Academic journal article Journal of Geoscience Education

Taiwanese Earth Science Curriculum Guidelines and Their Relationships to the Earth Systems Education of the United States

Academic journal article Journal of Geoscience Education

Taiwanese Earth Science Curriculum Guidelines and Their Relationships to the Earth Systems Education of the United States

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this paper is four fold as follows: (1) to sketch the Taiwanese educational system and Earth science education; (2) to introduce the mandatory Earth science components of SaLTS (Science and Life Technology curriculum Standards) for grade nine and the requisite components of TESCG (Tentative Earth Science Curriculum Guidelines) at the tenth-grade level in Taiwan; (3) to make a critical analysis comparing SaLTS (as well as TESCG) and the Earth Systems Education (ESE) of the Untied States; and finally (4) to provide a framework of school Earth-science curriculum content in the global context from the perspectives of Taiwan.

INTRODUCTION

In the past decade, curriculum reform has received increasing attention from educators in many countries around the world. Taiwan is at present on the same path, as educators work toward the goal of educational reform at the primary and secondary levels. This effort has led to the development of new curriculum guidelines for grades one to nine (Ministry of Education, 1998). The guidelines recognize seven major fields of study at the elementary and secondary levels urging integration among the fields of study. Since then a range of science experts, educators, and teachers have developed the Science and Life Technology curriculum Standards (SaLTS) (Ministry of Education, 2001) for the study of Science and Life Technology. The standards attempt to integrate the traditional subjects of biology, chemistry, Earth science, physics, and life technology into one major field of study with the goals of reducing the amount of science content for students to learn and promoting connections between science and students' daily lives.

Following the same rationale of curriculum reform, the tentative curriculum guidelines (Ministry of Education, 2004) for grades ten to twelve were also developed over three years by a group of educators summoned by the Ministry of Education of Taiwan. Recently, basing upon the aforementioned guidelines, a number of Earth scientists, Earth science educators including Chang (the senior author), and Earth science teachers completed the Tentative Earth Science Curriculum Guidelines (TESCG) for grades ten through twelve in October, 2004. Both of the Earth-science components of SaLTS (mainly at the ninth-grade level) and TESCG (mainly at the tenth-grade level) feature a systematic way for developing students' understanding, investigating skills, and appreciation of our planet Earth. The objectives of the present paper are to describe the Taiwanese educational system and Earth science education with mandatory requirement in Science and Life Technology studies and the tentative Earth science curriculum guidelines, make a critical analysis comparing SaLTS and TESCG of Taiwan and the Earth Systems Education (ESE) of the Untied States, and finally try to provide a syllabus of school Earth science curriculum in a global context from the perspectives of Taiwan.

TAIWANESE EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM AND EARTH SYSTEM SCIENCE EDUCATION

It is necessary to elaborate upon the educational system and Earth science education origins of Taiwan before discussing the major components of SaLTS and TESCG for the compulsory grades nine and ten. There are five levels in the contemporary educational structure in Taiwan: Kindergarten (K), Elementary School (1-6), Junior High School (7-9), Senior High School (10-12), and College or University.

After junior high school, students who wish to attend college in the future must take the Basic Competency TEST (twice a year, effective 2001) to enroll in a senior high school. Then, senior high school students, who wish to continue their studies at the tertiary level, must take another annual national competitive entrance examination, Entrance Examination for Colleges (effective 1994). Entrance Examination for Colleges basically comprises two different tests: one is the fundamental and required subject test called Scholastic Achievement Test and the other is the advanced and optional subject test named Departmental Required Test. …

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