The collaborative curriculum at the school without walls: Empowering students for classroom learning

It is my belief that perhaps the most significant dimension in the conservative/progressive continuum [in public education] revolves around the matter of faith in the educability of humanity. At one end of the continuum is the faith that only a very small number of people can be expected to be well educated.... At the other end of the continuum is the idea that all people are capable and desirous of living a life of meaning and that all can be educated to be free and responsible. This is the position that refuses to accept inherent inequality of people.... It therefore becomes the task of educators to provide the conditions under which all people can express their full human potential. (Purpel, 1989, p. 10)

Abstract

Various research and writings are used to frame a major issue in U.S. schooling: Our schools apparently do little to change power relations between the students of our elite families and those of the minorities and of low socioeconomic status (SES). The authors use situated cognition as an instructional strategy; curriculum designed for depth—not coverage; and student responsibility and choice as a theoretic rationale for a collaborative curriculum design in which power is shared by teachers and students to provide equal educational opportunity. After setting the organizational context at a School Without Walls (SWW), a public, urban high school in Rochester, New York, the authors describe how such a collaborative curriculum works. Data both from SWW student outcomes and from a national study on school restructuring are employed to support the efficacy of this collaborative curriculum in providing a schoolwide, student-centered context and equal opportunity for students.

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Keedy, J.L., Drmacich, D. The collaborative curriculum at the school without walls: Empowering students for classroom learning. Urban Rev 26, 121–135 (1994). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02354462

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Keywords

  • Power Relation
  • Equal Opportunity
  • National Study
  • Organizational Context
  • Educational Opportunity