A curriculum can represent a conscious and systematic selection of knowledge
A curriculum can represent a conscious and systematic selection of knowledge,
skills and values: a selection that shapes the way teaching, learning and assessment
processes are organized by addressing questions such as what, why, when and how
students should learn. Curriculum can include many dimensions of learning,
including rationale, targets of learning, content, methods, resources, time, and
assessment in which it refers to various levels of planning and decision-making in
the learning process. I see curriculum can be a two-fold process, a set plan or
program for learning experiences that is developed. The second, is in which the
means for the plan or program is put into practice.
I believe the purpose of curriculum is to educate a community of learners to
have a quality curriculum that provides all students regardless of ability, ethnicity,
cultural background, gender, socio-economic circumstances or geographical
location, to reach their individual potential as learners, and to develop their
capabilities to their fullest. In order for this to have success, the curriculum
program has to stay current with the times and be able to change and develop based
on the needs of the students described above. I see this accomplished through the
important means of the curriculum being inclusive to assist all students,
differentiated for learning success, and has rigor to challenge and engage all
learning styles to help promote the best effective outcomes.
These effective outcomes have not always been the case for our society. In the
article, “What Makes a Quality Curriculum” Philip Stabback said it best, “In recent
decades, there has been a trend away from curriculum content being just
information and knowledge. This information and knowledge content was found
primarily in textbooks, which meant that the textbook was used just as a syllabus.”
(pg. 19). This basically allows for just rote information to be given and we
expected students to know or memorize the information instead of understanding
it. We have to hold ourselves as teacher and our students to a higher standard that
involves a buy in not only from the professionals of curriculum design but all
stakeholders that are involved.
The curriculum is a cycle that is always changing. This needs to promote new
roles for the teacher. There is a responsibility and accountability that involves not
the teacher and students, but the principal, the curriculum specialist, the district,
and parents. Promoting personalized learning based on competencies, inquiry, and
hands on learning. Long are the days of just the teacher lecturing and doing just
paper and pencil activities. Teachers are urging students to communicate,
collaborate with peers, conference for effective feedback, use critical thinking,
being creative, and problem solve. Teachers become the guide for their students
with developing like a concept map for the students to follow but be empowered to
be more in charge of their learning. We see this best done in my opinion, through
the constructivist –style teaching the curriculum.
I believe students come into the classroom with their own experiences.
The constructivist teaching offers a departure from traditional teaching. This
allows students to drive their curiosity and empower themselves into having the
accountability, and play an active role in their learning. Students lead their own
questioning, carry out their own experiments, and experience peer feedback that
allows them to come to their own conclusion and applying their knowledge.
Students reflect on their learning with peers for constructive feedback. This
approach for learning opens new avenues for learning as well as challenges for the
teacher trying to implement. I believe it’s worth all the effort and its purpose
affects the whole aspect of the student, their school environment, and society.
Curriculum will always reflect particular purposes and values, and serve the
interests of some stakeholders more than they do those of others. Using
a curriculum model that reflects topics that are important to the community is
crucial. Those stakeholders that are policy holders want to see students achieve
but it has to be with communication, collaboration, and implementation where
everyone has a stake into what and how the curriculum is presented. Students need
the opportunity to practice skills in a safe environment. They should also be able
to have choices and let their curiosity direct their learning. We cannot as a
society put our own views, agendas, and selfish wants over the needs of what
would be best for our students and their success.
In closing, a good quality curriculum needs to be supported by school
authorities, teachers, students, principals, parents, and the community at large. It
also needs to be supported by appropriate methods for assessing student
achievement in which it is defined by the curriculum. This will require students to
have a balance of knowledge, skills, and values. Teachers need to be equipped
with the tools and support in order to efficiently be successful with the curriculum.
It definitely takes a village for