- Separated or integrated curricula?
- What Change in Adult Education?
- Since the world is moving fast towards the knowledge economy or knowledge society, we need to make our students and the public understand what we say.
- Most feasible way to fight terrorism is democracy, which is applied in word and spirit and driven by solid political will that is truly committed to democracy as a strategy deeply entrenched in government.
Husni Ayesh, former Memmber of the Jordan Board of Education. “The day will come when the progress of nations will be judged not by their military or economic strength, nor by the splendour of their capital cities and public buildings, but by the well-being of their peoples: by their levels of health, nutrition, and education; by their opportunities to earn a reward for their labours; by their ability to participate in the decisions that affected their lives; by the respect is shown for their civil and political liberties; by the provision that is made for those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged; and by the protection that is afforded to the growing minds and bodies of their children”. Since the world is moving fast towards the knowledge economy or knowledge society, we need to make our students and the public understand what we say. To do so, we should indicate here what we mean by knowledge. I believe we all mean: know-how. We do not mean knowledge as a philosophical problem, although teaching it is a must in a democracy and for democracy (no one owns the truth). We mean know-how as the axis or motor of this new economy and society. Using knowledge absolutely, without this qualification, confuses our students and the public. Information or know-how? The difference between and the relationship with information and knowledge. Information alone is a form of energy, but it is potential energy. Transformed into knowledge, it becomes kinetic energy (which never perishes). This transformation from information to knowledge is the basic job of the school (and university). Without this shift, our students will not possess the key necessary to open the locked doors of technology .
Separated or integrated curricula? Secondary education in the Arab world can prepare students for the job market, but only if the academic curricula and the vocational curricula are integrated into one. The situation now is based on separation: The academic stream student is told: You are heading towards higher education; therefore, you are to be deprived of technical / vocational skills. And for the student of the vocational stream: you are destined to low status jobs (now taken by immigrants who close the job market to nationals through low wages and malleability … which in turn forces nationals to withdraw from the market to avoid identifying with them).
Traditional educators claim that the only truly vocational education is a liberal education. The way I see it, the truth is more like the reverse: The only truly liberal education is a vocational education.”
To integrate both into one, I propose, in shorthand, a three stage/team teaching/learning model (for all grades and stages of education):
1. The discovery stage, where students play the role of scientists in discovering the laws and rules of prescribed subjects by them- selves with the teacher/s as facilitator/s.
2. The invention stage, where students play the role of inventors: see and examine the law/rule / principle working in a machine/equipment etc… Therefore, curricula designers have to show where laws and rules are found in work/life. Otherwise they should not include them until they know where they are, or indicate that there are no applications yet of this law … or that .
3. Workshop/development stage, where students, after discovering the law and applying it, and/or knowing its applications, can improve/develop its existing technological manifestations.
I believe this model will revitalize the educational principle/rule: “I hear I forget, I see I remember and I do I understand”, and will make students enthusiastic and eager to learn, or to enter the job market with great trainability, any where training takes place. Employers prefer to hire workers who have no prior experience in their industry, no expectations or habits that need to be undone.”
According to this model informal learning and vocational training cannot be a replacement in any way, because they miss the horizontal and vertical connections between school subjects and within the subject.