ERIC Number: ED408110
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1997-Mar
Enacting the Primary Grade Curriculum: Contradiction, Conflict, and Compromise.
Goldstein, Lisa S.
Although bound by tradition and physical location to elementary schooling, the primary grades are also considered the capstone experience of early childhood education. Primary grade teachers are required to bridge these two disparate worlds, constantly mediating, negotiating, translating, and compromising. This paper describes the experience of one such teacher, discussing how the most complex and draining conflicts she encountered arose not from a clash between the school cultures of early childhood and elementary education, as expected, but from a mismatch between her enacted primary grade curriculum and the expectations and desires of her students' parents. The teacher's educational practices, characterized by learning center-based instruction; an emphasis on developing solutions to open-ended problems; many opportunities for children to be physically active; tolerance for productive noise; the prominent presence of clay, painting easels, blocks, dramatic play areas, and dress-up clothing; and appreciation for the value of free play, were very much in keeping with the alternative Bayview School's stated mission and guidelines for practice. Initially, however, parental response was characterized by such questions as, "When do you send home the real work?" The paper concludes that the families' high socioeconomic status and parents' own experience with schooling contribute to an achievement orientation that makes parents uncomfortable, at least initially, with developmentally appropriate practice. Contains 15 references. (EV)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Chicago, IL, March 24-28, 1997).