First Advisor

William Parnell

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Psychology and University Honors




English language -- Study and teaching -- Oregon, Language arts -- Oregon -- Evaluation, Project method in teaching, John Dewey (1859-1952) -- Philosophy




This thesis evaluates a segment of the second grade English language arts and literacy (ELA) curriculum presently utilized in Portland Public Schools (PPS) school district in Portland, Oregon, using five principles for evaluation. These principles address the extent to which lessons are hands-on, engage home life, integrate the academic disciplines, encourage student autonomy, and are relevant to society today. These criteria were established following a review of John Dewey’s ideas and philosophies, and of two practices that model Deweyan principles: Project-Based Learning (PBL) and progettazione in the Municipal Infant/Toddler Centers and Preschools of Reggio-Emilia, Italy. This analysis of the ELA curriculum in place today makes many recommendations to strengthen its alignment with these five principles, but ultimately notes time-constraints and the necessity for desk-work to be its most limiting factors.


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