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New Designs for Learning

New Designs for Learning: Highlights of the Reports of the Ontario Curriculum Institute, 1963-1966

Edited and with Introductions by BRIAN BURNHAM
Series: Heritage
Copyright Date: 1967
Pages: 326
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  • Book Info
    New Designs for Learning
    Book Description:

    New Designs for Learning> (which can be considered a sequel toDesign for Learning, edited by Northrop Frye, University of Toronto Press, 1962) extracts from all seventeen reports, many now out-of-print, have been organized to deal with the most pressing and interesting aspects of educational reform.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-3273-8
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Preface
    (pp. v-viii)
    Brian Burnham
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-xi)
  4. Editor’s Note
    (pp. xii-2)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 3-6)

    Perhaps every age has produced its poets and philosophers whose art and science have been sensitive to the “ever-whirling wheele of Change,” as Edmund Spenser termed that force “which every mortall thing doth sway.” The ancients contemplated the nature of change and developed systematic ways of thinking about it. But change for them, especially significant social modification, normally occurred slowly, and after major alterations there were periods of stability and equilibrium of a sort before the next tide of change. There were exceptions, of course, when natural or man-made calamities erupted to shake the foundations of social order: sword and...


    • Introduction
      (pp. 9-11)

      From the beginning of history,” Wilfred Wees observed inScience in the Classroom, “men have been concerned with ‘betterment’, each with his own betterment, or with the betterment of somebody else, or with the betterment of mankind.” Though wanting for little, Eve, the heroine of an early history book concerned with beginnings, was apparently tempted by promises of betterment. Notwithstanding the consequences of this episode, her descendants were so taken with the notion of bettering themselves and society that they institutionalized their desire by the creation of schools.

      The first curriculum, according to “J. Abner Peddiwell” (Harold Benjamin) in his...

    • “Social and Individual Aspects of the Curriculum,” Robert Ulich in New Dynamics in Curriculum Development (1964)
      (pp. 12-17)

      A curriculum, or a program of studies, represents an attempt on the part of educational institutions to provide a learning person with a coherent sequence of impressions, exercises and cognitive subjects by virtue of which he can participate consciously, conscientiously, and productively in the cultural development of the nation and of mankind as a whole.

      This generalization should serve as an invitation to ask more precise questions. May I mention some of them. What concept do we have of a “person”? What is learning? Which subjects should be taught? What is the relation of education to society?

      If we turn...

    • “For Whom We Teach,” Wilfred R. Wees in New Dimensions in Curriculum Development (1966)
      (pp. 18-31)

      Education is a late-comer among the pursuits of man’s inquiring mind. In Western civilization we can go back to Moses for religion, Thales for philosophy, Archimedes for mechanics, Hippocrates for medicine, Herodotus for history—most of the modern disciplines have their ancient origins and their continuity. Throughout the ages, however, one seeks in vain for systematic thought about education. All that one finds are crumbs of thought dropped accidentally into some other intellectual dish.

      Systematic thinking about education did not appear until Comenius picked up Bacon’s cue and wroteThe Great Didactic. Even then people had so little regard for...

    • “A Curriculum Credo,” The Committee on the Scope and Organization of the Curriculum in Children, Classrooms, Curriculum, and Change (1966)
      (pp. 32-38)

      Society has instituted, and supports, an educational system as a means for developing human personality and thus fostering the common good. The worthy ends of all human activity include relief from material and spiritual want, from ignorance, from oppression of body, mind, and soul. Education that fosters the fullest growth of the moral, aesthetic, social, physical, and intellectual aspects of the human being must be available for all, not just the privileged, members of society.

      We may explain our moral concepts and standards humanistically, as the result of the accumulated experience of our race, or, theologically, as signs of divine...


    • Introduction
      (pp. 41-43)

      A number of terms are used to indicate the opportunities for learning experiences provided for learners under the direction of a school and its teachers. Curriculum, program of studies, course outline, syllabus, course of study, or similar terms are used to describe anything from a topical outline of content to be taught to descriptions encompassing everything, planned or spontaneous, that happens to the learner in the school setting. A national study conducted a few years ago by D. E. Glendenning indicated that Canadian educators do not agree in their definitions of these terms. Moreover, course outline and syllabus are widely...


