Steppingstones to Curriculum Harrow Van Bremen considers the impact curriculum has on student learning. He questions whether a teacher’s beliefs and bias impact teaching and the construct as to the appropriateness of such an impact. Van Bremen presents the idea off “neutral curriculum” in which there is no influence from the teacher’s beliefs and bias into the creation or presentation of the curriculum.A “neutral curriculum” would be free of a singular, opinionated point-of-view and provide students the opportunity to explore and experience the numerous positions available while maintaining a structure which allows students to draw their own conclusions. Essentially, this curriculum would enable students to develop the ability to think critically and derive their own conclusions based on multi- source research. While this supposition is the conceptual intention of curriculum design, it is unachievable in practice.Teaching is a fluid action in which discussion and exploration continually have a place.
Through the process of student-directed discussion and exploration, the teacher inevitably will reveal his/her beliefs and bias whether intended overtly or not. Instructional, sharing ones’ beliefs and bias can be beneficial if they are acknowledged candidly and expressed respectfully in an environment which accommodates different views. There are mitigating parameters to consider, however.The latitude to share one’s personal perspectives may vary depending upon the organizational environment of the institution. Often an institute’s vision and mission provide guidance outlining the amount of customization an educator can apply toward the curriculum. A Christian teacher’s responsibility in a Christian school requires little consideration or effort as the personal values most likely comport with the environment, philosophy and guidance of the institution.Alternatively, a Christian teacher’s responsibility in a public school could cause a significant personal dilemma and legal implications based on a potential conflict between personal religious beliefs and legal limitations of the institution and its governance.
In other words, a Christian teacher may be faced with deciding between his/her own personal/religious responsibilities and the responsibilities regulated by he institution. For example, in the public school arena, one must keep in mind the separation of church and state.Early in my teaching career, I was employed to work in a small, rural school. The school had been a constant in the community and was surrounded by numerous local churches. Many of the teachers were parishioners at one of the local churches. The vision and mission of the school, as well as the culture embraced the inclusion of the church in the daily operations.
Although the vision and mission did not expressly detail the collaboration, it was implied; therefore, ironing prayer sessions took place within the building.