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Curriculum Planning Homework

February 2, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments

1. Chart and discuss the organizational pattern for curriculum development in your school and district.  Were there any surprises?  Suggestions you would make?

There are many levels of curriculum planning. One model is the stairs where classroom is at the bottom, then in order, individual school, school district, state, region, nation, and world. The analogy is a good one except it visually makes it look like the classroom is at the bottom of the stairs, but it is the most important and initial step. I am at an IB School which means that our Transdisciplinary Themes start with a global audience in mind. The themes include: “Who We Are”, “Where We Are in Space and Time”, “How We Express Ourselves”,  “How the World Works”, “How We Organize Ourselves”, and “Sharing the Planet”. From the Transdisciplinary Themes we create six “Units of Inquiry” for each grade level. Since I am the IB Coordinator, I work with the grade level teams when changes in our Program of Inquiry are needed. I have always been in districts where teachers have a major role curriculum planning, so it surprised me to hear of others where they aren’t in control of it. I have also been at a school where teachers had no curriculum and could teach whatever they wanted. This was not good because they did not have any support from administration. I would encourage all states to make sure that teachers continue to be leading the curriculum planning for schools.

2.  Thinking over your experiences with principals in your work (or as a previous student if new to the field), what evidence is there that they are  (or are not) instructional leaders?  What role do you feel principals should have in terms of instruction?

Right now, I have an amazing Assistant Principal who I see as a great instructional leader. In December, she went into a fifth grade classroom to teach a lesson for the teacher. She did this so the teacher could learn the experience. The fifth grade teacher and students loved it. I have had other principals who are not afraid to jump back into the classroom to substitute for their teachers. I believe these kind of administrators like to keep their foot in the teaching arena and it helps them be better administrators.

3.  What role, if any, do you feel students should serve in terms of curriculum councils or boards?  Why?

The IB philosophy is very inquiry driven. For an elementary teachers, this is sometimes hard to accomplish, but it is a great practice to use. If you can guide the curriculum, but not control it, your students interests and passions will allow them to make more connections to the curriculum and learn more. It is time we stop treating first graders like they are dumb. For older students, getting their opinion on curriculum is very important. They are the reason we all exist. I am on a District Technology Accountability Committee and most of the members are students and it is very enlightening to what they think about technology. Some students on the committee are against a lot of use of it until the ACT, SAT, AP and IB exams go electronic. Their points are very valid and are heard by our administrators.

Other Observations:  Douglas McGregor’s theory of X and Y. Theory X people dislike work and try to avoid it. They lack ambition, avoid responsibility, and must be directed. Theory Y people welcomes work, seeks responsibility, and is creative with their problem solving. It is almost the YES man or NO man syndrome.

Group process is very important when working on the curriculum, which includes: The Change Process, Interpersonal Relations, Leadership Skills, and Communication Skills.  The Common Barriers To Change Table on page 83 of the textbook is shown below.

photo (4)Being a great leader for anything takes a lot of work, see my other posts on leadership.


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