ECS 210- Curriculum Theory and Practice

The four models include,

  • Curriculum as a body of knowledge to be transmitted
  • Curriculum as an attempt to achieve certain ends in students – Product
  • Curriculum as process
  • Curriculum as praxis

Each of these models have positives, but where there are positives, there are also negatives. For example, the curriculum as a body of knowledge to be transmitted model is very structured and organized but, some students do not like structure and may struggle to learn the material at the required pace. This could also be relevant to the curriculum as an attempt to achieve certain ends in students model because teachers are working to create the perfect student without really taking into consideration that all students learn differently. The curriculum as a process model is aimed more towards the students that learn by doing and is used in classes that are interactive like physical education. In this model there is more interaction between students and teachers but this model could also be seen as “slack” and students may not be getting the required work done. The same goes for the curriculum as praxis model, this model is a development of the process model and it gives students the chance to focus on themselves and to think critically.

In my own schooling, all of these models were present it just depended on the teacher and the class. Classes like math and science followed more of a Curriculum as a body of knowledge to be transmitted approach. This is because we were given a syllabus and we followed it front to back, The only thing that mattered was that we were doing the work and getting it done. In these classes, I guess you could say that the product method was also present, everything had to be done a certain way and if you like routine, that is fine, but more people like me that cannot learn by just sitting and listening, it is kind of difficult. In other classes like English, history, and phys. ed, my teachers were very interactive; they listened to the students opinions and we did more than just sit and follow a syllabus. So the praxis method was present in those classes.


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Models of Curriculum Response

Reading response:Respond on your blog to the following writing prompt: What are the four models of curriculum described in the article, and what are the main benefits and/or drawbacks of each? What model(s) of curriculum were prominent in your own schooling experience? What did these models make possible/impossible in the classroom? Be sure to refer to the assigned article in your post.


The four models of curriculum described in the article are “curriculum as a body of knowledge to be transmitted, curriculum as an attempt to achieve certain ends in students- product, curriculum as process, and curriculum as praxis” (p. 2).

The heading in the article on the first model of curriculum is called “Curriculum as a syllabus to be transmitted” (p. 2). This model has a few drawbacks, one being the fact that some teachers use the terms syllabus and curriculum interchangeably. This is an issue because when a professional does this they are “likely to limit their planning to a consideration for the content or the body of knowledge that they wish to transmit” (pg 3). If an educator limits their lessons to just the outline of an outcome or if they’re trying to plan too closely or directly off the syllabus than they most likely won’t be able to effectively teach their lesson.

The second model of curriculum described in the article is called curriculum as product. This model is aiming to set objectives, make up a plan, the plan is applied, and then the products/ outcomes are measured (p. 3). One of the major drawbacks to this approach is that this model is mostly based off of an industrial and technological background rather than being based off of educational exchanges (p. 5). The industrial/ technological background that this model has was ideal for that industrial environment but in a school setting the results aren’t as effective.

The third model of curriculum is curriculum as process. In this model, curriculum is understood as what occurs in the classroom, like how teachers and students interact with one another and the knowledge that is present in this interaction (p. 5). Teachers come into a classroom with a thorough understanding of the content of the lesson, they guide their students in a way of learning which will create interactions and discussion in the class, students will generate ideas and think around the content, and teachers will be able to look at the outcomes of the process. In this model, it is more focused on interactions which is good because the focus shifts from teaching to learning (p. 8).

The fourth model of curriculum is curriculum as praxis. In this approach, “curriculum is not simply a set of plans to be implemented, but rather is constituted through an active process in which planning, acting and evaluating are all reciprocally related and integrated into the process (p. 10).


In my own school experience, there was the curriculum as product and the curriculum as process models present. I remember teachers I had that would use the curriculum as product model. They would have a structured lesson or set of lessons that the class would go through and then we would just be tested. There wasn’t really any self-learning. The teacher would set out everything we needed to know.

Another model of curriculum that was present in my schooling experience was the curriculum as process. My ELA teacher throughout high school was really good at putting this model into use during most of his lessons. He would introduce a topic by making connections to previous concepts we already knew or to common experiences that most of the class had been exposed to. He would teach us different themes (for example in a book or a short story) without directly giving it away. He would lead us to a point where we would discover themes out on our own which makes the lesson more meaningful and more memorable.