      • [Introduction]
        (pp. 44-47)

        There is scarcely any aspect of Western civilization which is not at this moment undergoing some manifestation of that turbulent, largely unperceived revolution of sweeping sociological consequence known, where it is identified, as the communications revolution. To “everyman” this revolution reveals itself through the media which daily touch him at a dozen points—television (colour television now), FM radio, cinemascope (with stereophonic sound), multiplex tape recorders of higher than high fidelity, pop or op art including typographic fashions which have transformed even the want ads into art forms, electronic voicewriters, communication satellites, and so on. Electric technology allows everyman to...

      • “Recommendations,” from A First Look (1965)
        (pp. 48-56)

        This survey on the teaching of reading was a first attempt in Ontario to afford teachers the opportunity to express their opinions and attitudes about the methods and materials of the reading programme and professional development in reading instruction. An initial effort, the survey was designed, in part, to collect information about the state of reading instruction with a view to providing a description of its present status. The survey has yielded sufficient data to merit recommendations based on its findings. The evidence as reported in foregoing chapters of this report has revealed some specific areas in the teaching of...

      • “An Experimental Integrated Language Programme,” from Reading: A Demonstration Project (1966)
        (pp. 57-65)

        In February 1964, the Ontario Curriculum Institute established a Reading Committee to examine the state of reading instruction in the province and to make recommendations for improvement. After due investigation the committee presented a Plan for the Study of the Teaching of Reading in Ontario….

        The committee stated:

        Centres for the demonstration of reading should be established in the province. At these centres, excellence in the teaching of reading could be demonstrated for various purposes such as: pre-service teacher preparation; in-service professional development; and interpretation of reading programmes to the public.

        The values of this project are obvious. The work...


      • [Introduction]
        (pp. 66-68)

        Many people, among them educators, believe that the launching of Sputnik I in the early autumn of 1957 marked the true beginning of the current curriculum reform movement in North America. It is worthwhile looking at this date for although historically speaking the foundations for many major science curricula renewal projects pre-date Sputnik—the well-known Chemical Bond Approach Project began in the summer of 1957, for example—the launching of the satellite was, as a chemist might put it, the catalyst which sped and directed curriculum reform.

        However, the first phase of the many recent efforts at the regeneration of...

      • “Objectives and Content of a Science Curriculum,” from Science: An Interim Report (1963)
        (pp. 69-88)

        Whenever a change in curriculum is proposed, two questions should always be asked. These questions are: (a) Why is there to be a change in the old curriculum? and (b) Why is the new curriculum, out of the countless curricula that can be devised, the one that is accepted? If the answer to either of these questions is that a certain group of people (experts!) feel that one is better or worse than another, then this is not a valid reason for a change. There should be specific reasons why an already existing curriculum is rejected and a new one...

      • “Experimental Teaching-Learning Units,” from Science: Interim Report No. 2 (1964)
        (pp. 89-94)

        During early July the lessons to be tested were written and revised. The lessons formed the bases of “units,” as they came to be known. Matter, Energy, and Life emerged as groupings of the units.

        Grateful acknowledgement should be made to the Toronto Board of Education which provided the Education Centre’s home economics–industrial arts room, a locale well suited to the development of the experimental lessons. Debts should also be acknowledged to the Elementary Science Study of the United States (whose school was decribed in the 1963Interim Report) and to the pilot studies of the American Association for...


      • [Introduction]
        (pp. 95-97)

        The movement to reform the mathematics curriculum is often traced to the University of Illinois Committee on School Mathematics (UICSM) which, fifteen years ago, set able mathematicians and skilful teachers to the development of new materials of instruction and to the training of high school teachers in their use. As Max Beberman, the project’s director, put it, the aim was to produce “students who understand mathematics.” To a great extent this has been the objective of the many programs for both elementary and secondary schools which collectively have become known as the “new” or “modern” mathematics.

        It must be recognized...

      • “The What, the Why, the How of a New Mathematics Programme,” from Mathematics: Report of the Committee Considering the Mathematics Programme (K-6) (1965)
        (pp. 98-114)

        It is difficult to set down a list of topics that should be studied in the various grades. Many variables are evident immediately—the background of the child, the background of the teacher, the demands of the parent, and so on. For example, preschool children know more about the world they live in than did the preschoolers of the last generation. Television, easier travel, and many other facets of modern life have contributed to a wide preschool experience.

