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The Curriculum Crisis

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Basic skills, like writing and mathematics, can only be taught effectively so long as they are part of a curriculum that includes little else.

He bases this assertion upon his own negative experiences with students who, despite having made it into graduate-level literature courses, seem barely capable of constructing a grammatically coherent sentence.

How in the blazes, he asks, could that be possibly be the case? After launching an inquiry at the university at which he teaches, he was dismayed to find that nearly every single course offered provided precious little instruction in the actual mechanics of writing. Courses which were ostensibly concerned teaching college-level composition were instead being driven by lesson plans focused on a range of disparate cultural or political topics.

Fish readily concedes that such issues "are surely worthy of serious study," but he considers it both misleading and unproductive for courses to delve too deeply into such subjects when they are supposed to be providing instruction in the necessary fundamentals of grammar and rhetoric 1.

When he tried to relay his concerns to the course instructors, he was soundly rebuffed and dismissed as a "reactionary who knew nothing about current trends in research" 1. Read more about the rising costs of education. Presumably, this rejection spurred Fish to do some further digging into the "current trends in research.

As a lifelong scholar and academic himself, his acute belief that "the impulse animating the effort to regulate is always political rather than intellectual" has generally left him with little sympathy for such an agenda 1. Nonetheless, he found in the report considerable justification for his fears about the educational state of today's college students. The goal of the ACTA's report was to outline seven key areas of study and rank one-hundred colleges and universities based on their adherence to a strict set of criteria in each field.

As might be expected, the criteria have been derided as parochial by critics of the study. Even so, Fish found that in "at least four of the seven area they make perfect sense" 1. He cites several examples of how credit is not granted in the report for math, science, foreign language, and composition courses with only a perfunctory emphasis on the actual fields themselves, praising it for its rigor.

These four fields, he explains, are each centered on a core set of basic skills that are necessary in order to achieve success and understanding within their confines. With regards to composition specifically, he naturally agrees with the idea that credit not be given for courses that are merely "writing intensive" instead of focused on the actual mechanics of "grammar, style, clarity, and argument" 1. Curiously, Fish renders no opinion about economics , despite it being of the seven fields stressed within the pages of the ACTA's report.

He takes exception with its findings where the other two, history and literature, are concerned. Broad survey courses in those fields, with their reliance on a fairly static crop of traditional classics, can certainly be worthwhile in their own right. The trouble is that they tend to be quite stale, which turns off students.

Since both history and literature are subjects that lend themselves to a far greater degree of subjectivity than the aforementioned four, he feels that it is appropriate that instructors have a greater degree of freedom to teach them as they see fit. New approaches are not necessarily always more effective, but they certainly can be. Focusing on more esoteric subjects can be highly illuminating, their lack of academic "orthodoxy" notwithstanding.

That the ACTA is critical of colleges for failing to uphold standards "indispensable for the formation of citizens and for the preservation of our free institutions" insofar as literature and history are concerned shows just how transparently political the organization actually is 1.

He concludes his essay eloquently enough, reasserting his support for the apolitical segment of the ACTA's report while dismissing its politically loaded finding with regards to the social sciences. The fact of the matter, he explains, is that the lack of a national core curriculum in the fields of history and literature has led to a fascinating expansion of specializations in the humanities.

That someone can now major in gay and lesbian studies should be accepted as a matter of course. An Auspicious Moment for Education Research? Research and Purposes of Education D. Reconciling the Dichotomies of Education Research T. Thoughtful Research for Thoughtful Schools D.

Sociology and the Study of Education: Continuity, Discontinuity, and the Individualist Turn C. From Society to School and Back Again: Understanding Educational Processes in an Era of Globalization: Professing Educational Scholarship L. Issues in the Preparation of Education Researchers A.

Research, Reform, and Aims in Education: The following are several defining characteristics that were written by Gary Anderson to compare basic academic and applied contract research. The basis for educational research is the scientific method. The two main types of data that are used under this method are qualitative and quantitative. Qualitative research uses the data which is descriptive in nature. Tools that educational researchers use in collecting qualitative data include: Quantitative research uses data that is numerical and is based on the assumption that the numbers will describe a single reality.

There also exists a new school of thought that these derivatives of the scientific method are far too reductionistic in nature. In social research this phenomenon is referred to as triangulation social science.

Since educational issues are of many different kinds and logical types, it is to be expected that quite different types of research should be brought into play on different occasions.

The question therefore is not whether research into teaching should be conducted by means of quantitative measures on some such grounds as that they are more 'objective' or qualitative measures on some such grounds as that they are more 'insightful' , but what kind of research can sensibly be utilized to look into this particular aspect of teaching as opposed to that.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Methods in Educational Research: From Theory to Practice. Fundamentals of Educational Research. Situating a Field and Its Practices. University of Texas at Austin. Rigour and Complexity in Educational Research. Combining Methods in Educational and Social Research.

An Introduction to Philosophy of Education.

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Current Issues in Education (CIE) is an open access, peer-reviewed academic education journal produced by doctoral students at Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College of Arizona State University. The journal publishes articles on a broad range of education topics that are timely and have relevance in the field of education both nationally and internationally.

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Through its research initiatives and the national research and development centers, NCER engages in research activities that will result in the provision of high quality education for all children, improvement in student academic achievement, reduction in the achievement gap between high-performing and low-performing students, and increased access to and opportunity for postsecondary education.

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Research within librarian-selected research topics on Current Issues in Education from the Questia online library, including full-text online books, academic journals, magazines, newspapers and more. Jun 29,  · Issues in Education Research is a valuable reference for the more than 40, college faculty members who study schooling and prepare tomorrow's teachers. About the Author ELLEN CONDLIFFE LAGEMANN is professor of history and education and director of the Center for the Study of American Culture and Education at New York Paperback.

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This volume provides an overview of the tensions, dilemmas, issues, and possibilities that characterize educational research. The contributions of more than 20 researchers examine the state of educational research, its future directions, and some of the major trends that have affected the field. Jul 08,  · One of the common concerns of graduate students is finding topics relevant to their field of specialization. If you are a graduate student of education, here is a list of recent issues and concerns on education that you might want to focus on as your research topic.