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Curriculum is the Road traveled

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by

Amal Sidani

on 6 December 2015

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Transcript of Curriculum is the Road traveled

“Not having heard something is not as good as having heard it; having heard it is not as good as having seen it; having seen it is not as good as knowing it; knowing it is not as good as putting it into practice.”
- Xun Kuang (818 AD). Xunzi.

Also translated to:
Tell me and I forget;
teach me and I remember;
involve me and I learn
- After a recap was held on how NGOs organize themselves and their different parts (mission statement, values, goals, fundraising, logo), Ss created their own NGO.

- Disciplines involved: English (parts of a paragraph, presentations), Arabic (since parts of the activity were bilingual), Math (multiplication/division – funding/division of tasks), Art (creating the logo using certain material), Social Science (taking action), Music (they sang the song Man in the Mirror by Michael Jackson)
- Over 5 sessions Ss worked on their communicative, team-work, self-management, creative and thinking skills. They discussed, argued and reflected on the ideas shared. All the students were involved. The teachers facilitated.
I taught Grade 4 in 2012 and one memorable story is when a team and I planned 5 sessions on the central idea tackled which was Humans organize themselves in order to prevent and solve problems on a local to global level.

The focus in class then was on NGOs.
Students (Ss) were shown videos that showcase explicitly and/or implicitly how NGO’s fund themselves.
They brainstormed the methods they saw on flipcharts and then in groups brainstormed innovative ideas.
They presented the ideas in class.

As a class:
We went over logos of NGOs and held a brief discussion on the efficiency/use of Logos. They read how the logo of WWF was created/developed on their website.
They then created a web of things to consider when creating a logo (colors/visuals/easy to reproduce/promote the mission etc.
Form of transport
The form of transportation is how students learn. Each student is provided with his or her
preferred
“form of transportation” on this journey. In the classroom this equates to accommodating learner styles whether
auditory
,
kinesthetic
or
visual
. They all travel together, some at a
different pace
than others, while the teacher moderates the progress.
The learners will face roadblocks, difficult “weather conditions” and other obstacles on this journey, similar to individual difficulties that learners face at home (family, peer pressure, socio-economic challenges etc.)
As long as the environment is
safe and nurturing
, where the learners are supportive of one another, effective learning can take place and the journey continues successfully.
The teacher
takes all this into consideration
and through effective planning, constant follow-up, empathy and support, these can have minimal negative effects on the learning journey.
Say not, “I have found the truth,” but rather, “I have found a truth.”
Say not, “I have found the path of the soul.”
Say rather, “I have met the soul walking upon my path.”
For the soul walks upon all paths.
The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed.
The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals.

- Teaching to me is a journey where both teacher and student are learners, sharing ideas, reflecting on experiences and inquiring about the world.
-
Curriculum
is t
he road
traveled. It is the infrastructure. This road towards the “destination” is not fully predetermined. It includes many twists and turns that each student contributes to taking. Some students take
deviations
and explore topics of interest and share it with the group.

Is there a destination?
Can we cap learning?
The journey’s destination is not the final destination! There is none. Students eventually part ways, each growing in their own direction after being guided and nurtured throughout this journey. The learners become life-long learners and contributing members of society.
Curriculum is the Road traveled
What is
learning?

There are stops along the way, where students
reflect
on their journey so far, keeping everyone on track. They also
share
what new information they found along the road. This is not only when
evaluation
takes place.
By definition, learning is the acquisition of knowledge or skills through experience or study. However, there is more to it than that. Learning helps one
make sense of the world
and provides the tools to
express oneself
. Learning takes place when learners
actively
engage in an experience and become
thinkers
. Learning
changes
a person and since humans are curious beings in nature, if encouraged, learning could lead to more learning.
Students are individuals each
unique
and
different
, with their own set of experiences and ideas to share. They are
curious

communicators
, who should be encouraged to ask questions and
think critically
of the world around them. They are individuals on a mission to self-discovery.
Teachers are
facilitators
. They
help
students understand and achieve objectives. Teachers
equip
students with
tools
that help them become life-long learners and contributing members of society. Teachers are
learners
who are
reflective,

open-minded
and
empathetic.
Challenges
"Stops"
Destination
Assessment on this learning journey is
ongoing
, in different forms, not only quizzes and tests but through
portfolios
and
reflections
, as well as
discussions
and
presentations
held along the way.
How do I view students?
How do I view teachers?
Gibran, G. K. (1923). The prophet. Alfred A. Knopf : New York
Thank you!
Looking forward to embarking on this learning journey in this course with
all of you.
An ancient Chinese Proverb that speaks volumes
- infrastructure undergoing constant development
The teacher’s role is to
encourage inquiry
, while not letting the group stray too far away from the path. Teachers should have very
flexible
pre-planned lessons, and they should
question and reflect
their own practices along the way.
Curriculum should always be questioned and improved.
It should always be reviewed with its implementation monitored for quality assurance.
Curriculum cannot be rigid.
It must be flexible, for it is not static.
It is in constant development.

Students have different interests and the teacher should
nurture this difference
and
guide
students to reach their true potential all within a
living curriculum
. Gaining knowledge is important, but more important are the skills acquired.
Students learn best through
authentic learning experiences
and a living curriculum is needed for that kind of effective learning to take place.

Roads are reconstructed all the time.
Roads converge into one at times similar to how all disciplines are interconnected.
As time passes, great minds, research and new technology will develop the infrastructure, create advanced bridges, tunnels and highways. Curriculum serves as a guideline, as the how is taught becomes as important as what is taught.

As I think of my teaching and curriculum metaphor, I ponder on these questions, which I’m sure further readings will shed light on:

Is it a problem if curriculum loses any comprehensible boundary?
Are sequential constraints necessary?
Is ‘common sense’ enough for teachers to create a sequence of what is learned?
Does this idea of curriculum having very loose boundaries lead to chaos and students missing on content? Is content as important as skills?

Curriculum cont'd
Curriculum
and the student
Curriculum
Questions running through my mind
Memorable Story
The destination of this particular journey is the
accumulation of knowledge and skills
acquired. Only the general goals are pre-existing, yet they are not set in stone and act as guidelines.
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