Restoring natural curriculum

A new educational paradigm was suggested in this paper Sept. 29. The new paradigm addressed four basic problems. The natural construction of the curriculum is one.

“Keeping Score” reported that of “116 high schools, 89 are in the yellow category for only partially meeting (English Language Arts) standards.”

“The percentage of high schools partially meeting standards was 57.24, which is unchanged from 2017-2018 school year.”

The new paradigm can change this and move the percentages forward because it is organized according to natural principles.

The first principle of the natural order is integrity. Integrity comes through integration. No class, no course, no subject is of importance in and of itself. Courses have value only as they are an integrated part of a harmonious whole. Otherwise there is change but no progress, no growth, no progress.

Integrity means complete unity. Correlation means “to arrange in the proper relative position.” Harmonious means “having component elements appropriately combined.”

How does this apply to the construction of the ELA curriculum?

The integrity of the ELA is listening, speaking, writing, reading. All of these courses must be in the curriculum and taken in this order. Crawling precedes walking; walking precedes running. Listening precedes speaking, speaking precedes writing, and writing precedes reading.

A version of this natural order was used in the Wood County Schools in the 1970s. It was called Open Court. If I remember correctly, at the end of the third grade the students were reading at level 8.4.

When these students were tested as college freshmen, their reading levels had not changed. Thus, about 80 percent were assigned to remedial reading and/or writing.

They had not progressed in junior high and high school because the ELA programs there were not taught in the natural order. The curriculum had no integrity.

Two important elements were left out: listening and speaking. Students were programmed to fail. They also failed the remedial classes at college for the same reason.

Two double blind studies were done with the listening and speaking added. All passed. Students passed the listening and speaking class; and the reading and the writing remedial classes.

When the integrity principle is applied, students learn quickly and easily. I have observed this principle work many times at many levels with many different students.

Yet I know of no teacher education program in any college or university that teaches the ELA with integrity. Usually listening and speaking are left out of the curriculum. On the other hand when they are in the curriculum they are taught in the wrong order.

Thus, the principles of correlation and harmony are violated. The cart is put before the horse.

The present paradigm is the cause of the failure.

The appointed members of the West Virginia Board of Education are at fault. They are accountable. They don’t know the first principle of curriculum making. So, colleges don’t teach it. Consequently, students are programmed to fail.

Lewis Rutherford



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