The focus of #edchat last night was on an overloaded curriculum. Mainly, how should curricula could be modified so there is more emphasis on actual learning and less on just memorization and "teaching to the test."
There were some very interesting things said. You can catch the archive here and a few of the summarizing thoughts here.
My fear going into this discussion was that it would be less about curriculum and more about high-stakes testing. There was some talk of this, really the conversation centered around what would the ideal curriculum look like.
Here are a few of my thoughts...
Several people talked about National Standards or a National Curriculum. That is very, very murky water. Do we really want to give all that control to some government agency what our kids are learning. How is Race To The Top or No Child Left Behind working out for you? Keep that in mind when we start talking about nationalizing our curriculum and our students. If anything we need much less government intrusion and more teacher input when talking about what our kids need to learn. Even curricula that are developed by national organizations with an educational focus should be examined thoroughly before adopted. Again, what the organization feels all kids need to learn might not be what is best for your kids.
Most states have "opinions," "mandates," "requirements," whatever you want to call them of what each kid will learn in whatever subject and/or grade level. Fine. It is what it is. We have to make sure our kids all leave school with the same basic foundations. But lets get real. I want to believe that if we eliminated all mandated curricula for all students tomorrow that some how every kid would still be successful and would still learn what they needed to be successful. Call it a character flaw or whatever, but I believe educators, regardless of what they are told to teach, will continue to teach kids to the best of their ability and will still be supported by administrators who want to see their kids and teachers be successful.
But that's just me.
Look, the truth is most curricula are misaligned and make no sense. That is when it takes the skills of a caring educator to look over their students and see what needs more attention and what needs to be left out. The writers of curricula don't know what is best for your kids. You do. So sometimes you have to go into your classroom and realize what the state or district or whom ever wants you teach just ain't going to work.
So head out there and use these curricula as a guide but not the end all be all of your classroom. If you care about what your kids are doing, you are doing formative assessments and monitoring progress you will be just fine.
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