I realise that within the limited time, it is difficult for me to have the comprehensive understanding of the concept of curriculum. However, within the short time, this curricula unit provides the new illumination on my perspectives of curriculum. Since, I came at SMEC, I comprehend that becoming a teacher is a great work which could making changes in the society throughout empowerment the young generations to be active citizens. Furthermore, the learning journey throughout the integrative journals enthuse me not only to think critically on the issues, but also think reflectively on my own teaching practices. Back to my experiences as a learner, I realise that since I was a student’s
teacher, my lecturer just taught me in the curricula unit about the list of subject matters that I should teach to my students. I remember that one of the exams was doing the chemistry problems within the short time to know my capability to teach the content of chemistry. Since then, I never thought philosophies beyond the curriculum, influence factors on curriculum, or visions of curriculum. Throughout this journal I will depict my conceptual understanding on curriculum which implies on several images. The processes of these understandings liquefy me into the wave of altercation. My reflections throughout this journey stimulate me to be critically reflective, even though it will be the long-life learning process for me. Finally, the processes of envisioning my curriculum images encourage me to create my “dream world” which changes my perceptions on my role in curriculum. As a result, this final journal is not my end journal, but it is my start journey to move on and face the reality and bring my voices in country.
Source: Graham & Phelps (2003
The Precious Conceptual Understandings
This unit helps me much to change my views on curriculum in term of the metaphors that I apply, the boundaries of powerful factors, and the dialectical process to engage with the realities. At the first time, I just view curriculum as only the subject matter and planned activities that I used to apply in my classroom. I never realise that it is dangerous for me to shape most of my teaching practices under the metaphors curriculum as subject matter, cultural reproduction, and discrete concepts. Therefore, since I explore more the term of metaphors in curriculum, I understand that how the metaphors of curriculum could shape teachers’ pedagogy practices. According to Provenzo Jr., McCloskey, Kottkamp, and Cohn (1989), the metaphors provides opportunities for individuals to describe the differences between the expected and experiences, reflect the experiences into multiple meanings, and create new understanding. Moreover, even though, I also applied the meaningful learning experiences in the several contexts, but I never think to provoke my students to give active participation in the social reconstruction. Moreover, throughout this unit, I try to find the way how chemistry could encourage my students to get involve in the society.
Furthermore, before I learnt the curricula unit, I just thought that the curriculum is influenced by the political factor. Because, since I started to be a teacher, I just received the curriculum with the objectives, list of subjects, and assessments type which direct me to finish all of those things within the limited time. I view those things as the powerful factor of politic factor. The top-bottom approach of curriculum which is applied in my country only gives the limited space for teachers and students to participate in their curriculum role. But, my journey through curricula unit, reminds me that there are several factors influence the curriculum which is difficult to equally meet all demand of these factors (Fensham, 1988). I realize that under these entire factors restrain me as a teacher, but I believe that there are still more space for me as a teacher to facilitate my pedagogy under these factors, especially to empowering my students (Rahmawati, 2007a). According to Fensham (1988), teachers should “act as couriers” which bring science curriculum into their life. I will concern on empower my students as social agencies to participate in the better world without ignore their holistic as individual. I believe that every student is “an active initiator and reactor” for his or her environment (Marsh, 2000, p.215).
However, I realize that my changing views of curriculum contradict with the implementation of education system in my country which are shaped by the standardization and planned activities. It will be difficult and dilemmatic journey for me as an educator as well as a teacher educator to deal with this reality. Therefore, the dialectical thinking that I learnt throughout this unit helps me much to overcome this dilemma. I hope that the dialectical thinking will be the bridge for me to understanding different views of my curriculum role. Therefore, I also realize that I could not only use the metaphors under one camp, such as postmodernists. I should put my dialectical thinking to cooperate with my condition under the traditionalist and the empiricists camp which focus on subject matter and measurement. The measurement can be observed by the teachers such as academic achievement on their cognitive abilities on the knowledge of subject matter. Therefore, it is dangerous that if the teachers only use the metaphors which is curriculum as planned activities and subject matter, because the students’ imagination will be trapped (Leahy & Sweller, 2004).
Finally, I realize how valuable and powerful these all conceptual understanding that I get throughout this journey. Therefore, I hope that I could bring my voices to reconceptualize my curriculum in my pedagogical practices which not only influence me but also others in my education system.
The Critically Reflective Thinking
When I read the articles or books on critically reflective thinkers, I realize that it will be difficult for me to apply those levels of thinking. The long process of my education in my country discourages me to be critical and reflective students. Therefore, starting move on to be critical, reflective, and imaginative becomes though process for me. In the way to be critical, reflective, and imaginative thinkers, I try to engage with the learning process of this unit which helps me much to develop my thinking process. Furthermore, throughout the portfolio assessment in this unit, I found that the writing process encourages me to reflect on myself and engage my knowledge, perspectives, and dispositions into my teaching practices. According to Martin (2000), portfolio assessment provides the opportunity for the learners to perform their best abilities and understanding. In my opinion, the critically reflective thinking always shapes this unit in term of my own pedagogical practices as a learner and an educator and my curriculum vision. Furthermore, according to Bain, Ballantyne, Mills, and Lester (2002, p.10), “reflection is an intrinsically good and desirable aspect of professional development”. For example, writing the journals throughout this unit gives opportunities for me to think critically reflective in my own teaching practices. When I wrote the journal, I realise that I became a reproducer in the technical interest in most of my teaching practices who always used all of the instruments to facilitate my teaching and neglected my subject as “worth knowing” (Henderson & Kesson, 2004) and focused on controlling my students’ academic achievement (Grundy, 1987). Furthermore, the other powerful learning experience in this unit which stimulates me to think critically and reflectively in my own teaching practices is analysis the influenced factors in my curriculum. I tried to remember and analysis my journey as a learner and an educator under the influence of politics, economics, social, culture, and religion which relate to curriculum as content and subject matter. Therefore, I was likely to focus on a “product oriented curriculum” (Taylor & Williams, 1992, p.5). The learning experiences in this unit help me out to criticise those things and find out the powerful learning experiences for my students. Therefore, I am interested in building more learning processes as meaningful activities for my students (Grundy, 1987). For example, in my classroom, I could engage my students throughout the curriculum as experience and currere to create meaningful learning situation and communicate the concepts of chemistry using varied strategies, so that it will shape chemistry as interesting, meaningful, and useful subject for my students.
