Thursday, July 15, 2021

Choosing Curriculum and How to Apply It

 Why do people choose a curriculum?  Most people do not have the time to sit down and plan every single lesson every single day, or have the knowledge to sit down and plan a whole year's course.  They depend on someone, usually a company, to put it all down and in a useable format, which saves the teacher both time and frustration.  A curriculum can provide structure to the learning environment and and some even plan out exactly what you say and when to say it.  This can be beneficial to the one teaching, but not always to the one learning.

You see, each child is an individual.  Each child has a different way of learning.  One curriculum will not satisfy the learning needs of all students.  I see hundreds of questions each year of parents and teachers asking for recommendations for a curriculum for their children and students.  I never say, "Use this one!"  I do not know their kids.  I do not know how they learn best.  My first question to any parent looking to choose a curriculum is, "How does your child learn?"  Does you child learn through tactile sensations, by doing somethings or manipulating objects?  Does your child need whole body movement to facilitate learning?  Are they an auditory learner? Visual?  There are so many ways children can learn and no one curriculum can hit them all.

My oldest is very much an "I must do to know" kind of learner.  She  has to get her hands on it.  She is very much like me.  I can read about how to do something, but I don't really know unless I actually do it.  My second while is a visual learner.  He can see someone do something and then he can repeat it, without me doing anything for him.  The curriculum I used for my oldest does not work for my second the child the same way I used it with her.  I have to modify it for him to be successful.

This is why I believe a curriculum should only serve as a guide to instruction.  It should never be an end all be all of any program.  When I have a curriculum, I use it as a guide to know what to teach and in what order.  I see far too often where teachers and parents say they hate a curriculum because their children struggled with it.  I have see parents who change curriculum 2 or 3 times a year because they "don't work."  What isn't working usually isn't the curriculum, its the fact that the curriculum doesn't matching the learning style of the child it is being used with.

I believe that a curriculum is there to benefit the one teaching.  A curriculum tells the one teaching what to do and teaches them how to teach the material.  This is a very helpful tool for one who has never taught a subject or skill before.  A curriculum cannot tell a student how to learn.  The one teaching must present the material in a way so the one learning can learn it.  Presenting a video, no matter how well done, will never benefit a tactile learner as much as an auditory or visual learner.  It is up to the one teaching to know whom they are teaching and then chose activities, whether explicitly laid out in the curriculum or not, that best help the ones learning to learn to the best of their ability.


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