One of These Things is Not Like the Other!

July is here and for teachers, that means that summer is 1/2 way over! It always seems that the days of July fly by because of the whirlwind of activities and get-togethers we have scheduled. When I think about the month of July, I also reflect on independence and the freedom we have in this country to obtain a public education.

But what does curriculum writing/planning and independence have in common? Should schools adopt a centralized curriculum? I’m of the notion that while curriculum’s are similar for specific grade levels, every teacher and student is different. Every student learns differently. Therefore, while we may have the independence to make the curriculum common across the board, it still has to be differentiated to improve the learning of our students.

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“Education should never be a race, but a destination.  Focus on getting students to the finish line and recognize that everyone has a different pace.” #teachergoals  Differentiation is modifying and/or adapting the curriculum according to the different ability levels in one class. Furthermore, teachers need to use a variety of methods to teach content in order to address the differences in students. In this case, I would say, differentiation has a certain level of independence.  Why? Because, teachers have content that they have to teach, however, they have freedom/independence on how they choose to teach it and the ways in which they assess their students.

One way in which students can utilize self-directed or independent learning is through project-based learning (PBL). PBL is a style of learning that allows students to obtain the readiness skills for further academia or careers. While PBL enhances learning, includes challenges, and develops creativity and critical thinking; it is implemented using content standards for that specific subject. Therefore, the standards are universal in the curriculum, yet the learning process is different.

With the increasing challenges that our students face, it is imperative that we not only be “teachers,” but we also become facilitators, guides, and coordinators of curriculum.  Be patient, embrace change, and be the leader in independent learning.

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