Sunday, July 29, 2012

Native Differences in Ability and an Integrated Curriculum

The ideal curriculum for the young child would be both open and integrated. An integrated curriculum ties the various fields of learning together, acknowledging the related patterns of brain activity in areas such as music, math, and science.
Music, science, and math go hand in hand. This is a natural combination for children. As we think about the integrated curriculum, it is important to remember all of the educational possibilities of weaving music, science, and mathematics throughout children’s experiences and all parts of the classroom environment (Scholastic Early Childhood Today, 2003). Music and rhythm are a vital part of human culture. The integration of music into the general curriculum encourages students to become actively involved in their learning. For example, the rhythm, meter, measure, and pattern of familiar lyrics can help develop math and science skills while enhancing many other aspects of the curriculum (Rothenberg, 1996).

Music can be a real asset when it comes to teaching math. “Music is filled with patterns and that’s what math is really about. You’re not going to explain the intricacies of notes and scales to a three-year-old, but exposing a child to music now will help him learn these concepts later” (Gill, 1998, p. 40). _Education

Integrating different types of learning which exercise similar brain networks, within the curriculum, can provide complementary pre-verbal cognitive perspectives which may be difficult to achieve otherwise.

But the curriculum must also be open to integrating more and different skills and knowledge areas as windows for critical learning periods open and close. By a certain point in development, it should be clear whether the child possesses special interests or particular ability or skills potential. The curriculum is integrated, but open to special circumstances and motivations.

Different children possess varying innate potential for development in the diverse fields of study and over a wide range of skills and competencies. While it is true that smart practise is crucial for mastery of skills and knowledge, it is also true that starting with a higher innate potential allows for the possibility of a higher level of mastery, with well-directed practise.

In terms of music, for example, we find that males overwhelmingly dominate the list of the 100 greatest classical composers. This is also true for the list of 10 greatest violinists of all time. You will also find a powerful male dominance revealed in the list of the top 50 jazz musicians of all time. The handful of females who make it into the top 50 jazz musicians list, tend to be vocalists.

As far as mathematics is concerned, there has not been a female Fields medal winner. The Fields Medal is given to mathematicians who are considered to advance the field the most.

In science, the Nobel Prize for physics has been awarded almost exclusively to men, with Marie Curie sharing the award in 1903 with Antoine Henri Becquerel and Pierre Curie.

This male - female comparison of historical elite achievement in music, mathematics, and science, is meant only to demonstrate the likelihood of a sex related difference in innate ability at the elite levels, in those areas. The differences of innate strengths in these areas are distributed normally in both the male and the female populations, with the elite tail of the male distribution extending further to the right than the elite tail of the female distribution.

Other than for the elite tails, there is considerable overlap in ability in music, math, and science for males and females. In other words, the way is relatively equally open to mastery in those fields for large numbers of males and females.

For most dangerous children, early training in a broad range of general competencies will lead to adolescents with multiple skills which can be put to use in several ways to both provide income, and to pursue further mastery in special areas which may most interest individual dangerous children.

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