The parents' conception of the ideal curriculum

Lane, Watson Wilfred (1980) The parents' conception of the ideal curriculum. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

A study of the survey, “The Eleventh Annual Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools”, conducted by the Gallup Poll in the United States prompted the author’s interest in conducting a similar study of high schools in Newfoundland. After reading “Public Attitudes Towards Education in Newfoundland and Labrador” by P.J. Warren, the writer was convinced that a need for an investigation existed. Whereas both of these studies cover virtually the entire education system, the present study focuses specifically on the program of studies in the high schools of Newfoundland. -- The study was based on the assumption that the curriculum in use in the province’s high schools was the outcome of the labours of professional educators whose own conception of curriculum might often be vastly different from the parents’ conceptions of instructional programming. The intent of the research, then, was to arrange a method of investigation that would provide parents with an opportunity to make known their feelings regarding the high school curriculum in use in Newfoundland schools -- Two methods for collecting data were considered the questionnaire and/or the interview. A combination of both methods was eventually employed. A questionnaire consisting of thirty-five questions was compiled and used as a basis for discussion throughout the interviews. Most questions required a simple “Yes” or “No” answer; however, some questions were open-ended and the responses from parents, in the case of these questions, were duly recorded, categorized and analyzed. -- Time and finances prohibited extending the survey to cover the whole of the province. It was decided, therefore, to choose three areas for survey purposes. One high school, Prince of Wales Collegiate, was chosen to represent the largest city in the province, St. John’s. This area was designated Area I. Because Gander Academy was considered a middle-sized high school, Gander was designated as Area II. Glovertown, Eastport, Dark Cove and Hare Bay areas, where smaller schools were situated, were considered Area III. -- For sampling purposes each area was divided, with the help of the fire chiefs of the various communities, into sections or sub-divisions; North, South, East, Central for example. (A detailed description of sampling procedure is contained in Chapter II). Parents’ names and addresses, obtained from class lists provided by the school principals, were compiled in accordance with each sub-division of the area and a draw was arranged. Thirty names were chosen in Area I, Sixteen in Area II and fourteen in Area III. Following the draw, arrangements were made by telephone for interviews with the parents. -- Although sampling was small and only two School Board districts were included in this study, certain general conclusions that may well reflect the attitudes of parents throughout the province may be drawn. -- 1. The cooperation of parents that was experienced throughout this investigation and the apparent concern expressed by parents during the interviews reflected, it was felt, a genuine desire on the part of parents to be involved in school affairs. -- 2. Parents were conscious of their “exclusion” with regards to the planning and implementation of educations programs in the schools. No one in sixty parents felt that the curriculum in use in Newfoundland high schools intentionally reflected the “wishes of the parent.” If it did reflect, then, it was quite co-incidental. Yet, 78% of parents interviewed expressed a desire to have an input into curriculum planning. -- 3. Although parents were critical of some aspects of the educational system, the study reflected an over-all satisfaction with the curriculum employed in Newfoundland high schools. -- 4. The study reflected the cognizance of parents concerning the urgent need for continuous revisions of the program of studies. It was sensed that parents welcomed the challenge of necessary change. It was concluded that professional curriculum planners need not fear the need for revisions of school programs of study - parents, it would appear, are fully prepared to support innovations. -- 5. There was little or no significant difference recorded between the general attitudes of parents in Areas I, II or III. Neither was there any significant difference recorded between opinions expressed by the two sexes. However, older parents were more inclined to favour the teaching of religion and sticking to the basics than their younger counterparts. -- Although this investigation attempted to focus on curriculum, “teacher performance” was considered by practically every parent interviewed a topic of grave concern. The writer concluded that important as the program of studies may be, the performance of the person who uses it is equally important.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/7691
Item ID: 7691
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 75-76
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: 1980
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Education--Newfoundland and Labrador--Public opinion; Curriculum planning--Newfoundland and Labrador; High schools--Newfoundland and Labrador--Curricula

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