This afternoon, I happened to catch this tweet by Heather Theijsmeijer.Heather is sharing one of the slides from Will Richardson: one of the speakers at today’s #STAO2014 conference. I was supposed to be at #STAO2014 today, but circumstances changed and I wasn’t able to go.
While I agree with so much on Will’s slide, these points about curriculum bother me: “Curriculum should be a strategy. Not orthodoxy.” and “Curriculum is a ‘best guess’ as to what our students need.” I haven’t had a chance to hear Will explain the points on this slide, so I apologize in advance if I misinterpret them, but when I read them, I can’t help but think that curriculum is seen as a choice. Is it one though?
I’m a big believer in the fact that curriculum should play a large role in our classrooms. Yes, we teach students. Their needs and interests may vary from those in the curriculum document. But if we know the curriculum well, we can see the different entry points for our different students. We can see the links between expectations and interests. We can figure out how to make these expectations engaging, so that students will want to learn more.
Curriculum doesn’t need to equate to photocopies of blackline masters, hundreds of questions in textbooks, or the same activity for everyone. Student voice, student choice, and inquiry can all intersect with curriculum expectations. We just need to figure out how … or at least this is what I believe. I’d like to say,
- Curriculum is our starting point. We need to figure out where to go from there.
- Curriculum is not a checklist, but an important guide.
What do you think? What role does curriculum play in your classroom? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic!