Curriculum Program vs Teacher Created

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by 3dawns, Sep 2, 2007.

  1. 3dawns

    3dawns Rookie

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    Sep 2, 2007

    In following my own children's experiences through elementary school, I realize that we have swung the pendelum from a teacher created curriculum toward a more structured curriculum program created by researchers, but I thought it was more of a subject area approach. I hadn't realized that program curriculum were becoming all-incompassing across multiple subject areas.

    I know that the trend since I was in elementary school has geared more toward whole language instruction which includes multiple subject teaching in one lesson. That is not what I am talking about. I am talking more about the curriculum programs where your entire day (or a good portion of it) is scripted to the program. This is all very new to me.

    For those that have used both types (teacher vs researcher), do you like one over the other? I can see where both types would have positives and negatives. Would a highly creative person feel stymied by something so scripted? How do you react to "teaching moments"? Can you go off task at all? Can you take or leave any portion of it? Can you add to it? How does it adjust to the different levels of each child in the class? Does it take in to account different learning styles (visual/auditory/etcetera)?

    Is the pendelum swinging too far the other way? Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

    Dawn
     
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  3. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    Sep 2, 2007

    I taught in a school with a scripted curriculum (all subjects) and hated it. I didn't follow the script very well, I was bored by it and veered off track a lot. I only stayed at the school for a year. It was not looked on well when I had kids respond to a section of the social studies text by making a brochure instead of writing a 5 paragraph essay, or write a narrative or make a poster. I was never repremanded exactly, but it made me stand out, and the principal was not too keen on that. Sometimes the kids even said things like, "that's just what the book is telling you to say." This was especially apparent when the script said something like, "That makes me wonder why..." They all know I'M not the one wondering.

    Now I teach at a school with NO set curriculum except math, and it is open ended and not scripted (TERC Investigations.) Though, now we are in the process of researching and finding some curriculum for the other content areas, I know none will be scripted. I am very much a teacher as researcher and learn new things every day, am constantly looking for ways to bring the students interests into the curriculum I develop, and am finding new programs and books to use all the time. I take a lot of trainings and our schools gives up a lot of prof. development funds to take classes and workshops. I don't know how this will change in the coming year as we find some new programs.

    I would never want to teach in a school with a scripted curriculum again. I don't think it's good for kids in terms of creativity, freedom of ideas and expression, or any of the other things we should value if we hope to raise creative thinkers who will be our next brilliant scientists,writers, inventors, artists, musicians and philosophers.
     
  4. Pattie

    Pattie Companion

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    Sep 2, 2007

    I agree with Littleschool. I can't imagine how I would actually get through the year feeling like an automoton. I think my students who come from schools like that to my gifted program are afraid to do anything different than the rest of the kids. They look to the left and right to be sure they are doing it exactly as others are. I think it does squelch their individual expression and creativity. But on the plus side, they are very good at things that they have drilled over and over with. Maybe if you had a struggler in school they could benefit from the drill type education of the scripted. Just my thoughts.
     
  5. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

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    Sep 2, 2007

    I taught at a private school last year where the curriculum was very scripted. I was told that I could use my own lessons to teach things, but when I did, the other third grade teacher questioned why I wasn't following the curriculum...I was, I was just teaching it MY way! I wasn't allowed to make my own tests/quizzes, though and I hated that. I'm the one teaching, I should be allowed to design my own assessments.

    Anyway, I was only there one year. Now I'm at a charter school where the curriculum is pretty much all teacher-designed. They have ordered some new social studies and science books (they had none last year) but the teachers just use them for references basically. I'm completed on my own for my subjects because we use readers' and writers' workshop and all I have to follow is the state frameworks. It's a lot more work, but I like it so much more.
     

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