Repost: Are you an Educational Modernist or Post-modernist? A Quiz.

Originally posted on July 13th, 2010

Yesterday, our class looked at the key ideas of William Tyler and William Doll and their respective (and divergent) perspectives on curriculum and implementation. In considering the ideas of these two scholars, I see more clearly than I ever have the differences between the modernist and post-modernist perspective in curriculum and implementation. After the initial presentation by our professor, we were given articles to read to supplement the ideas we had been exposed to. One of the articles was by Dennis Koo Hok-chun that provided a comparison between these perspectives in the context of the Hong Kong educational system. As I was reading, I saw parts of myself on both sides of the fence, and thought an inventory might be a useful tool to figure out where I need to create change (or not) in my perspective and practice. So here’s the quiz, where do I/you fall on the continuum? How does this inform our practice?

For each of the questions below, choose x or y, tally your results and match them up with the scale at the end.

Would you define your classroom as eclectic (y) or linear (x)?
In managing learning in your classroom, do you your students mostly; discover concepts and get what they can from it with support from the teacher (y), or, know exactly what they will learn from lists or inventories of concepts (x)?
Are activities and learning in your classroom designed to be or pervasive (deep) (y) or efficient (x)?
Do you accept work that has taken students in a different direction than the original assignment (in format or content?) (x for no, y for yes)
When designing learning experiences, do you place more value on assessment of learning (x) or richness of learning (y)?
Individual competition in the classroom (x) or collective learning between students (y)?
Do you believe interpretation of knowledge (y) or the knowledge itself (x) is more valuable?
The adaptability and creativity of Google (y) or the structure and control of Apple (x)?
Do you believe in a final exam (x) or final conversation (portfolio) (y)?
Are you a classroom authority (x) or classroom facilitator (y)?

Based on the perspective forwarded by Tyler, if you have more x answers, you would fall into the description of a modernist. This perspective is focused on direct instruction and building upon specific curricular outcomes. Often, in the classroom this relates to more direct instruction, very specific assignments, and assessment using individualized tests.

Based on the perspective forwarded by Doll, if you have more y answers, you would fall into the description of a post-modernist. You may be more interested in holistic teaching, group activities and discovery learning. Students need to know how to think effectively and use information they gather and discover in new contexts.

I would love to hear your scores. I am not all the way to one side on this quiz, and I’m betting most of you are the same. I have really enjoyed thinking about this, as I would consider myself a post-modernist, and yet my score still came out at only 8 post-modern answers. I’m not advocating one perspective over the other, but much of what we are seeing as change in education right now is coming out of the post-modern field. I want to create a classroom where my students have the opportunity based on the latest research linked to the way that they see the world and think. I get very passionate about this, as many parents who have asked questions about my teaching methods know. Too often, we try to push our square post-modern students into the round hole of modernism, a place they don’t connect to, and don’t live. If you get a chance to read some William Tyler and William Doll, you’ll see the vivid difference in their perspectives as well.

Thanks for reading, and have a great day!

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