Implementing a new curriculum into your school is an exciting process, one where you observe changes being made to fossilized teaching strategies. Here, your school is finally able to observe how years of teamwork and planning will impact your educators and students.
Out with the old and in with the new!
You want this change to mean a job-well-done, allowing your team of educators and other professionals who created this curriculum to see achievement in their school.
But what happens after you close the book on this new curriculum and everything that you have planned these last two to three years is not turning out as you had hoped.
Rather, instruction becomes monotonous as you observe your colleagues and students lose their engagement in their classes.
Now you are left to wonder, what went wrong?
Curriculum and Instruction ...
... are interdependent ...
Align the Design, a book written by Nancy J. Mooney and Ann T. Mausbach illustrates that ideally, your school's curriculum should work in conjunction with your school's educators and their instruction. The two give your teachers an outline of what your students should be learning and how they should learn it.
... With curriculum being the what and instruction being the how.
When developed correctly, your school's curriculum will serve as the essential foundation for your students' education—providing educators and students with a variety of instructional materials and activities to foster education.
But what went wrong with the curriculum implemented above?
Oftentimes, we rely on our colleagues' knowledge from their experience to serve as the foundation for the curriculum. You know that they are good at their jobs so you expect that they have the expertise to develop the best instructional practices.
However, this is not the case. By not implementing the best, research-based pedagogical strategies, you are setting your students up for failure and making it difficult for your newly developed curriculum to create positive changes that last.
Mooney and Mausabach discuss how, all too often, they see these two outcomes produced by a poorly developed curriculum:
- Educators using research-based strategies on insignificant content
- Educators teaching high academic standards that are not implemented through powerful instructional methods
Outlined in 9 steps, Mooney and Mausabach develop a guided process teachers can use during their planning and developmental phase. Each step includes "Do's" to follow and "Don'ts" to avoid.
Here is a list of their "Do's" and "Don't" condensed in a comprehensive list for you to follow.
Read more about Mooney and Mausabach and their book here: Chapter 1. Developing Curriculum Leadership and Design
If you liked this article, read more about incorporating STEM directive activities into your curriculum here: 3 Problem-Solving Exercises for Your STEM Classroom
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