The meaning and implementation of curriculum integration in the middle school years: Ministry of Education reforms and current practice in the Ontario school system.

The meaning and implementation of curriculum integration in the middle school years: Ministry of Education reforms and current practice in the Ontario school system.

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Title: The meaning and implementation of curriculum integration in the middle school years: Ministry of Education reforms and current practice in the Ontario school system.
Author: Clausen, Kurt W.
Abstract: While government agencies and numerous education specialists have, for most of this century, tried to promote the use of integrated curricula, the application of this innovation has remained scattered and unfocused. Their lack of agreement concerning its purpose and practicality appears to be a central cause of this problem. With an unclear perception of what this innovation is, many educators find it difficult to implement and resistant to effective and widely-accepted definition and evaluation. The Ontario public school system reflects this problem. The Ministry of Education has directly promoted various forms of curriculum integration in successive stages since 1937. However, each of these initiatives has been followed by a period of retrenchment to disciplinary curricula. A trend emerges from this repeated cycle of advocation, resistance, and then reversal. To many who have implemented this innovation, curriculum integration comes to appear as a worthy endeavour in theory, but inapplicable and unworkable in practice. Nevertheless, its underlying premise, capable of being transferred into a multitude of potential benefits, remains attractive enough that the initiative is repeatedly resurrected. The objective of this thesis is to develop a more precise representation of the dynamics that affect the process of defining and implementing curriculum integration within the framework of the Ontario school system. This will be represented by an examination of both the perspectives of the Ministry, and of school administrators and teachers. This research will be undertaken through a two-phase study, coordinated through a series of innovation profiles (based on the work of Leithwood & Montgomery, 1987; and Scheirer, 1994), and will focus on the "Middle School Years" (grades 7 & 8).
Date: 2001
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/9061

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