Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Curricular Flux

Another post by Vicki Davis (yes, I'm trying to catch up on my Bloglines reading) reminded me of a conversation I was a part of on the last day for teachers. Among other things, she says:
It should not take two years to add information into the technology curriculum that will be outdated as soon as it is added. (I think a year is too long!)
On the last day for teachers I was part of a conversation with our Business Department, as well as Business teachers who came over from Littleton High School (I'm not sure why Heritage wasn't present) and the retiring and incoming district director of Career and Technical Education. They had asked me to be present to lend my perspective on what they were teaching in their computer applications classes and on any changes they should consider making. Needless to say, I had a lot to say!

But one of the things we all agreed on was that the curriculum revision process in LPS wasn't appropriate anymore for classes like Computer Applications. Things in technology are changing too fast to have to go through such a long process to get approval to make changes. It's not that we want to make changes without thought and discussion, but that we need to be more flexible in order to truly meet the needs of our students in a time of rapid change. If we have to go through a long and drawn out process, then often the changes we proposed will already be outdated themselves. So among other things they decided to talk with the district about being given that flexibility to make changes more quickly in their technology-based classes.

As I think more about this, I think this is true in many areas, not just technology classes. As we've talked about, the world is changing so quickly that almost all of our curricular areas need to be more flexible and need to be able to make adjustments on the fly. Both to incorporate technological changes that impact the classroom, but also to reflect changes in the world around us (often caused by some of those same technologies). As Vicki says:
Education seems to do quite well in stasis. When things are orderly and quiet and there is time time for reflection, study, and lecture. However, when society enters states of flux it seems there is difficulty.
I think we are definitly in a state of flux and will be for quite some time. So how do we adjust our time-honored practices in education (like the curriculum review process) in order to better meet the needs of our students in a time of rapid change?

1 comment:

  1. I agree that we need to be flexible. I have been on the essential learnings committee for language arts and it was quite a task to simply define one essential learning for just writing. The curriculum has just be redone and has been implemented for a year and now we are back to the drawing board already. Many people not at the meeting feel that we are reinventing the wheel and just changing the semantics of what the curriculum already states. For others, change can be exciting in that we can directly affect the district expectations. We do need to have an open mind and know that whatever a content area decides to do with curriculum, we must understand that there will always be newer things to add to what we do.