        Now, as never before, each year of schooling must be of maximum benefit to each pupil in his over-all education. To ensure...

      • “A Secondary School Programme for Non-University-bound Students,” from Mathematics: The Four Year Programme (1965)
        (pp. 115-135)

        Students of a four-year programme, in common with all others, form a part of our society. “At a time when our society is becoming increasingly ‘things-centred’ we do indeed have a common interest in preparing our young people to meet the challenges of a changing and complex world,” the Hon. Wm. Davis, Minister of Education, observed in a recent address. Can the mathematics course of the secondary school contribute to the development of their potential for a full life both as individuals and as members of a free society?

        C. V. Newson, in discussing the place of mathematics in modern...

      • [Illustrations]
        (pp. None)

      • [Introduction]
        (pp. 136-137)

        Considering North America as a whole, it is probably fair to say that, prior to about 1950, pre-university instruction in foreign languages, modern or classical, had two clearly discernible characteristics. The first was abelles-lettresbent which emphasized reading and writing skills, acquainted students with word roots and rules of grammar and syntax, and aimed ultimately at preparing the learner to read the classical literature of the language. The second feature was the aristocratic flavour which attached itself to the study of Greek, Latin, and that language of diplomacy and the courtly tradition, French. Aristocratic they were in a second...

      • “The Role and Value of a Second Language in Canadian Society,” from French as a Second Language (1963)
        (pp. 138-142)

        The aim of formal education is to aid the individual to realize his full potentialities as a rational and imaginative being and to make his maximum contribution to the society in which he lives. These two aspects of education depend upon the mastery of the skills required for the communication and acquisition of knowledge, that is upon language, upon the ability to speak, to read and write. These skills are essential for the cultivation of the mind through the training and stimulation of the intellect. The development of the individual’s ability to think, to make independent judgments and to act...

      • “Experimental Intensive Teacher Training Programme in Oral French,” from The Modern Languages Committee: Interim Report No. 2 (1965)
        (pp. 143-180)

        The Experimental Intensive Teacher Training Programme conducted at Huron College, University of Western Ontario, from July 5th to August 15th, 1964, under the auspices of the Ontario Curriculum Institute, had its origin in the recommendation of the Institute’s Second Language Committee that oral French be taught in the elementary schools of Ontario from Grade I upward and in Kindergarten where such classes exist.

        This far-reaching recommendation was made after great deliberation and with the Committee’s fullest comprehension of the inherent problems. The majority of problems considered by the Committee seemed to be administrative and organizational, requiring leadership and official approval...

      • “Teaching the Russian Language,” from Third Language Study in the Secondary Schools (1965)
        (pp. 181-189)

        The teaching of Russian in the secondary schools of Ontario is in a pitifully undeveloped state. Very little progress has been made in recent years. However, there can be no doubt that this major cultural and scientific language should be widely taught.

        A survey of people employed in various fields of science was carried out by the Committee to evaluate the need for personnel with a knowledge of Russian. Out of 75 scientists questioned, 66 replied. Almost everyone surveyed suggested that a knowledge of Russian would be of some use in this field. More than 60 per cent indicated that...

      • L’Anglais: langue seconde des Franco-Ontariens à l’école secondaire (1965)
        (pp. 190-205)

        Le Sous-comité de français du Comité des langues modernes de l’Institut des programmes d’études de l’Ontario a été constitué à l’automne de 1964, à la demande de l’Institut, afin d’étudier à fond la question de l’enseignement de l’anglais dans les écoles secondaires fréquentées par des élèves de langue française. Il entrait également dans les attributions du sous-comité d’étudier la question de l’emploi du français pour enseigner les matières scolaires distinctes du français, dans les écoles secondaires publiques et privées où le nombre des élèves de langue française est suffisamment élevé pour justifier une telle pratique.¹

        Sans compter quelques rencontres préliminaires,...


      • [Introduction]
        (pp. 206-208)

        The positioning of these fields as last in this section on “New Curricula” reflects their status—last and least—in the reform movement to date. True, it would be hard to find anyone who would not acknowledge the need for quality programs in the fine arts and the studies of mankind. But as John Goodlad observed in his admirable survey,School Curriculum Reform in the United States(1964), “program development in social sciences, humanities (especially the arts), health and physical education is as yet only embryonic at both elementary and secondary levels of education.” An imbalance in the efforts to...

