It’s not easy to design a curriculum and ensure that it contains the right degree of dynamism to improve student outcomes. It is a complex process that demands careful planning and deliberate decision-making.
It is pretty challenging to improve student learning outcomes today as every teen is more accustomed to the “smartphone life.” As a result, evaluating students’ performance has become an actual stumbling block. Some don’t pay attention in class, whereas others don’t even bother to come to school. With such fallouts, you (as a teacher or some other professional who’s interested in designing effective curriculums) might believe that the educational system is on the verge of a meltdown. However, that is not the case. Through hands-on and practical curriculum planning practices, instructors can create a fun road map of what the students need to learn and prosper.
So with that in mind, how can you create quality curriculum plans and encourage students to learn and give out their best? Educational institutions can adopt a handful of methods to level up their curriculum game and improve students’ learning outcomes. Here are a few of the best ways:
- Begin with the big picture in mind
We believe that the most challenging part is getting started. If you’re having trouble with the first steps of curriculum planning, try taking a step back. Communicate with other grade level educators at your school to see how your year fits into the larger picture—for example, a teaching calendar. Break it down further into objective-based, short components. What do you hope to achieve within each unit? What do you want your students to understand and do by the end of the course?
Highlight the desired outcome for each lesson. Also, here’s a tip: if you, as an instructor or principal, carry the urge to change the game of curriculum development, enrolling in a specified degree program may help you reach your goal. If you have a bachelorette in education, then pursuing an online Education Masters in C & I can instill you with the knowledge needed to design effective curriculums. Moreover, e-Learning is an excellent privilege for those eager to learn and don’t want any interruptions in their professional life. Thus, you can advance your education while working as a professional in the educational sector.
- Assess the students’ learning abilities
Few teachers evaluate their students’ academic potential. The majority of them enter a classroom, deliver a lecture, and then leave. The next day, they come in and administer a test. Grades, on the other hand, can frequently intrude on a student’s proper cognitive functioning. The evaluation process must be carried out correctly.
A test cannot reveal a student’s true capabilities (not to mention that cheating is a popular game in school). As a substitute, you might want to consider spending more time conversing with your students. Set up open discussions and encourage them to take part. Identify their core weaknesses and strengths; this will help in deciding what a student needs to improve. It could be a lack of language skills, self-confidence, anxiety, nervousness, or something else.
- Make a list of 4-5 resources for every concept
Save and make a note of your favorite resources as you investigate what’s already available. List four to five of your favorites for every theory on your curriculum outline. It saves so much time, especially at the beginning of the year. That way, when it comes time to write your lesson plan and prepare to teach it, you’ll already know where to get your information and data.
- Use spiraling
In a nutshell, spiraling is designing a curriculum that requires students to rethink content multiple times throughout their educational careers. That can include their entire K-12 apprenticeship, but it can also have their freshman year of high school or even a single component in a single content area. Spiraling is a powerful and flexible curriculum-mapping tactic that exposes students to critical content in increasingly complex ways. It makes it helpful to educators in various applications ranging from instructional and curriculum design to test prep and project-based learning planning.
- Integrate idea maps
Use idea maps–or mind maps, as they are more commonly known–early and frequently in lessons. Journal entries, lesson extensions, assessments, scaffolding, bell-ringers, write-around, and other resources are available. Students should create a map, diagram, chart, or other visual representation of their learning changes and pathways in knowledge, including where they started, where they are now, and where they should be heading. Concept maps depict the connection between ideas–how seemingly disparate ‘objects’ fit together.
Concept maps and related graphic organizers are excellent ways to show knowledge’s connections and connectedness. Allow students to construct idea maps before, through, and after a unit to raise the bar on your curriculum and challenge their thinking.
Indeed, a good and effective curriculum plan is tough to come by. However, our best advice is to build something that not only works for you but also your students. The plan doesn’t have to be an exhaustive document that defines every possible educational scenario. Nor does it have to anticipate every student’s question or response. Instead, it should offer you a wide-ranging outline of your learning objectives, teaching goals, and means to accomplish them. So follow our tips, and you will be well-equipped to create a curriculum that benefits both instructors and students.