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Curriculum Theory and Practice

In Mark Smith’s article “Curriculum Theory and Practice” he describes four different models of curriculum. The four models are curriculum as a body of knowledge to be transmitted, curriculum as an attempt to achieve certain ends in students – product, curriculum as process and curriculum as praxis. Each model has their own benifits and setbacks.

Body of Knowledge to be transmitted. Benefits: Most effective way, limited planning for teachers. Drawbacks: Traditional way of learning and teaching, exams, follows a textbook, doesn’t let students be creative and try new ways to learn, and also adds stress for educators of sticking to a schedule and staying on track 

Curriculum as an attempt to achieve certain ends in students – product. Benefits: planned/organized, applied, measured and goal based. Shows abilties, attitudes, and habits of knowledge. It ensures that knowledge is tested and that the objectives of the course are met by the students. Drawbacks: Unanticipated results because the students are tested the same even if they have problems or are behind.

Curriculum as a process. Benefits: Teachers encourage students, more creative possiblities during the learning processes collaboration and interaction and allows students to be tested more on behaviour and less with traditional tests. Drawbacks: teachers have to do the planning and hard to predict the outcomes

 Curriculum as praxis. Benefits: focus is on understanding not memorizing materials Drawbacks: often can be time consuming and because all students learn at a different pace, modifying the lessons can be difficult and doesn’t focus enough on context of the class

Models that were promident in my schooling career were all of them in a sense. I can recall all models being used throughout my classes in school. The most common model that was used was body of knowledge to be transmitted. Most of my teachers were syllabus focused and they didn’t like going off track during dicussions and only wanted to focus on the key outcomes. I also had teachers that let us students have more of a voice in our assignements and let us choose how we wanted to learn. For example, instead of doing essays or reports a couple teachers encouraged us to choose a creative way to present projects. My friends and I liked to make videos and present our projects in a visual media way. I personally remember those less instructive classes better compared to the straight textbook classes.

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The Problem of Common Sense

The Problem of Common Sense

1. How does Kumashiro define ‘commonsense?’ Why is it so important to pay attention to the ‘commonsense’?
Common sense tells us that experiencing such things is what it means to be in school. Were we to learn that there are other ways to structure schooling, or that prevailing views of schooling are actually quite oppressive, we might end up feeling quite disoriented or uncertain or even guilty. It is not hard to imagine feeling quite uncomfortable when learning how everyday social processes define only certain people as normal, or how everyday schooling processes track only certain students toward academic suc cess, including ourselves.
Common sense does not often tell us that the status quo is quite oppressive. It does not often tell us that schools are already contributing to oppression. And it rarely tells us that schools need to place a priority on challenging oppression. Instead, common sense often makes it easy to continue teaching and learning in ways that allow the oppressions already in play to continue to play out unchallenged in our schools and society. The insistence that we use our common sense” is really an insistence that we view things as some in society have traditionally viewed things and want to continue viewing things.
We tend to see things how others interpret commonsense which can be an issue because we are going with the norm rather than challenging ourselves to look at the bigger picture. We need to challenge our minds as teachers but also challenge our students. Seeing things from somebody else’s lens can be challenging because there mind is already made up and you are just going with what they think commonsense is.

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The Theory And Practice of Curriculum

The 4 models of curriculum discussed in the article “Curriculum Theory and Practice” (smith, 2000) are; curriculum as syllabus to be transmitted, curriculum as product, curriculum as process, and curriculum as praxis. these theories all focus on different plans to obtain leaning outcomes in a classroom. theory of syllabus focuses on the teacher making a written plan that all students can follow. theory of product focuses on government being the writer of curriculum and the teacher being the worker who teaches it. theory of process looks at the individual and follows interactions rather than pure syllabus work. and theory of praxis looks to scaffold from process to focus on the group and emancipation.

