Harvard Educational Review
  1. Spring 2014 Issue »

    Designing Educative Curriculum Materials

    A Theoretically and Empirically Driven Process

    ELIZABETH A. DAVIS, ANNEMARIE SULLIVAN PALINCSAR, ANNA MARIA ARIAS, AMBER SCHULTZ BISMACK, LOREN M. MARULIS, STEFANIE K. IWASHYNA
    In this article, the authors argue for a design process in the development of educative curriculum materials that is theoretically and empirically driven. Using a design-based research approach, they describe their design process for incorporating educative features intended to promote teacher learning into existing, high-quality curriculum materials. The process entails analyzing a set of curriculum materials, characterizing students’ opportunities to learn through teachers’ enactment of the curriculum materials, and assessing students’ learning outcomes. The authors then describe ways in which both theoretical perspectives and empirical data guided their design, development, and refinement process for educative features to enhance the curriculum materials, and give examples of the resulting features. Given the current policy environment in which there are heightened expectations for science teaching at the elementary level, the authors argue that testing and refining processes for developing curricular supports for teachers is of paramount importance. While the illustrations provided focus on science curriculum materials and instruction, the authors argue that the principles and processes applied generalize to the design of educative features across subject-matter areas. 

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    Elizabeth A. Davis is an associate professor of science education and chair of elementary teacher education at the University of Michigan. Her research focuses on ways of supporting teachers in learning to teach. Of particular interest are the ways in which curriculum materials and teacher education experiences support elementary teachers in learning to teach science. Davis’s work has been published in journals such as Educational Researcher, Science Education, Curriculum Inquiry, and Teaching and Teacher Education.

    Annemarie Sullivan Palincsar is a professor of literacy, language, and culture and a teacher educator at the University of Michigan. Her research focuses on the design of learning environments that support self-regulation in learning activity, especially for children who experience difficulty learning in school. She is particularly interested in how children use literacy in the context of guided inquiry science instruction, the types of texts that support children’s learning, and the use of discussion to support students’ interactions with complex text. Palincsar has served as a member of the National Academy’s Research Council on the Prevention of Reading Difficulty in Young Children, the OERI/RAND Reading Study Group, the National Research Council’s Panel on Teacher Preparation, and the International Reading Association’s Literacy Research Panel. Most recently she coauthored, with Linda Kucan, Comprehension Instruction Through Text-Based Discussion (International Reading Association, 2013).

    Anna Maria Arias, a doctoral candidate at the University of Michigan, focuses on ways to support teachers who are learning to teach elementary science. Her work includes analyzing the possibilities of curriculum materials to facilitate teachers’ abilities to engage students in learning science content integrated with science practice (e.g., investigations and observations). Prior to her studies at the University of Michigan, Arias taught middle school science in Atlanta and Oklahoma City.

    Amber Schultz Bismack is a research assistant and program manager at Pennsylvania State University. Her research interests focus on ways of supporting teachers’ science instruction. As a former middle school science teacher, Bismack seeks to expand her understanding of the various ways teachers need and use supports in their science instruction, including the use of curriculum materials and education experiences to support in-service and preservice teachers in learning to teach elementary science.

    Loren M. Marulis is a doctoral candidate in the Combined Program in Education and Psychology at the University of Michigan. Her research interests center on the malleability of early cognitive development and learning and the subsequent impact on academic trajectories. She also studies the implications for and application to educational policy with the ultimate goal of examining which types of learning experiences, instruction, and training provide the most improvement in learning and integrating this into early educational curriculum policy. Marulis was a visiting scholar at the University of Cambridge in 2012–2013. She earned master’s degrees in developmental psychology from the University of Michigan, in cognitive psychology from Northwestern University, and in curriculum and instruction from Michigan State University. Before her graduate work, she was an elementary school teacher, learning specialist, and preschool teacher for nine years. Marulis’s work has been published in journals such as Review of Educational Research and Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness.

    Stefanie K. Iwashyna is a doctoral student at the University of Michigan’s School of Education. Her research focuses on practice-based teacher education and performance assessments for teaching, particularly in the context of urban schools. Her work with Elizabeth Davis and Annemarie Sullivan Palincsar centers on the use of educative curriculum materials to support ambitious science teaching. Iwashyna teaches in the University of Michigan’s elementary teacher education program and is a research assistant for TeachingWorks, a national organization dedicated to improving teacher education in the United States. Prior to her graduate studies, she taught first grade and pre-K in the Chicago Public Schools.
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    Spring 2014 Issue

    Abstracts

    What Are We Seeking to Sustain Through Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy?
    A Loving Critique Forward
    DJANGO PARIS and H. SAMY ALIM
    “A Slow Revolution”
    Toward a Theory of Intellectual Playfulness in High School Classrooms
    SARAH M. FINE
    Designing Educative Curriculum Materials
    A Theoretically and Empirically Driven Process
    ELIZABETH A. DAVIS, ANNEMARIE SULLIVAN PALINCSAR, ANNA MARIA ARIAS, AMBER SCHULTZ BISMACK, LOREN M. MARULIS, STEFANIE K. IWASHYNA
    Parental Authority over Education and the Right to Invite
    BRYAN R. WARNICK
    Symposium: Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy
    Culturally Relevant Pedagogy 2.0
    a.k.a. the Remix
    GLORIA LADSON-BILLINGS
    Critical Culturally Sustaining/Revitalizing Pedagogy and Indigenous Education Sovereignty
    TERESA L. McCARTY and TIFFANY S. LEE

    Book Notes

    Schooling Hip-hop
    Edited by Marc Lamont Hill and Emery Petchauer; foreword by Jeff Chang

    Charter Schools and the Corporate Makeover of Public Education
    By Michael Fabricant & Michelle Fine

    Global Education Policy and International Development
    Edited by Antoni Verger, Mario Novelli, and Hülya Kosar Altinyelken