Instructions

Course Syllabus

“Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well the main end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life (John 17:3) and therefore to lay Christ in the bottom, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning.” 

Harvard University Rules and Precepts, 1642


WELCOME! EDU 630: Shaping Home and School Curriculum K-12 (3 credit hours)

Instructor: Dr. Carla Stevens (c.stevens@ps78teachers.org)

Welcome to Shaping Curriculum for Home and School, K-12, a course designed to help you apply a biblical worldview framework to all aspects of curriculum development and assessment. “Why,” you might ask, “should I care about curriculum development? I have to teach what the government tells me to teach. I have to prepare my students (or my child) for the national exam. I do not have a voice in the curriculum.” It is our prayer that by the end of this course you will see just how important it is for you to actively SHAPE the curriculum, to be an aggressive advocate for the Lordship of Christ (Colossians 1:18) in ALL THINGS! This practical course will prepare you to do just that.

The course begins with a clarifying discussion of the term curriculum, as well as, the necessity of biblical thinking as you enter into the process of developing sound curriculum. You will have the opportunity to examine your current school’s guiding documents and, if necessary, revise (or write) your school’s vision and mission statements. You will practice building a model course of study aligned with this mission statement and, as much as possible, in compliance with local government standards. We will then introduce the concept of curriculum mapping to help you uncover and articulate the current curriculum in place at your school (actual versus what is in official documents). Next, you will design a viable way to assess your success in carrying out your mission. Your mission statement will also be used to establish criteria for the evaluation of all materials used in the classroom, such as textbooks, workbooks, and teacher-made materials.

We will be using ideas from a variety of books, with special emphasis on Harry Van Brummelen’s Steppingstones to Curriculum (a book referenced previously in EDU 610), Martha MacCullough’s By Design, and Daniel Vander Ark’s From Mission to Measurement.


A. Course Description

EDU 630 is an application of a biblical worldview to the processes and products of curriculum development and assessment for the K-12 day or home school or school system. Students examine the steps in developing a course of study from a school's mission statement through the assessment process. The issue of local or national standards is addressed. Criteria for the evaluation of textbooks and other curriculum materials is developed.

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B. PS78 Teacher Education Program (PS78TEP) Program Standards Purpose*

The purpose of PS78 Teacher Education Program (PS78TEP) is to prepare competent teachers who practice their craft according to biblical precepts in any and every educational setting. To do this, students examine carefully, in the light of God’s Word, various principles and practices proposed by both secular and Christian educators. Students then apply their biblically informed convictions. Candidates develop the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to become teachers who model life-long learning and faithful service to God as change-agents in society.


Program Outcomes*

Shared Vision

Framework. Develop, articulate, and apply a Christian worldview to: the mission of the school, the nature of the learner, the role of the teacher, the nature of the subject matter, and the dynamics of the teaching/learning process.

Professional Growth. Be an ethical, reflective practitioner who continually evaluates the effects of his/her choices and actions on others and who actively pursues opportunities to grow professionally. 

Community. Foster relationships with colleagues, parents and agencies in the larger community, to support student learning and well-being.

Nature and Needs of Learners

Student Development. Utilize knowledge of human learning and development to provide learning opportunities that support students’ physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual growth. 

Diversity. Create instructional opportunities that are adapted to the needs of diverse learners, including learning differences related to culture, language, and ability.

Content and Professional Knowledge

Content. Demonstrate understanding of the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the discipline(s) he/she teaches and create learning experiences that make these aspects of the subject matter meaningful for students.

Technology. Use appropriate technology in the teaching and learning process.

Instructional Competence

Planning. Plan instruction based upon knowledge of subject matter, curriculum goals and standards, student differences, and the social and cultural characteristics of the community.

Management. Create and maintain a learning environment that encourages responsible care for others, collaborative inquiry, active engagement in learning, and self-motivation.

Instructional Strategies. Use a variety of instructional strategies to encourage students’ development of critical thinking, problem solving, and performance skills.

Assessment. Understand and use formal and informal assessment strategies to evaluate and ensure the continuous intellectual, emotional, and social development of the student.

Communication

Use effective communication to foster active inquiry, collaboration, and supportive interaction in the classroom.

* Adapted with permission from the Master of Education program at Covenant College, Lookout Mountain, GA., USA.


C. Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Analyze and evaluate contemporary curriculum models, as well as, the curricular practices of their own school or school district.