 A syllabus is a written document in which the layout of a class schedule and lesson plan is given. This means that every day there are topics to cover in class and the amount of time needed for those topics should equate to the amount of time the class has. this is what curriculum as syllabus to be transmitted solely focuses on. this method creates a clear and concise overview of the topics of a day and due dates of assignments. however, curriculum that focuses solely on the syllabus does not accommodate when a student falls behind or misses a topic covered in class. this theory also does not benefit the students when a reading is more important than another as all that is given is a to do list, where one reading could be a focus of the class, but students don’t give it the extra attention when studying because they do not see the reading as more important. 

The second theory covered in the article was curriculum as product. This theory gained popularity in the 1970s is commonly seen today in some part as government does mandate a curriculum for teachers to follow. The objective of this theory is that managing curriculum is done by government and then that curriculum is given too the teachers to educate the students. this approach of education is easy to govern and easy to view in a quantity or productivity level. however this theory restricts teachers in what they could teach within a given subject, and require them to follow the curriculum set out for them. this theory also isolates students who can’t keep up with the pace of the classroom because of any reasons, as the teacher may not be equipped with methods to assist those students.

The third theory covered is curriculum as process. This theory stops focusing on the curriculum and syllabus, as rather looks at interaction between the teacher and the student. This theory allows for the encouragement of conversation between and with students in the class, as well as promoting the use of thought and action on an individual level. This theory also requires teachers to be better equipped and prepared to educate in this fashion, meaning that the education received is from a person who has studied education for a longer period of time and who can teach more efficiently with the unexpected events or questions. This theory prevents teachers from being lazy in a sense. Curriculum as process does not however cater to group work, and focuses more on individuals to create informed action but not necessarily committed action.

Curriculum as praxis is the fourth theory, and it aims to solve the problem of process based curriculum. And as such praxis curriculum looks very similar to process curriculum. Praxis is the use of informed and committed action. This theory like the process theory requires teachers to have a higher understanding of education and be able to answer unexpected questions, but instead of focusing on the individual, this theory focuses on the groups and the well-being of humanity. This theory creates it’s curriculum based on the events of the class, rather than a pre-planned list for the entire semester. 

In my schooling all four of these theories have been used. But I will focus on a few of my classes in high school; Drafting and Band/Choir and computer science, English and history, math. Drafting, Band, Choir, and Computer Science all focused mostly on curriculum as Process and Praxis. The objectives of each of these classes were very simply to gain an understanding of the programs or music used. In drafting and computer science class was completely individualized. There was a due date for assignments and each student had to hand in their assignment, however students assisted each other in the class if someone was not understanding the program or how to do something. This method allowed for a greater understanding to be reached on the programs the students were using and this also freed up our teacher to handle the difficult questions or other events happening in class. This theory on class did not always allow for free flowing education, as some students could not handle the freedom gained and eventually the teacher would spend a majority of the class dealing with these students rather than aiding the education of those who were struggling. English and history classes were different in that they used a syllabus and praxis theories. This meant there was a set standard and objective of the class, but those objectives were subject to change. This resulted in a class that provided a great understanding of the topics covered in class, and allowed for those who struggled at a topic to spend more time to learn. This method did lead to some struggle and difficulty with maintaining attention or focus, but the majority of the class was productive. Finally Math. my experience with math class is from the perspective of someone who struggles with large or more complex mathematics. I have not been diagnosed with any learning disability, however I do struggle when learning geometric and calculus style mathematics. I believe this to be largely in part because of how mathematics has been taught to me. My math teacher used the theory of syllabus to be transmitted. The class was split into weeks of calculations to learn. And there was not an attempt to assist students who fell behind, which was very easy when band and choir classes took me to competitions and performances during the school week. In total my experiences in school show me that classes that use a praxis theory allowed for the best opportunities for learning in the classrooms.


