The curriculum at the MacDuffie School is one that is heavily crafted from the American Style of teaching.
Western teachers, particularly those from America who have taught in America, have helped to shape our curriculum.
The base of our curriculum is the Common Core Curriculum Standards created in America in conjunction with European education standards.
Our teachers have improved on a few of the weaknesses of the Common Core program, mainly within the sciences and mathematics departments.
We teach and support students from grades 6 to 12, and our curriculum is modeled into a continuum, so students with us year-by-year are building on the previous year's concepts to fit the new problems and new information.
Our program includes English as a Foreign Language (EFL), Chinese, Physical Education (PE), Health, English Literature, Mathematics, Sciences, and Humanities, as well as a range of Performance Arts subjects.
merican curriculum Features
American curriculum, and western curriculum altogether, tends to focus on problem solving and creative solutions instead of blanket memorization. Learning is done through the repitition of practice problems and the connections of surrounding information into webs (Sibley, et alia. 2014). This type of learning is supported by most modern psychological learning models (Border, et alia. 2018). Crafting arguments, supporting those arguments with details, and presenting those arguments in a convincing method also helps learning (Caspersz & Stasinska. 2015) and is an integral part of our education experience. Learning must also incorporate repitition by various approaches - listening, reading, speaking, and writing .
Our program brings these into the classroom practice, focusing on what the students are truly lacking, typically speaking and writing. In addition, our program offers a cross-discipline hollistic approach to learning, bridging as many facets of learning and information as is still feasible for a healthy education.
MacDuffie's course settings
English Literature and Humanities subjects
As previously mentioned, the English Literature and Humanities subjects needed little improvement on the Common Core base. English Literature presents students with the opportunities to explore the types of western literature, in addition to styles of writing, grammar, syntax, and complex structures of the English language. The literature used, whether prose or poetry, focus the students onto the styles or topic being studied and allow for a counterpoint against each other. This is the same method for teaching English Literature as used in America. The Humanities similarly study history, psychology, geography/geology, and sociology through the lens of the articles, writings, and materials
PE and Health
PE and Health are modeled after the western approach to health, tempered with Chinese views and customs concerning the body and the mind. PE is mostly attuned to physical health, while Health is a combination of physical health, mental health, and emotional health to promote well-being. PE uses sports, physical exercise, games, and competitions to get the students moving and working with each other. Health teaches cooperation, mediation, conflict resolution, stress relief systems, and other mental and emotional areas while exploring the ways in which the human body works.
Mathematics is one of the first subjects in which our base of Common Core needs to be expanded. In Common Core mathematics, it is argued that the path to the answer is more important than the answer itself. While this logic serves well with Literature and Humanities, it is a far cry from being true in mathematics. Many times, the purpose of mathematics is the answer of whatever type of problem we may be using at the time. The paths, or formulae, are only as important as the answer given to us is correct. In the respect, we have changed the Common Core mathematics standards a bit to include the importance of finding the answer. It is agreed that a solid understanding of how an answer is achieved is good, but the answer is also important. In accordance with the western teaching models, the mathematics courses are offered more by ability than by grade, giving the students the option to complete the mathematics that best serves their abilities, instead of lumping students together with various levels of abilities into one course.
The Sciences are similarly structured to mathematics in that the correct answer is also stressed. The other way we expound upon the Common Core base in the sciences is by focusing on hands-on learning. We offer laboratory experiments, classroom demonstrations, and activities that facilitate the understanding of difficult scientific concepts. The material learned in mathematics courses is given more depth as students apply their knowledge of mathematics to their science courses. Also, beginning as early as grade 7, students are encouraged to write academic reports and, eventually, academic essays and papers. This helps expand and apply the scientific language they gain in the classroom, as well as prepare the students for the types and levels of writing they can expect in an American, or western, university. It is also important for students to not be overwhlemed by scientific jargon. To this end, the science courses apply scientific terms to colloquial language to bridge the understanding and use of these terms (Saecker. 2018).
EFL we have recently completely re-invented. We now offer a four-tier program for all underclassmen, ranging from beginning EFL to Upper Intermediate based on each student's English capability. The lowest level removes students from the highly technical language-use courses, such as English Literature and Humanities courses, and instead gives them EFL-driven substitutes for these courses. The highest level gives the students options to do Honors classes, which can then be used to take academic achievement and placement exams. The seniors focus on academic writing, preparing for their university essays and then for the types and amounts of writing expected of them during university.
Performance Arts courses
Our Performance Arts courses include drama, art, and music; we allow the students to pick the performance art that best fits their interests. These curricula are based on Harvard, Oxford, and Juliard curricula that have been modeled to fit all academic and performance levels. The arts courses teach the students the concepts of drawing, painting, designing, and perception. The drama courses teach students the concepts of performance, expression, stagecraft, and dramatic effects. The music courses teach musical concepts related to music writing, conducting, singing and instrumental performance, and scientific connections to music. The performance arts courses help build character and further the students' interests.
Our curriculum is wide and as all-encompassing as is possible. It is based on the American Common Core Curriculum with adjustments for second language students and fixes for the problems in the mathematics and sciences. We also strive to offer the best education possible. We do that by continuing to adjust our curriculum and continually training our teachers and staff in new techniques and new information as becomes available. In mathematics and the sciences, this is achieved through current academic papers. In literature and the humanities, this is achieved by bridging current work and materials with classic work and materials. We hope to continue to offer an exemplary education well into our future.