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Selection and Organization of Content

"There are dull teachers, dull textbooks, dull films, but no dull subjects." - Anonymous

"There are dull teachers, dull textbooks, dull films, but no dull subjects." - Anonymous

Focus Questions:

What guiding principles must be observed in the selection and organization of content?

What is the structure of the subject matter that we teach?

How can students be helped in the construction of a more enriched knowledge-base?

What strategies can be employed for teaching conceptual understanding, thinking skills in the different levels, and values?

Focus Questions:  What guiding principles must be observed in the selection and organization of content?

Introduction

What knowledge is truly essential and enduring? What is worth teaching and learning? Our leaders in the basic education level came up with the Philippine Elementary Learning Competencies (PELCs) and Philippine Secondary Learning Competencies (PSLCs) in 2001. The "intended" content of what we teach is laid down in such document. This means that we are not entirely free in the selection of our content. They are a "given." But how they are organized and presented in the classroom, ultimately depends on you. Here are some principles to guide you.

Guiding Principles in the Selection and Organization of Content

1. One guiding principle related to subject matter content is to observe the following qualities in the selection and organization of content:

Validity – Teaching the content that we ought to teach according to national standards explicit in the Basic Education Curriculum; it also means teaching the content in order to realize the goals and objectives of the course as laid down in the basic education curriculum. (see figure)

Significance – What we teach should respond to the needs and interests of the learners, hence

Significance – What we teach should respond to the needs and interests of the learners, hence meaningful and significant.

Guiding Principles in the Selection and Organization of Content

Balance – Content includes not only facts but also concepts and

values. The use of the three-level approach ensures a balance of cognitive, psychomotor, and affective lesson content. A balanced content is something that is not too easy to bore the above average student, neither not too difficult to turn off the average. It is something that challenges the student. To observe the principle of balance, no topic must be extensively discussed at the expense of other topics.

Guiding Principles in the Selection and Organization of Content Balance – Content includes not only facts

Guiding Principles in the Selection and Organization of Content

Self-sufficiency – Content

fully covers the essentials. Learning content is not "mile-wide- and-inch-deep." The essentials are sufficiently covered and are treated in depth. This is a case of "less is more."

Guiding Principles in the Selection and Organization of Content Self-sufficiency – Content fully covers the essentials.

Interest – Teacher considers the interest of the learners, their developmental stages and cultural and ethnic background.

Guiding Principles in the Selection and Organization of Content

Utility – Will this content be of use to the learners? It is not meant only to be memorized for test and grade purposes. What is learned has a function even after examinations are over.

Feasibility – The content is feasible in the sense that the essential content can be covered in the amount of time available for instruction. A guaranteed and a viable curriculum is the first in the school- related factors that has the greatest impact on student achievement. (Marzano,

2003)

Guiding Principles in the Selection and Organization of Content

It is observed that there is so much content to cover within the school year, so much so that teachers tend to rush towards the end of the school year, do superficial teaching and contribute to non-mastery of content. This is probably one reason why the least mastered competencies in national examinations given to pupils and students are those competencies which are found at the end of the Philippine Elementary/Secondary Learning Competencies (PELC/PSLC).

Guiding Principles in the Selection and Organization of Content It is observed that there is so

Guiding Principles in the Selection and Organization of Content

2. At the base of the structure of cognitive subject matter content is facts. We cant do away with facts but be sure to go beyond facts by constructing an increasingly richer and more sophisticated knowledge base and by working out a process of conceptual understanding.

Here are a few ways cited by cognitive psychologists (Ormrod, 2000) by which you can help your students:

Guiding Principles in the Selection and Organization of Content

Providing opportunities for experimentation – our so-called experiments in the science classes are more of this sort - following a cook book recipe where students are made to follow step-by-step procedure to end up confirming a law that has already been experimented on and discovered by great scientists ahead of us instead of the students coming up with their own procedure and end discovering something new.

Guiding Principles in the Selection and Organization of Content  Providing opportunities for experimentation – our

Guiding Principles in the Selection and Organization of Content

After teaching your students how to cook a recipe following the procedures laid down in a cookbook, allow them to experiment with mix of ingredients.

Guiding Principles in the Selection and Organization of Content After teaching your students how to cook

Guiding Principles in the Selection and Organization of Content

Presenting the ideas of others While it is

beneficial for you to encourage your students to discover principles for themselves, it will not jeopardize your students if you present the ideas of others who worked hard over the years to explain phenomena.

Guiding Principles in the Selection and Organization of Content  Presenting the ideas of others –

Guiding Principles in the Selection and Organization of Content

Emphasizing conceptual understanding

– Many a time, our teaching is devoted only to memorization of isolated facts for purposes of examinations and grade. When we teach facts only, the tendency is we are able to cover more for your students to commit to memory and for you to cover in a test but our teaching ends up skin-deep or superficial, thus meaningless.

If we emphasize conceptual understanding, the emphasis goes beyond facts. We integrate and correlate facts, concepts, and values in a meaningful manner.

Guiding Principles in the Selection and Organization of Content

The many facts become integrated into a less number of concepts, yet more meaningful and consequently easier to recall. When we stress on conceptual teaching, we are occupied with less, but we are able to teach more substantially. It is a case of "less is more!" This is precisely the emphasis of the Basic Education Curriculum

Guiding Principles in the Selection and Organization of Content The many facts become integrated into a

Guiding Principles in the Selection and Organization of Content

Example: What Do Mommies Do?

Responsibility Love of family Cooking Nutrition Health Measurement recreation and play

Guiding Principles in the Selection and Organization of Content

Guiding Principles in the Selection and Organization of Content Here are some specific strategies that can

Here are some specific strategies that can help you develop conceptual understanding in your students: (Ormrod, 2000)

Organize units around a few core ideas and themes.

Guiding Principles in the Selection and Organization of Content

Explore each topic in depth for example, by

considering many examples, examining cause-effect relationships, and discovering how specific details relate to more general principles

Guiding Principles in the Selection and Organization of Content  Explore each topic in depth –

Guiding Principles in the Selection and Organization of Content

Explain how new ideas relate to students own experiences and to things they have previously learned.

Guiding Principles in the Selection and Organization of Content Explain how new ideas relate to students

Guiding Principles in the Selection and Organization of Content

Show students through the things we say, the assignments we give, and the criteria we use to evaluate learning – that conceptual understanding of subject matter is far more important than knowledge of isolated facts.

Guiding Principles in the Selection and Organization of Content  Show students – through the things