Feng, Y. (2006) Listening to the voices of pupils: an alternative route to a balanced curriculum for junior middle schools in China. Paper presented to: Asia Pacific Educational Research Association (APERA) Conference, Hong Kong Institute of Education, Hong Kong, 28-30 November 2006.
The development and understanding of curriculum are much influenced by learners’ cognitive and intellectual development. Since breadth, balance, relevance and differentiation are the four main factors to consider in the process of planning, implementing and assessing curriculum, this essay aims to provide the educators with a critical overview of the curriculum for junior middle schools in China with a focus on the issue of balance. In so doing, the author emphasizes with the support of a range of literature in the UK context the importance of voices of pupils (Garner & Sandow, 1995, Shevlin & Rose, 2003) in their intellectual development and academic attainment in regards of curriculum (Byers and Rose 2004, Darling, 1994, Sebba et al 1995). Meanwhile, the author listens to the perspectives of pupils with special educational needs as consumers on the current curriculum in their schools which show a strong desire for a balanced curriculum (Farrell, 1997; Rayner, 1998; McLaughlin & Tilstone, 2000). The author tends to argue by analyzing the sample curricular in two key junior middle schools of two cities in a province in China that there still exists a lack of balance in the curriculum in terms of the time allocation for the core and peripheral subjects and the balance within individual subjects in teaching and learning. The author thus suggests the decision makers of the curriculum and those who are involved in the implementing of the curriculum listen and respond to the voices as an alternative route to identify the causes for the failure of meeting the expectations of the curriculum by those pupils with special needs and develop a much appropriate balance in curriculum for them.
Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
curriculum, voices, balance, special educational needs