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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What Is The Right Knowledge?

What Is The Right Knowledge?

The first step I am going to take in my approach to suggesting ideas for what should be included in the Right Knowledge that we teach our children is to take a brief look at the current public school curriculum. By doing so maybe we can  answer the following questions. Does the current curriculum fall short of teaching our children the right knowledge that will help them build successful, peaceful relationships? Does it fall short of teaching our children how to become knowledgeable and competent parents in their future? Does it fall short of teaching them how to be successful and prosperous?

I examined the requirements for seniors for high school graduation in Mississippi for 2011-2012 and later. The majority of the requirements were occupied by the English, Math, Science and Social Studies staples. These four subjects comprised nearly 61% (14 of the required 23 credits) of the required credits to graduate. The remainder of credits required were as follows:

    Business & Technology - 1 credit
    Fine Arts - 1 credit
    Health - 0.5 credit
    Physical Education - 0.5 credit
    Advanced Seminar - 1 credit
    Electives - 5 credits

I also found out that the total required credit to graduate was recently lowered from 25 to 23! Social studies was reduced by one credit (from 4 credits to 3), equivalent to a 25% reduction from the previous level. The Math requirement increased 1 credit (from 3 credits to 4). Physical Education increased to 0.5 credit from zero. And Electives were reduced from 7.5 credits to 5 (equivalent to a nearly 36% reduction).

I understand what they were doing with some of these changes. For instance, I believe that standardized testing results show that we are falling behind the rest of the world in math knowledge - so let’s increase math! And I assume that, as a nation and as a state,  we are a leader in obesity - so let’s increase physical education! Why reduce the overall required total of credit, though? Why reduce social studies, which is the one place we might find some room to teach children how to build healthy relationships and tolerance and acceptance of different cultures?

The problem from my perspective with the curriculum is there is no obvious structure from which we teach our children the Right Knowledge so they are properly equipped for the future to be competent, effective parents; skillful communicators and relationship builders; and capable of financial success and prosperity. To answer my questions from above, I think we fall miserably short of teaching our children the Right Knowledge.

So, again, what is the Right Knowledge? I have mentioned in a previous posting that the most important suggestion I have is to make room for a mandatory course on how to build a healthy child/parent relationship with their (future) children. In other words, teach our children how to become competent, knowledgeable and effective parents! Teach our children parenting skills between the ages of 14-16, BEFORE most of them become parents and are forced to “wing it” like I had to do!

The next most important curriculum ingredient I have for suggestion is to teach our children the importance of a Positive Attitude and how to maintain that attitude, especially during difficult times. Positive attitude is an essential ingredient to success! One of the few common denominators shared by all successful people is that they have a positive attitude. If we want successful children and we want them to grow up to be successful adults, then we must include this essential SKILL!

Teaching positive attitude may not even require a separate structured course. It should be intertwined into every course as more of a theme for learning and success. It should be every school’s philosophical perspective and approach to teaching! If there were a course, it would more likely be a course taught to the TEACHERS so that they can be guided in how to incorporate positive attitude building skills into all if the courses that they teach.

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