July 16, 2020

Asking the WHY of Curriculum

The following post is an excerpt from EdTechTeacher CEO Tom Daccord's blog, Leading Innovations in Schools: From Someday to Monday.

On June 24, educator-consultant Will Richardson shared the following tweet:

“What if we just took every piece of the curriculum that we currently teach and just asked "why?" How much of it would fall under the category "Because it's required to make sense of the world today and to thrive in the future"? #justaskin

The tweet generated a lively discussion, where several educators pointed out the strict adherence to content and established curriculum that often occur in schools. Educators often complain that they “don’t have time” to be creative, innovative, or try new things in their curriculum. This perceived lack of time originates from pressure to meet prescribed content standards to prepare students for standardized assessments.

And yet…

With the COVID-19 crisis forcing a rapid transition to remote learning, standardized assessment was eliminated or significantly altered in the spring semester. The traditional model of standardized assessment as we know it was impractical in a completely remote learning environment. As we get closer to the start of the 2020-21 school year, it looks more and more likely that schools will need to continue remote learning to a significant extent to accommodate all students and teachers. Even schools that open with in-person classes will need to implement strict physical distancing and other policies for keeping everyone as safe as possible.

With any of these scenarios, it is likely that in-class instruction time will be reduced significantly as students will not be coming to school every day. Moreover, in a physical classroom, more time will be spent on enforcing physical distancing policies, logistics of moving from place-to-place, and sanitizing classrooms and materials. In a blended/hybrid learning environment, teachers will need to spend time to adapt their curriculum. In a remote learning environment, students (and teachers) will not want to spend an entire day sitting in front of a computer screen logged in to Google Meet or Zoom. All these different scenarios and logistics point to less time for teachers to spend teaching. More than ever, decisions will need to be made about what content is truly essential for students to learn.

To read the full article, visit tomdaccord.com.