Furthermore, the most powerful step of critical reflective that I found in this journey is creating my own curriculum vision and enrich it with the other concepts of regressive curriculum. The integration concepts of my curriculum visions on the idea of eco-justice, social justice, democracy, community, and agenda for social reconstruction will help my students to active participate in the reconstruction of society. Furthermore, the journey from the envisioning curriculum to the regressive curriculum gives me space to deal with the reality in my teaching practices. For example, the idea of sustainability could be applied in my teaching practices on green chemistry concepts to empower my students to sustain the environment. According to Chambers & Rowell (2007), environmental issues topics in science curricula could promote the students’ awareness of the social, economic and political dimensions in the society. Therefore, now, I become more concern on the other ways I that I could apply in my pedagogical practices. According to Woods (1996, p.127), “students’ empowerment through emancipating them from ideologies and discriminatory practices” is the aim of critical pedagogy. This process will help students to develop their capacity to struggle in their lives (Lovat & Smith, 1998).
Moreover, the other example of my journey on think reflectively is evaluating and analyzing the education policies in my country such as implementation of curriculum integration and Outcomes Based Education (OBE) which need to be concerned on the level of applications. Exploring these concepts help me to find the real philosophy beyond these concepts. For example, an integrated curriculum could help my learners to engage their learning experiences to understanding themselves as individual and social agent (Bean, 1995). Moreover, it also gives opportunities for the students to realize the variety of situations in which they could apply science for real-life purposes which making their learning personal and meaningful (Columba, 2007; Martin, 2000). I realise that transformational OBE will equip the students with knowledge, competence, and orientations for success after leaving the school. Therefore, transformational OBE is future-driven outcomes for the students which giving the schools to restructuring themselves. Through this unit, I hope that I could bring my voices related to the implementation of these ideas in my education system.
Furthermore, I believe that this process is not only useful for me as an educator but also for my students. Therefore, I really encourage myself and other teachers to be aware of the role of educators to empower students as critical, reflective, and imaginative thinkers which not only shapes the learners as individual, but also as agency for social reconstruction.
The Impact of Envisioning
Since I create my envisioning, I always think the ways how my multidimensional curriculum images are applied in my pedagogical practices to shape my students as holistic thinkers. I realise how powerful those idea to shape and empower my teaching practices. According to Henderson & Kesson (2004, p.2), “curriculum envisioning involves both personal soul searching and discerning social criticism”. Therefore, I found, the essential transformation for me in this envisioning process is encouraging myself to be critical reflective teacher who is aware of the importance of the meaningful learning experiences, critical thinking, and students’ empowerment. Moreover, I never think that I could have opportunity to envisioning my own curriculum, in addition the creation of the graduate attributes as well as CLOs and ULOs for my university. These opportunities I found that really stimulate me to think critically and imaginative on my ideal world. Throughout these process, I found myself learn to bring my silent voiced which I found it is impossible to be heard. Furthermore, this envisioning gives me opportunities to escape from the boundaries which de-values my idealism as a teacher. I apprehend that the envisioning is a powerful step to empower me to do the improvement for others and myself. The envisioning through the several curriculum images empower my dream in empathic intelligence zone which is “based on the best contemporary theories of intellectual, emotional, aesthetic and social development” (Arnold, 2005, p.148). It favours a curriculum which cooperates with interpersonal relationships, development of self awareness, self development, engagement, and personal experiences. Emphatic intelligence will mobilize my teaching into the transformative learning which personalized experiences are central to deep learning (Rahmawati, 2007b). The deep learning will help my students understand that the learning is not only memorizing but also transforming their capability as individual.
Furthermore, throughout this envisioning, I realize that it is important for me to equip my students with the personal and social competence to shape them as holistic individuals. According to Fullan (2001), the personal competence involves self-awareness and self-regulation while the social competence involves motivation, emphaty, and social skills. Therefore, the powerful ideas of dynamic process, eco-justice, democracy, and integration curriculum will enrich my curriculum vision which could encourage my students as creative, imaginative, reflective and critical thinkers. These ideas are not only encourage individuals to equip self-awareness, self-reflection, and self-development but also active participation in their role-life performances for reconstruction the better world for the society (Rahmawati, 2007c). Furthermore, combining those ideas with the transformational OBE, the concepts of learning, and the philosophy of Pancasila provides the ideal graduates attributes in my university which could empower myself to have future visions in my role as an educator.
In conclusion, the learning experiences in this, not only encourage me to be reflective and critical thinkers, but also empower me to active participate in my society. Furthermore, the process challenges me to improve my pedagogical practices within creating the meaningful learning experiences and provoke my students to be aware of their role in the society. I hope that I could apply this powerful journey in my education system and deal with the challenges of reality in my country.