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Curriculum Theory and Practice

There are four models of curriculum mentioned in Smith’s work, these four models are; curriculum as a body of knowledge to be transmitted, curriculum as an attempt to achieve certain ends in students – product, curriculum as a process, and curriculum as praxis. Curriculum as a syllabus to be transmitted is often a syllabus highlighting the major tests. While not always bad it’s not always positive as syllabus often leave out key learning outcomes and expected learning dates. Transmission of knowledge can look many different ways however as educators it’s our job to deliver in the most efficient and effective way, while keeping in mind it’s going to look different for each and every class as no two students are the same. Curriculum as a product is all about how you prep, approach and teach for an outcome. While this can benefit some by giving a clear cut structure to class, it can hinder others as the route and predetermined end goals are the same for each student leaving little to no room for variation. As previously said no two students are the same so why do we assume the whole class can take the same approach to a lesson. Curriculum as a process demonstrates how everything within the classroom is an ongoing active process. Within the classroom teachers need to be adaptable, everyday presents new challenges and it is impossible to completely predict how the day will go. This relies on a strong teacher to be able to think on the fly, make critical decisions and know when to stay on track and when it’s necessary to venture off and do a little extra. Finally Curriculum as praxis is a development of the process and involves flexibility and the ability to implement theories while placing an emphasis on judgement and mean making. 

While reflecting on my education I can begin to see how my teachers attempted to use these models. I can see structure and curriculum as a product in many classes that followed the book and approached each lesson the same, but I can also see times in which my teachers had to adapt due to the weather or certain absences making sure to still utilize the time despite only having as low as 5 people in class, this allowed for more one on one time and extra help for those in need. Syllabuses have often looked the same however as ive gotten older they begin to get more detailed including a rough timeline of each class better preparing me for each topic, assignment and test. All of these experiences will help me prepare for the teaching world and help me learn from previous teachers mistake or utilize some of the brilliant ideas I have witnessed in my past.

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Curriculum Theory and Practice

The first model of curriculum is: “Curriculum as a body of knowledge to be transmitted”, this model revolves around the idea of having a syllabus or plan for the class in which the teacher is in charge of executing. Generally, teachers enjoy the organizational aspects of using a syllabus, everything is planned as to what they will teacher their students. However, it is often unclear to the students why they must learn the topics set out before them, as well as when these specific lessons will take place. This model’s main goal is simply to “deliver” information to students, rather than deepening their understanding of the topic. When creating a syllabus teacher often rely too much on the curriculum alone to ensure they teach all the content they are supposed to. Therefore, they textbook readings or other recommended learning resources, but rarely venture out of the curriculum to find other learning devices to help their students truly understand they concepts they are teaching. In high school I had a teacher who used this type of teaching in his classroom. While he ensured that we reached the outcomes set out by the curriculum, he did not create a very engaging classroom where students were excited to come and learn. While reading from the textbooks or copying notes I learned about the concepts well enough to do well on assignments and exams, but as the information was no longer needed, I quickly forgot the content from his classes.


The next model of curriculum is: “Curriculum as an attempt to achieve certain ends in students-product” this model could be thought of as a goal-oriented model, the teachers set goals for students to achieve after lessons and afterwards students are marked on their ability to achieve their learning goals. This model is beneficial because it shows a clear picture of what the desired outcome is and the steps to how to achieve it. However, this model lays out exactly what students must do and when, this gives them little to no voice and opinion in how they decide to learn and could force students to learn in ways that do not work well for them. It is also important that this type or learning is measure to ensure that the outcomes are being reached, this means lots of test and assignments. Many students do not enjoy this form of assessment and do not do well resulting in bad grades even though they understand the content. although I do believe that this type of teaching was used in my school growing up, but I was usually unaffected by it as I did not struggle with adjusting to teachers’ different styles of teaching. However, I can see how this would be frustrating for students who do not learning this way.


The next model, “curriculum as a process” is the idea that curriculum is what actually the actual learning that happens in the classroom because of the relationships formed between teachers and students to prepare for evaluation. Teachers who use model create a specific plan of what each day in the classroom is going to look like. Teachers in this model guide learning and make it fun and memorable, while reaching all the recommended outcomes. They believe that quality learning happens through experience rather than reading and put that belief to the test in their classrooms. The main issue with “curriculum as a process” is that is truly is a process, it is a lot of work for a teacher to plan lessons that dig deeper than the textbooks and more often than not it is much easier to fall back on the basic teaching recourses like books and videos. In my experience most of the time teachers would use this method when they had the opportunity. I believe that these lessons were a million times more meaningful and really put what we were learning into preceptive. Lessons like these are the ones that I still remember to this day because they were fun while still teaching us important ideas.