      • “Teaching the Creative Arts,” from The Creative Arts: A Survey of Professional Opinion (1965)
        (pp. 209-220)

        In answer to question 7, which asked respondents to state their general aims in teaching the creative arts, a variety of replies of a wide range were received. Upon classification, these aims were found to divide into two rather distinct types: (a) long-term aims which would not be fully realized until the pupil had reached a more mature age; and (b) immediate or day-by-day operating objectives which are adjusted to the differing capacities and interest of individual pupils, and to the material and cultural environment in which they work. A few of the aims stated could be more appropriately classified...

      • “Geography: A Conceptual Model for Curriculum Design,” from Directions: An Initial Inquiry into the Social Sciences Program for the Schools (1966)
        (pp. 221-228)

        The geography committee decided, after preliminary exploration, that the most urgent need was for a conceptual model of curriculum design. Such a design could be used as a framework for the construction of courses and units of study. It was hoped that this model could be conceived at a level of abstraction which would allow the continual adoption of new and pertinent perceptions of reality, and could be structured so that the peculiar and particular and sometimes deviant local activities and associations, which are the individual and parochial scale of reality, would be recognizable.

        It was hoped that this model...


    • Introduction
      (pp. 231-232)

      Few can remember when the Bible, the blackboard, and the birchrod were the only respectable teaching aids. However, most teachers today began their careers when the unholy trinity of book, chalk, and talk dominated classroom communications. The technological revolution now promises to put into every school “learning resources” ranging from simple handheld slide-viewers to total systems capable of programming simultaneously the learning activities of many students.

      The communications revolution, for all its disruptive characteristics, promises dynamic solutions to a paradoxical problem. Ours is a world beset by a knowledge explosion and, at the same time, an unprecedented shortage of persons...

    • “Overview,” from Technology in Learning (1965)
      (pp. 233-240)

      The possibilities and implications inherent in large-scale use of technological developments in education are so staggering to the imagination that one can scarcely avoid coming into frequent contact with someone’s opinions, well-founded or otherwise, as to the benefits or dangers of any widespread introduction of media into the formal learning situation. Suggested applications of technology range from the continued utilization of the book and the blackboard to complete control of the learning programme of large numbers of students by centrally-located computers.

      At the recent Third Commonwealth Education Conference, Prime Minister Pearson expressed a concern of many thoughtful persons when he...

    • “Teaching Materials in the Reading Programme,” from A First Look (1965)
      (pp. 241-246)

      This section of the questionnaire called for the rating of a wide variety of teaching materials for the reading programme: printed and hand-prepared reading materials, audio-visual aids, and tests of reading achievement. In addition to rating the materials and specifying some others, the respondents have in many cases submitted comments where none were anticipated. Some of these have been included in the report.

      The items on page 15 of the questionnaire were clearly directed to teachers with primary experience only. Since approximately 50 per cent of the respondents were known to have had experience in the primary grades, about 3,000...


    • Introduction
      (pp. 249-251)

      A newspaper article recently observed that 200 specialists had been set to the evaluation of plans submitted to the U.S. government for the construction of supersonic aircraft. It is surely comforting to travellers to know that their safety (among other things) will be the object of careful consideration by such a large task force.

      It would be comforting to learners to be able to report that the programs in the schools, especially the new curricula, were so arduously examined or even that a more modest evaluation had been or would be undertaken. Unfortunately, very few curricula, old or new, have...

    • “Evaluating the Curriculum,” from Science: An Interim Report (1963)
      (pp. 252-258)

      How to know what the child knows was posed as a problem in the section on experimental schools. Again we have barely entered this subject which needs considerable discussion not only in the light of our suggestions, but with respect to present practices in Ontario. As we noted before, the problem is not an acute one in the early years when the small range of knowledge and the openness of the child combine to allow a teacher to know when understanding is there. It is in the higher years that more formal evaluation becomes necessary and here there are sticky...

    • “Evaluation in the Reading Programme,” from A First Look (1965)
      (pp. 259-268)

      In general, evaluation is the process of assessing the child’s needs, his growth in learning power, and his progress toward stated educational goals. Practices in evaluation should reflect the philosophy of the school and/or system, and should be considered an integral part of the teaching-learning process. Good practices in evaluation involve a continuous planned assessment of progress and growth. Such practices foster the development of data that can provide guidance in a variety of ways, for the pupil, the teacher, the principal, the parent, and the administrator. Evaluation data assist in the diagnosis of learning problems, provide guidelines for school...


