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PUT AWAY YOUR TOYS: Sunday brought perfect weather for hot-air ballooning over the Old Mendon Highway -- but when it's over, you still have to pack up. / Photo by Nancy Williams

Today's word on journalism

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

"Paranoia means having all the facts."

--William S. Burroughs, Beat Generation writer (1914-1997)

USU professor publishes curriculum book

Friday, September 1, 2006-Martha Whitaker, associate professor of elementary education at Utah State University's College of Education and Human Services, is a co-author of Triple Takes on Curricular Worlds, a curriculum theory book that allows readers to think broadly about the diverse perspectives teachers bring to their work.

The idea that teachers can hold their personal values, beliefs and life experiences at bay to create a "value-free" or "neutral" educational experience is, according to the authors, impossible. The book casts light on the kind of thinking that reflective teachers do. In so doing, it provides a contrast to curriculum theory that implies that teachers and students are generic.

"We are not suggesting that all views should be brought into the classroom," Whitaker said. "We are suggesting that teachers take a more thoughtful look at their own views and the views that are implicitly a part of their practices so that their decisions about what they do in their classrooms are more fully informed."

Whitaker and her co-authors Mary Aswell Doll, Savannah College of Art and Design, and Delese Wear, Northeastern Ohio University, each respond to ten prompts: boundaries, curriculum, disgrace, distance, fear, forgiveness, light, motherhood and teaching. Each chapter includes an introduction and three essays that sometimes agree and sometimes argue.

"Historically, teachers have complied quietly to authority from the top, while also taking seriously the challenge of bringing students and content together in meaningful ways," Whitaker said. "This book breaks that relative silence, openly saying, 'This is who I am. I bring my lived experience to my work: my passion, my understanding, my commitment to the process of teaching and learning.'"

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