Finally, “curriculum as praxis” is a continuation of the process model, it portrays that “That is, the curriculum is not simply a set of plans to be implemented, but rather is constituted through an active process in which planning, acting and evaluating are all reciprocally related and integrated into the process” (Grundy 1987: 115). It does not focus on individuals, but rather collective understandings and practices to structural questions. It explores the experiences of many different people including people of different races and backgrounds. This helps students learn as a group and understand more about the world on a personal level. However, I think this could make students who are “different” feel singled out and it may be confusing for students what the overall purpose of the lesson is. In school our teachers taught using a lot of group discussions, but I do not think that it was the same as this model because we did not have anyone in our class who was “different” from the others so we did not experience this level of teaching to the same extent. However, I think this would be a great teaching strategy to use in the classroom because it would help students experience the world how others do.

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Curriculum Theory and Practice response

What are the four models of curriculum described in the article, and what are the main benefits and/or drawbacks of each? What model(s) of curriculum were prominent in your own schooling experience? What did these models make possible/ impossible in the classroom?

The four models of curriculum are:

  1. Curriculum as a body of knowledge to be transmitted
  2. Curriculum as an attempt to achieve certain ends in students- product
  3. Curriculum as a process
  4. Curriculum as praxis

In the first model, curriculum as a body of knowledge to be transmitted, the draw back are that “A syllabus will not generally indicate the relative importance of its topics or the order in which they are to be studied” ( smith, 2000, pg.2) . This means that you can base your syllabus off of what the curriculum states to break it down into easier terms for the students to understand but it does not allow the students to know why they are doing each reading or assignment. The benefit of this model is to be able to break down the terms work into easy wording/ description so the students know exactly what they are supposed to be doing.

In the second model, curriculum as an attempt to achieve certain ends in students- product, there are a few draw backs to this models as the text states. A few of them are: “A plan or programme assumes great importance” (smith, 2000, pg. 4)  “There are questions around the nature of objectives. … it implies that behavior can be objectively, mechanistically measured” (smith, 2000, pg.5). “There is a real problem when we come to examine what educators actually do in the classroom” (smith, 2000, pg.5) . This is saying that there are problems between the ways the teachers try to teach certain things in their classrooms from the curriculum and how they are actually supposed to be teaching it. Benefits of this model are very productive.  It allows objectives to be set up, planned out and applied with measured outcomes.

In the third model, curriculum as a process, the draw backs of it are that “those who want some greater degree of uniformity in what is taught” ( smith, 2000, pg. 8) .  another down fall is that this model relies on the quality of teachers. This sets limitations on what will/ can be taught if the teacher is not a good at relaying the information necessary for the class. It doesn’t rely on the students- it relies on the teachers to give the information needed for the students to succeed. However, if there is a good teacher, the benefits of this model are that the teachers and students can interact over the topic at hand and that the teacher can relay important information to the students properly. The good teachers are educated on the topic properly and show interest themselves.

Lastly in the fourth topic, curriculum as a praxis, this models draw back is that it  “does not make explicit statements about the interests it serves” (smith, 2000, pg. 9).  However, this model is used very often and encourages the teachers and students to be actively interested in the topics. Having a topic that both teacher and students are interested in allows for great discussion and elaboration in the classroom. This allows a chance for all students to participate on class.

Throughout my grade school years I feel that I have experienced both Curriculum as a body of knowledge to be transmitted and Curriculum as a praxis the most. In elementary school it was more of the curriculum as a body of knowledge and that my teachers broke the curriculum up so it was easier for us to know what we were supposed to do. However, we didn’t know why we were doing it. We just did it because the teacher told us to. As I went into about grade 8 is when I really remember starting to actually use curriculum as a praxis.  For the most part I had good teachers who liked to interact and talk about what we were working on and encouraged us to think more and elaborate our ideas off of one another. It is a good method to use when being a teacher because it allows the most class interaction and allows everyone to put their input in and to express hoe they feel about the topic. These models allowed  for class discussion and elaboration of the topics at hand. I feel that a classroom is best to use a combination of these models to allow students to have clarification on what they are learning along with having a teacher who can make the topic interesting and engage the students.

