Sunday, January 16, 2011

Curriculum vs. Instruction

Even the best math curriculum cannot make up for poor instruction. Some teachers simply do not have the commitment others do when it pertains to "required" curriculum. It is frequently apparent in their instruction and delivery of content, and often they have lessons that fall flat...or worse. Unfortunately, these teachers feel they can blame the curriculum, their students (or a combination of the two) for the failure of their lesson(s). However, curriculum is simply the what of teaching, while instruction--which is much more in the control of the teacher--is the how. With regards to any curriculum, teachers are presented with a grade-appropriate plan, a text and some materials, and a time frame in which to impart this knowledge. In terms of instruction, teachers make decisions and plans as to the way in which information is best imparted to the learners.

We, as educators, must provide an active role in the structuring, mapping, and planning of curriculum if we are to be successful in the presentation and instruction of the material.... Curriculum and instruction cannot be viewed in mutual isolation.

  • What are your thoughts and experiences as they pertain to curriculum vs. instruction in your school?
  • How would you define curriculum?
  • Who should be involved in curriculum decisions (students, teachers, parents, administrators, etc.?)


Anonymous said...

I've been driving myself nuts over this. The other teachers totally teach from the text, they do little preparation and rarely write their own tests. I have never done that and never will. We are using a pretty good curriculum but it is still garbage in the hands of a poor teacher.

The thing that I think is really sad though is how nobody ever does anything about it. If I were a principal or curriculum director, I would insist that teachers write their own stuff and ask them to show it to me. Maybe that's crazy, because I'll never be a principal and don't really know how hard their job is.

Creativity and willingness to do their own thing would be a pre-requisite for hiring any teacher.

What do we do with the people who have been around 20-30 years and still can't teach?

Unknown said...

In terms of dealing with the "veteran" teachers, they too need to be held accountable for how they teach; even if tenured. The major ways my (private) school does this is (a) through classroom visits within a department, (b) Department Chairs looking at each teacher's curriculum map, and (c) semi-regular evaluations and class visits by the Headmaster. In addition, we have a Dean of Curriculum who tries to stay on top of major instructional issues....

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