language arts, history and social studies, science, and physical education.

The new frameworks set down broad themes and goals to guide learning in those subjects and enhance students' critical-thinking skills.

In addition, they suggest the kinds of changes needed to help schools reach those goals. They recommend changes in the way teachers teach and in the way education schools prepare them. They also call for new forms of testing, such as performance assessments, to gauge students' understanding.

"If we want all children to be bilingual, then we have to say this is what it's going to take,'' said Dennis Bartels, who helped coordinate the framework-drafting efforts for the state education department.

In contrast, he said, the state's old "scope and sequence'' curriculum guidelines narrowly prescribed content and avoided larger resource questions.

A Paradigm Shift

The new frameworks are similar to those developed in recent years in California and Connecticut, said Brian Curry, a policy analyst for the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

"This is part of a paradigm shift in how curriculum is envisioned and implemented,'' he said. In all three states, he said, the frameworks form a "common point of reference'' for other school-reform efforts.

South Carolina's framework-development process was launched last year with a statewide "curriculum congress.'' (See Education Week, Sept. 4, 1991.)

The event, billed as the first such state-level meeting, drew 1,700 teachers, subject-matter experts from higher education, and district curriculum coordinators. Participants shared views on the state's precollegiate course of study.

Smaller teams, drawn from that meeting, are writing the frameworks.

More and Better Teaching

The first three frameworks generally propose more and better teaching in the arts, mathematics, and foreign languages and recommend introducing those subjects earlier than most schools in the state do now.

The foreign-languages framework, for example, suggests beginning such instruction as early as kindergarten. By the time they leave a good elementary school foreign-language program, the document says, children should be able to express their likes and dislikes in a second language, write brief messages, and predict the outcome of a story they are reading.

The mathematics guidelines, modeled on the national standards developed by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, propose teaching data analysis, probability, algebraic notions, geometry, and other topics at earlier grade levels.

The arts framework suggests that no less than 15 percent of students' instructional time should be devoted to lessons in dance, drama, music, and visual arts. The guidelines also say students should both understand the historical and cultural significance of all four art forms and know how to perform in them.

State education officials said this month they will begin conducting field reviews around the state on each draft. Statewide teleconferences on the drafts also are planned.

Major recommendations from the frameworks will be condensed and supplied to public libraries, barbershops, hair salons, and other locations, Mr. Bartels noted.

"We're really seeking the broadest type of review on the education process,'' he said.

The final drafts of the frameworks will be completed next spring.

Vol. 12, Issue 05

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories

Viewed

Emailed

Recommended

Commented

Sponsor Insights

Free Ebook: How to Implement a Coding Program in Schools

Successful Intervention Builds Student Success

Effective Ways to Support Students with Dyslexia

Stop cobbling together your EdTech

Integrate Science and ELA with Informational Text

Can self-efficacy impact growth for ELLs?

Disruptive Tech Integration for Meaningful Learning

Building Community for Social Good

5 Resources on the Power of Interoperability from Unified Edtech

New campaign for UN World Teachers Day

5 Game-Changers in Today’s Digital Learning Platforms

Hiding in Plain Sight - 7 Common Signs of Dyslexia in the Classroom

The research: Reading Benchmark Assessments

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

All Students Are Language Learners: The Imagine Learning Language Advantage™

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

How to Support All Students with Equitable Pathways

2019 K-12 Digital Content Report

3-D Learning & Assessment for K–5 Science

Climate Change, LGBTQ Issues, Politics & Race: Instructional Materials for Teaching Complex Topics

Closing the Science Achievement Gap

Evidence-based Coaching: Key Driver(s) of Scalable Improvement District-Wide

Advancing Literacy with Large Print

Research Sheds New Light on the Reading Brain

Tips for Supporting English Learners Through Personalized Approaches

Response to Intervention Centered on Student Learning

The Nonnegotiable Attributes of Effective Feedback

SEE MORE Insights >