How To Teach the Education Curriculum

It is important for teachers to create and convey curriculum to the best of their abilities.  Teachers of each subject in secondary education systems make integral curriculum decisions.  In some subjects, curriculum is more set than in others.   Math and science curriculum is more standardized than the English or social sciences curriculum.  Administration and textbook selection often sets primary curriculum and elementary curriculum, and depending on the flexibility of the administration, teachers are able to make more decisions about curriculum in the classroom context.

A technique that is sometimes used at the beginning of the curriculum process is called curriculum mapping.  A group of teachers or textbook authors sits down together and decides on a topic.  They will use a large sheet of paper and write down an integral concept for student learning.   They will put a circle around the concept.  Then, they will draw a branch and write a subordinate concept.  The process continues until a web, or concept map, of several concepts is created.  (Jacobs)

After linking concepts through curriculum mapping, interested parties can see how the concepts in a given content area are interrelated.   Using these relationships, they can determine the scope and sequence of the curriculum.  The scope is the depth in which a concept will be covered.  The sequence is the order in which concepts will be covered.

Scope and sequence can be determined by a process called backwards planning.  By determining how students should be assessed at the end of a unit, teachers can decide how to teach the rest of the unit effectively.  (Smagorinsky)

Because educational theories, such as Jerome Bruner's 1950 theory of scaffolding show that the brain best learns by linking previously-learned concepts to new concepts, it is important to do a short review of known concepts before proceeding to new concepts.   In basic mathematics, for example, it is important for students to understand that subtraction is the opposite of addition.   Therefore, as the curriculum prescribes the teaching of subtraction, a basic review of addition is in order.

The scope and sequence of the curriculum should be dependent on grade level.  For example, first graders will learn basic addition and subtraction facts; second graders will learn how to complete addition and subtraction facts that will require borrowing.  If basic addition and subtraction facts are not adequately mastered, students will struggle with the concept of borrowing.

Wherever curriculum process is being discussed, these steps, taken in order, are sure to be beneficial.


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