    • Introduction
      (pp. 271-272)

      What is curriculum research? A seminar group which met during the 1966 convention of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development could neither agree on a definition of curriculum research nor adequately describe its nature and functions as distinct from their other research activities.

      What then is the state of those research activities which are associated with curriculum development? The June 1963 and June 1966 issues of the American Educational Research Association’sReview of Educational Research, devoted to “Curriculum Planning and Development,” sound very much the same pessimistic note. In 1963, James B. Macdonald and James D. Rath maintained that...

    • “Suggested Research Topics,” from Theory of Instruction and Cognitive Development: A Survey of Research Needs (1965)
      (pp. 273-275)

      Because the gaps in our knowledge are so glaring, and the basic questions to which answers are needed are so numerous, there is little point in our singling out particular research topics for detailed discussion. When we say that we need to know very much more than we do about the mechanisms that constribute to school learning, about ways of determining its effectiveness, about the particular range of situations in which particular learning experiences bear fruit, about the ways in which motivational, attentional, ideational, perceptual, and motor processes can best be organized to optimize the effects of instruction, this statement...

    • “Needed Curriculum Research,” Floyd G. Robinson in New Dimensions in Curriculum Development (1966)
      (pp. 276-284)

      My predecessors as luncheon speakers both referred to the conference co-ordinator’s urging to be brief. For me, a call for brevity will not provide the occasion for wit, but rather offers an invitation to indulge in a certain amount of uninhibited generalization. For if any of my statements are thought to lack appropriate qualification, or to neglect exceptions, I will merely plead lack of time.

      I speak as a person who is charged with the responsibility of attempting to apply psychology—the so-called “science of behaviour”—to the problems and practices of education. From my particular point of view, a...


    • Introduction
      (pp. 287-287)

      This final section brings together three addresses originally delivered to the Second International Curriculum Conference. In brief, they might be described as (1) an Englishman’s assessment of where we are today; (2) an American’s analysis of the directions in which we are purposefully gravitating; (3) a Canadian’s blueprint for a vehicle that may move us expeditiously on our way. The literate, provocative, and forceful wit of Sir Ronald Gould, the comprehensive, penetrating examinations and imaginative prescriptions of Dr. Robert M. McClure, and the breadth of vision and practical experience brought to bear on the complex problems of building for the...

    • “Curriculum Change,” Sir Ronald Gould in New Dimensions in Curriculum Development (1966)
      (pp. 288-300)

      For the first time in history, three groups of people from three countries, with a common interest in curriculum reform, are meeting together. We are innovators, originators, pioneers, trail-blazers. Yet it is only the fact that we meet internationally for this purpose that is new. Individuals and groups have often made the curriculum the subject of discussion and even controversy.

      Listen to this: “What does it profit a student to spend his days in these things which neither in the army, nor at home, nor in business, nor in the cloister, nor in politics, nor in the church, nor anywhere...

    • “Instructional Trends in the United States,” Robert M. McClure in New Dimensions in Curriculum Development (1966)
      (pp. 301-311)

      Unique contributions to human welfare from single nations are rare. When the history of the world is written, the Greeks will be remembered for liberty, the Romans for law, the British for parliamentary government. In America, we hope we will not be remembered for our industrial might, our scientific achievements, our ability to mass-produce material objects. We would rather have it noted that from our very beginning as a nation we took seriously the idea of universal public education. Soon, I hope, we can add the word “equal” to that phrase.

      Schooling in the United States is a vast enterprise:...

    • “A New Model for Educational Research and Development,” R. W. B. Jackson in New Dimensions in Curriculum Development (1966)
      (pp. 312-322)
      R. W. B. JACKSON

      My assigned task, Mr. Chairman, is to discuss research and development in education and, in particular the new structural model we have tried to develop in Ontario. You may think it strange to find such a topic, provincial in scope, on your agenda. I think our common interests must stem from a shared belief that the whole educative process should be continuously evaluated and improved, and that changes in the massive structure of public education not only should but can be made. Your primary concern obviously lies in the field of curricular reforms, in both instructional techniques and materials; my...

    (pp. 323-326)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 327-327)