A curious observation is the uniform way that committees review curriculum for each field of study. Too often, authorities have a knee-jerk impulse to declare that 'all curriculum areas will be the same.' In fact, real and significant differences exist between fields of study.
Rooted in the word 'history' is 'story.' And America's story is exceptional. It's amazing. Younger students should learn that we have always been and continue to be a land of immigrants – a land committed to bold new ideas.
Too often, teachers assume that they are introducing a book or concept to students for the first time. In fact, many units are repeated over the course of a student's K-12 experience.
The building blocks of mathematical thinking are requisite for more advanced conceptualization. If a student is not ready to move on, then the teacher must take time to assist that learner.
Schools are launching pads, launching our kids into their futures. Unfortunately, a lot of what we teach now looks identical to what we taught 40, 50, or 60 years ago. There's a need for both timeless curriculum content and timely content. What seems to be falling by the wayside is timely content.
People in the United States are highly transient. Families move from state to state. So why do we take a full year – in some states, two years – to study state history? It takes time away from more important topics.
Education is a business – the growth business. It cultivates the growth of our learners, translates the growth of new knowledge, and builds professional growth.
Mapping does not purport to create an idealistic vision where all teachers agree, love one another, and gather around a campfire and sing 'Curriculum Kumbaya.' What it can develop is a sense of place, of respect, and of new grounds for discussion, disputes, and direction.
In America, we have 19th century school conditions and a curriculum that prepares our kids for the 1990s.
Without question, students need to practice, review, and drill skills, but they should do so only in the spirit of working toward more complex mastery of those skills. Redundant drill of skills is inherently boring and insulting to the learner, and it is one of the most effective methods for turning students off to learning.
As educators, we are only as effective as what we know. If we have no working knowledge of what students studied in previous years, how can we build on their learning? If we have no insight into the curriculum in later grades, how can we prepare learners for future classes?
We often assume that all teachers within a discipline address the same curriculum. This isn't always the case. We frequently find gaps between goals and what is actually taught, and these gaps can have a lasting impact on a child's learning.
Feeling pummeled by the outside pounding of tests and standards, a teacher can easily hide and simply turn to the immediacy of the classroom. It is not surprising that many teachers burrow in their rooms with all that they know about their students. There is no place to take the information.
The function of a guideline isn't to tell you what kids have actually experienced; it's to provide goals.