William Shakespeare once said, “to be, or not to be, that is the question. ”Talking with boredom about his life and his purpose. IntegratED says, “to script, or not to script, that is OUR question.” Just let that question soak in a bit… Do you follow the script to the “T”? Are you tired of the same old curriculum and the same outcome year in and year out? Well climb aboard, it’s time to take chances, make mistakes, and get IntegratED!
Curriculum– What is it? When we think of curriculum we think of guided learning. When we think of guided learning we think of forming attainable goals with students, finding engaging resources and content to support students, and taking the appropriate steps to make learning engaging and fun. A curriculum can be powerful! Success in a curriculum comes from knowledge, skills, and a passionate attitude driven by the teacher.
Sometimes when we hear “curriculum” we get a sour taste in our mouths. We immediately think of basal readers and other resources that take all creativity out of the art of teaching. “Day 1, complete page 145. Day 2, complete page… Blah, blah, blah! Do you see what we’re getting at? We as teachers should have a curriculum to follow and standards/goals for students to fully achieve. However, as teachers, we have to pull in other resources and differentiate to fully reach ALL of our students' needs.
This brings us to my next point– Fidelity… Is it bad? In education, the word fidelity gets thrown around a lot. Fidelity in our eyes takes away creativity in the classroom. It abolishes critical thinking skills and oftentimes creates lackluster teachers that have completely lost their passion for teaching. Following the script with fidelity might be an easy way out, however, teaching with fidelity is NOT what is best for kids!
Don’t let the curriculum box you in! What does this mean? Bluntly, this means, don’t be a rule follower if you know what is best for kids. As a teacher, this is your craft! Follow your heart, and drop the script, because your students deserve more! Our instruction should drive growth and student effectiveness, NOT a curriculum.
"Your curriculum is only as good as the person using it"
I know you’re probably thinking, “How do we still use our district-mandated curriculum and reach all our children?” Easy peasy, lemon squeezy, it's called “content-driven instruction!” Creating purposeful lessons collaboratively that reach all of our students as a whole. You must first form a strong relationship with each student in your class. You have to differentiate and bring topics in from the real world to make your students passionate about what they’re learning. Lastly, you need to be able to REFLECT on your teaching. Reflection is a hard thing to do. It sometimes humbles us, but if the kids truly come first in your heart, there is always something you can change, or modify to inspire every student in your classroom.
We’re not telling you the curriculum is bad. We’re not saying to put all the curriculum away. All we’re saying is that you need to modify, change, and inspire! It's time to take ownership of your classroom before your curriculum becomes the owner of you.
Check out our vodcast "To Script or Not To Script" for more on this topic.
Megan and Kara are educational leaders, professional development experts, and current classroom teachers who are improving the way instruction is being delivered in the standard classroom.