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Middle School Curriculum

ED 441/641 Section 400

Lecture Seven

• Introduction

Wow! Your responses on differentiating instruction were really interesting. The responses ranged from
“I’ve never heard of this before” to “My teachers used this technique.” DI is not exclusive to middle school,
but it is the MSC that we start to see its potential. Many of you quickly recognized how important it is, and
also how difficult it is for new teacher to implement. In your Foundations of American Education class, you
may have discussed the concept of hegemony of the curriculum. DI meets its greatest resistance from those
who are not willing to change, even if in the best interest of their students. As reflective practioners, I hope
this class will help you think about your practices. From the reviews of the Jackson article I’ve glanced over,
I see that that kind of reflection can be painful. It is for me, too. More on that next time.

• Promoting Teacher Competence

This lecture, we are going to look at two items. The first, from FWY, has to do with the idea that every MS
teacher should be competent in teaching the early adolescent. As usual, Juvonen has some ideas that may
clash with traditional ideas of MSC, but she usually brings out good critical thinking in all of us about what
promotes competency in MS teaching.

• Pedagogy
The second topic we will cover has to do with one model for instruction far removed from the
constructivism of differentiating instruction. I am asking that you look at the idea of direct instruction. If you
are of a certain age (like me), this is the way I was taught up from K-12 to my MBA (I’m a career changer). It
wasn’t until I got into MS education I had ever experienced constructivist teaching. An additional article is on
one of the current “best practices” for education in general – backwards design, better known as
“Understanding by Design.” Many of you may be familiar with this method already


FWY – Chapter Seven


Assignment One: Discussion- From FWY. Due 7/18/2010 by 10:00 PM

• How are middle school teachers trained?
• How important is it that teachers have training specific to the subject they teach?
• How can professional development compensate when teacher preparation is lacking?

Assignment Two: Reflection – From “The Components of Direct Instruction. Due 7/18/2010 by 10:00 PM

In your personal and professional experiences, what elements of direct instruction have you seen used?
Is there a place for direct instruction in the MSC? Describe your experiences and your option in the framework
of the article.
Assignment Three: Reflection – From “Backward Design" Due 7/18/2010 by 10:00 PM

In your opinion, what are the strengths and weaknesses of Wiggins and Jay McTighe's approach? Frame your
answer in terms of the other curriculum models we have examined, such as direct instruction and constructivist
methods (such as differentiation).

Have a great weekend. Early next week, we will begin discussing the curriculum synthesis.