  2. Develop a model course of study for a K-12 school system.

  3. Write curriculum goals that reflect the purpose and direction of a school.

  4. Develop an integral curriculum with a scope and sequence that reflects stated curriculum goals.

  5. Incorporate state and national standards into a school’s curriculum in an appropriate manner.

  6. Evaluate textbooks and other curriculum materials against stated criteria.

  7. Assess the degree to which curriculum goals and objectives are being met.

  8. Develop proposals for curricular change within their own school or school district.

D. Texts and Readings

Required Reading: Books

  • Green, J. D. (2014). An invitation to academic studies. Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Publishing.
  • Ramsay, R. B. (2020). Intellectual integrity: Developing a Christian worldview. Miami, FL: Richard B. Ramsay (Selected chapters)

Required Reading: Selected Articles (Provided in Required Reading)

  • Blomberg, D. (1991). The integral curriculum. Christian Educators Journal (December, 1991). Retrieved from https://www.cejonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/31-2.pdf
  • Fennema, J. (2002). Beware of Reformed Christian Education: It May Be Dangerous! Christian Educators Journal (February 2002).
  • Hasker, W. (1992). Faith-learning integration: An overview. Christian Scholar’s Review, 21(3), 234-248.
  • Perrin, C. A. (2004). An introduction to classical education: A guide for parents. Camp Hill, PA: Classical Academic Press. Retrieved from https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/ 1/0264/3014/4583/files/ICE_version2.6.pdf
  • Radtke, J. M. (1998). How to write a mission statement. Excerpted from Strategic Communications for Nonprofit Organizations: Seven Steps to Creating a Successful Plan. Retrieved from https://www.tgci.com/sites/default/files/pdf/ How%20to%20Write%20a%20Mission%20Statement.pdf
  • Smith, David I. (2004). What is Excellent Teaching? The Question of Faith and Pedagogy. Inaugural address, Kuyers Institute for Christian Teaching and Learning. Delivered at the Prince Conference Center at Calvin College. Retrieved from http://webapps.calvin.edu/kuyers/lecture.php?ID=6
  • Stabback, P. (2016). What makes a quality curriculum? UNESCO IBE Series, Current and Critical Issues in Curriculum and Learning, March, 2016, No.2.
  • Steensma, G. J. & Van Brummelen, H. W., editors. (1977). Shaping School Curriculum: A Biblical View (out of print). Terre Haute, IN: Signal. (Selected chapters)
  • Steensma, G. J. (1987). Shaping School Curriculum, Integral Learning: A Biblical View (out of print booklet). Middleburg Heights, OH: Reformed Educational Publishing & Consulting Co. (Selected chapters)
  • Young, B. (2014). What it means to know. [Course handout]. Covenant College, Lookout Mtn, TN.

Required Reading/Viewing (Internet Links)


Suggested Reading

  • De Jong, N. (2001). Teaching for a change: A transformational approach to education. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.
  • Keenan, D. J. (2007). Curriculum leadership. In J. L. Drexler (Ed.), Schools as Communities (pp. 197-213). Colorado Springs, CO: Purposeful Design.
  • MacCullough, M. E. (2013). By design: Developing a philosophy of education informed by a Christian worldview (2nd ed.). Colorado Springs, CO: Purposeful Design.
  • Pearcey, N. (2005). Total truth: Liberating Christianity from its cultural captivity (Study guide ed.). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.
  • Van Brummelen, H. (2002). Steppingstones to Curriculum: A biblical path (2nd ed.). Colorado Springs, CO: Purposeful Designs.
  • Vander Ark, D. R. (2000). From mission to measurement. Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Schools International.
E. Credit

MINTS International Seminary offers three (3) credit hours for this course as part of the PS78 Teacher Education Program leading to a Master Degree in Biblical Studies, Education Major.


F. Lesson Themes

Lesson 1: Curriculum and Why It Matters

Lesson 2: Ways to Define & Organize Curriculum

Lesson 3: What Shapes a School’s Curriculum?

Lesson 4: What it Means to Know

Lesson 5: Combatting Curriculum Disconnects With Integral Learning

Lesson 6: What Makes Good Curriculum?

Lesson 7: From Mission to Measurement

Lesson 8: Checking the “Fit”

G. Assignments

Directions to complete all assignments, including required readings, written responses, quizzes, and a course exam are found under the section labeled Instructions.


H. Assessment

See the course Study Guide for Coursework Point Distribution and Grading Scale. Local Study Center Facilitators are responsible for working with course participants to establish a Study Team meeting time line and due dates for assignments and exams. Penalties for late work, if applicable, are to be established at the local level.


I. Time Considerations

Traditionally, each credit hour of a course represents approximately 15 hours of class time plus an equal amount of time for out of class reading, writing, and reviewing. For a three credit hour course, the participant should expect to spend a minimum of 45 hours to complete the requirements of this course and an additional 45 reading, writing, and reviewing course materials.


J. Target Students

This program is designed for teachers in Christian day schools and home schools, but it can also be helpful for those involved in public institutions or after-school programs. This program is for anyone who desires to be equipped to fortify children and young people with biblical truths that can help them filter out error and embrace truth wherever it may be found.


Instructor: Dr. Carla R. Stevens

Carla has served as a teacher and educational consultant with Mission to the World since 1989, first as a middle school science teacher and coach for missionary children in Quito, Ecuador and then as a teacher and consultant for the Presbyterian schools in Belize. Carla assisted in the establishment of several schools, coordinated teacher education efforts, and helped develop curriculum for the growing Christian school network in Belize. Carla is the Coordinator and principle course designer for the PS78 Teacher Education Program. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Covenant College in Georgia, and her doctoral degree from Regent University in Virginia.