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Curriculum Theory and Practice

In the article Curriculum Theory and Practice, written by M.K. Smith, he suggests there are four models of curriculum. Curriculum as a body of knowledge to be transmitted The first model he labels as “Curriculum as a body of knowledge to be transmitted” (p. 2). This model of curriculum can be equated with a syllabus… Continue reading Curriculum Theory and Practice

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Models of Curriculum

According to the article Curriculum theory and Practice by Mark Smith, there are four ways of approaching curriculum. These four ways are viewing curriculum as knowledge to be transmitted, as an attempt to lead students to a specific result, as a process, and as a praxis.

If the curriculum is considered as a body of knowledge to be transmitted, then it is seen as a syllabus. This model of approaching curriculum is often connected with courses that lead to exams. Teachers transmit knowledge from textbooks connected to the curriculum in the most effective way they can. The downside of looking at curriculum this way is that not every student is able to learn in a way that prepares them for exams. Exams are a way to test a student’s ability to memorize information, not to test what they have learned. This view also is likely to limit their planning to a consideration of the content that they wish to transmit.

Viewing curriculum as an attempt to lead students to a specific result is also known as approaching curriculum as a product. Smith wrote, “Education is most often seen as a technical exercise. Objectives are set, a plan drawn up, then applied, and the outcomes (products) measured.” (Smith, M. K. (1996, 2000) ‘Curriculum theory and practice’ the encyclopaedia of informal education,, pg 3). This view provides outcomes so that the content can be organized to help strengthen the end result. From the outcomes, teachers plan lessons and units in order to teach their students and evaluate their understanding of topics at the end. According to Smith, there are many issues with this approach. The first issue is that the teachers’ plan is very important to students learning and reaching a specific educational goal. The learners are being told what they have to learn and how they have to learn it instead of having the opportunity to learn in the way that best suits them. For example, some students may be visual learners, but the teacher may not accommodate for that, which makes it hard on those students to learn the material. Another problem with this way of thinking is that having a specific goal may hinder the learning experience. Learning is much more than writing notes and studying, it is also exploring topics and ideas in ways that may not be considered standardized in education. Having a specified goal may cause teachers to go through a topic too quick for some students, and then the students will not be getting the learning experiences they need to succeed.

Instead of viewing the curriculum as a product, it can also be viewed as a process. This means that the curriculum is not a physical thing; it is the interactions that take place in a classroom. Teachers look at the curriculum and see it as steps that can be taken to achieve a certain goal. The focus of this model is on the interactions that take place between teacher, student, and knowledge. It also allows students to explore topics by engaging in-depth with topics. The negative side to this approach is that it cannot be directed to an exam without losing the quality of the model. If there is a wide variety of content, it would be hard to follow this model because teachers have to make sure that everything gets studied in the time that they have. Rushing the students learning may affect the information they retain. This model also relies on the quality of teachers. If teachers don’t put in the effort to make this model work, then this model turns into students having to demonstrate skills to show they have completed the process.

The fourth model of curriculum is viewing the curriculum as a praxis. This is a development on the curriculum as a process model. The praxis model does not explicitly state its interests, which means that it will not continually reference the goals of learning. This practice does not focus on individual students learning, but rather pays attention to collective understanding and structural questions. The problem that could arise when using this method is that students learn at different paces and in different ways, which may make it hard for the students that need more exploration on a topic.

Looking back at my school experiences, I have seen each of these models of curriculum, however the most prominent were curriculum as a body of knowledge and curriculum as a process. The model that was used depended on the subject and teacher for the class. For example, in most math classes, teachers use the curriculum as a body of knowledge to be transmitted. We learned from a textbook with the help of teachers, but we were guided towards knowing everything we needed for an exam. This model made it hard for students that need extra help in the subject area, as well as students that struggled with writing exams. In elementary school, many of the subject areas used the model of the curriculum as a process. This allowed for the exploration of topics guided by the teachers. It made it possible for students to explore aspects of topics that interested them. In my experience, this approach could negatively impact some of the students learning. Some students like structured environments where they are told what they need to know, this model stays away from strictly ‘textbook’ teaching. None of these models are perfect, but teachers try their best for the students that they have.

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