Thursday, October 25, 2007

Can we ever get it right?

A great post from a great blogger has prompted me to chime in on the topic of curriculum. Curiosity begs me to ask some questions...

Who is writing our curriculum?
Do they actually care about the outcome?
Are they concerned for our students?

Across the board, I feel the answers are concerning. I feel as though they do not have the best interest of the children in mind. If they aren't thinking of the children, who are they thinking of? I can't answer that question. The theme is one of more is better. The more curriculum that we can possibly fit into one school year = better educated students. Being a product of this system, I feel slighted.

Why can't we get it right? Why are those in power blind to the fact that we teach to educate the student, by the best means possible. By definition, this means we give the student the best possible tool to complete the task. We give the student every opportunity to have rich experiences to reflect upon. The current system sets students up to fail. We don't give students enough time and experience to master anything. There is just enough time to be exposed to the information. We expose students to information and expect them to be masters. We wonder why the majority of students would rather be at home on the computer or watching television than be at school. Of course, they have mastered these tools!


Doug Noon said...

I don't think I'd ever be able to say why, but I might be able to answer the question, "Who is writing our curriculum?" If it happens elsewhere the way it happens here, it's written by a committee of teachers.

We begin by participating in a research course called "Current Trends" for whatever subject area the curriculum is being written. That course might draw a couple dozen participants. The following year there is a curriculum review process in which the existing curriculum is compared with other curriculum documents and whatever findings the Current Trends people came up with. Following that, a few committed teachers participate in a curriculum writing process to produce the new document. After school board approval, there is the process of textbook adoption - and more committee work.

Mostly, it's done by teachers with an interest in the subject area. I've been involved in Language Arts and Math curriculum reviews.

The problem as I see it isn't so much what the curriculum says, but the assumption that each student will make a year's progress in a year's time, during a particular time in their life. It's unrealistic for too many kids.

Like I said, I can't say why we do it, but I think I understand how it's done.

A. Woody DeLauder said...

Thanks for the comment. I think my problem is really with the entire system that is actually built before it comes time to create the curriculum. The approach to the pacing and under exposure to certain concepts is what gets me upset