Teachers developing curriculum during in-school sessions

Written by: Ellie Harris, opinion editor

Students at NPHS have noticed the sporadic absence of their foreign language and social studies program teachers throughout the past month, and upon inquiry, the words “curriculum mapping” don’t offer many answers. However, what happens during these sessions is incredibly important to what allows every classroom to be unique while making sure every classroom can meet Indiana standards.

James Popham’s definition of curriculum in his 2003 book “Test Better, Teach Better” is “…..outcomes that educators hope to achieve with their students. The most common kinds of outcomes sought are: students’ acquisition of cognitive skills, bodies of knowledge, and their effect (such as particular attitudes, interests, or values),” This is an approach that Dinwiddle tries to tackle during these school-day-long sessions.

“Curriculum is more than just a textbook or a resource; it is a collection of everything that teachers use -texts, videos, activities- to help students attain certain educational outcomes,” Brian Dinwiddie, Southern Hancock curriculum coordinator said.

From a student’s perspective, the purpose of curriculum can be hazy. We just sit down and try to do well enough in our classes to get into the right college and so on. We aren’t necessarily thinking about the effort put in behind the scenes or the purpose of a lesson or unit beyond getting an “A.”

“There are several reasons behind the development and mapping of curriculum, including common student experiences, the elimination of learning gaps and redundancies, and the alignment of our instruction with Indiana’s academic standards, to name a few. Although the standards are the foundation, teachers work to create enduring understandings and essential questions, which become the basis for units of study over the course of the school year,” Dinwiddie said.

The collaborative aspect is the most notable aspect of these summits, and it allows for communication and cohesiveness among teachers.

“Due to the development of district curriculum in a collaborative format, students benefit tremendously. When teachers work together, sharing knowledge and resources, tremendous products emerge.” Dinwiddie said.

DCMS teachers in a curriculum mapping session. from @therealBMD on Twitter

DCMS teachers in a curriculum mapping session. from @therealBMD on Twitter

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