Do you own your curriculum or does it own you?

This ‘break-up letter ‘post, in which Jeanne Zeuch explains her reasons for ‘breaking up with’ the Reggio Emilia approach, is well worth reading.

I wonder how many other educators are forgetting to examine what is important to THEM. Rarely, if ever, have I seen or read educators flat out adding – stating for fact – their own ideals from their own school culture that they have weaved seamlessly into their mission. I feel like we – including me – are so dazzled by the inspiration of REA that we don’t even consider incorporating our own beliefs or values. THAT is why I am breaking up with REA. I cannot teach in the beautiful school that I teach and keep seeing what is missing from the RE value set.

I think it’s relevant for educators everywhere who adopt a program or an approach, without critical reflection and extensive consideration of the program’s relationship with one’s own beliefs about learning.

And it’s food for thought for you

Leaders who expect their teachers to implement programs selected and enforced from above, without choice or ownership.

Teachers who accept and implement entire programs uncritically, without adapting them to their own beliefs.

Purists who worry more about the words than the philosophy behind them.

Educators who think curricula need to be covered, and programs need to be taught.

Whether it’s your national curriculum, an inspiring approach or a subject specific program… it needs to be understood, analysed and adapted to your beliefs about learning, so that you own it rather than it owning you.

 

8 thoughts on “Do you own your curriculum or does it own you?

  1. You make such a good and underappreciated point with “Whether it’s your national curriculum, an inspiring approach or a subject specific program… it needs to be understood, analysed and adapted to your beliefs about learning,”

    I’vw been followinbg the conversation about Common Core Standards in the States. Much handwringing about the effects of “Standards.” Many teachers in many schools understand the wisdom of your “adapted to your beliefs about learning.” Unfortunately too few and far between.

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  2. Edna! This is such a perfect post for me right now in terms of the work I do and what I see in schools around the world….thank you! I was having this conversation with someone just the other day…and you have captured the essence (as always) so beautifully. Just what I needed to read. 🙂

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  3. Absolutely! I especially like the last bullet points:
    *Teachers who accept and implement entire programs uncritically, without adapting them to their own beliefs.
    and…
    *Educators who think curricula need to be covered, and programs need to be taught.
    As teachers, can’t we make changes? And educators, aren’t we awake to the 21st century where we recognize we can’t possibly “teach” or “cover” it all? I agree completely. Thanks for a wonderfully written reminder!

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  4. ED(na).
    I was impressed with your post! I hope you are following my Blog? I flat out state “this point” — although (somewhat) differently. I shall not go into the details of my “posts”. It is sufficient to say that — I have a strong desire to perpetuate systemic changes in education. My blog here at “our” sight is: http://kennethfetterman.wordpress.com (each posts contains a link to my works published via smashwords.com (so it is un-necessary to add a link here). To sum up my thoughts on this matter–We need to focus on building a network of “interconnected” communities (of practitioners) to determine what “is best” for their school(s). I REALLY DO HAVE SOME ANSWERS–Please review/assess my works and reply! Topics include: Becoming A Reflective Practitioner (i.e. conducting action research; bridging the gap between theory and practice; maintaining a relevant philosophy (of education); and tutorials regarding the practical applications of student-centered and teacher-centered learning. I Will keep following your Blog!
    –You are a member of my community. Thank You for the contribution to this very important discussion! Ken

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