What are your thoughts and beliefs about curriculum? How do educators determine what students should learn?
I was asked to consider these question as part of a graduate course on curriculum I took last year. Throughout the course we discussed different perspectives, and, more importantly, we were asked to reflect on and uncover our own views and assumptions regarding curriculum. We explored learning theories (no connectivism, yet!), the hidden curriculum, the null curriculum, and the overt (written) curriculum to name just a few. (A good starting place to read about these concepts is Leslie Owen Wilson’s Curriculum Index.) As I was asked to reflect on these ideas – on my ideas, I realized that I had come to view many aspects of the curriculum as confining and was frustrated by the lack of flexibility I perceived. So much so that most of what I teach at my high school is outside of the core curriculum. In fact I have invented and cobbled together the bulk of what I teach myself, and I admit I enjoy this process very much.
At the end of the course my professor challenged us to create a representation of our learning. As I sat and thought and struggled I realized I felt a little like Dorothy in Oz – exploring the world of classroom demands and the world of my curriculum ideals. I decided to step way, w-a-y outside of my comfort zone and write and perform a spoken word (or slam) poem. I had never done anything like this before, and wish to thank my creative writing students who provided moral support and valuable criticism as I created and recreated “On the Road to Oz”. When we had our final Poetry Slam of the year (Quench Your Verse) it was obvious that I had to step up and be willing to publicly take the journey alongside my students. And so I did.
Here’s my poem (recorded at the lunchtime slam) – a discovery of my own thoughts and feelings about curriculum. What are yours?