Planning the Best Curriculum Unit Ever
The general population has the misconception that classroom instruction is as natural as teaching your child how to fish or assisting a nephew in playing Ms Pac-Man. This is wrong. However, those analogies do not take into consideration the highly specialised discourse of K–12 education.
Making a question-and-answer exchange, developing an integrated rubric, or (take a deep breath) facilitating a high-level discussion of new content with 35 diverse students (two of whom exhibit ADHD behaviours) while an administrator evaluates you all require an absurdly large number of specialised and unnatural skills.
Because of this foreign skill set, even the most bright teachers are unable to just wing it in the classroom. They must devise a strategy.
While the general public is unaware of the amount of mental muscle required for curriculum preparation, firms that market educational materials are well aware of this. Unfortunately, their assistance is frequently in the form of the sale of a “sure-fire” scripted curriculum that “guarantees” student progress and development (if teachers will just follow directions). There are, however, several reasons why scripted curricula-in-a-box do not succeed, including the following:
- What works in one classroom may not work in another, necessitating the need for instructors to be flexible, intuitive, and to make sound judgement calls regularly.
- The values and motives of students differ from classroom to classroom.
- Prepackaged courses hinder teachers’ professionalism and ability to exercise their judgement.
- Cultural awareness is not something that can be purchased.
- Every pupil is not at the same stage of growth as the others.
- Students’ ability to form positive relationships with their teachers is compromised by scripted lessons.
- Finally, according to Jonathan Kozol, prepackaged programmes are overwhelmingly used with poor minority populations, a practice that is indicative of a “deeply segregated system in which more experienced instructors teach the children of the privileged.” Kozol argues that this practice is characteristic of a “deeply segregated
- system in which more experienced instructors teach the children of the privileged.” To put it another way, the wealthy receive high-quality teaching, while the poor receive drill-and-kill worksheets and laminated platitudes as a substitute. For all of these reasons, teachers must create unit plans for their students.
Fortunately, a unit plan can assist us in mastering the specialised classroom discourse that is required. Units should not be regarded as merely curriculum artefacts. As a mapping process, they enable instructors to think critically about research-supported interactions between teachers, students, and content that help students meet standards and grow up to rescue the world.
A unit, within the context of a unifying topic, directs the sequence and pace of skill and information acquisition, which is detailed in greater depth by lesson plans. According to education consultant Max Thompson, who believes that poor curriculum design is the root cause of widespread success discrepancies, the role of assessment should not be overlooked. In a related vein, Thompson asserts that vocabulary should be the “focal point of learning, especially for pupils disadvantaged by poverty,” because it increases achievement and is linked to how people organize their ideas.
The four most significant questions to ask while evaluating the quality of an existing unit plan are as follows:
Is the unit following the standards, objectives, and recommendations established?
Has a balance been achieved in terms of teaching tactics, learning strategies, and real tasks that engage and suit the requirements of a varied range of students?
Have I logically organized the operations?
What knowledge and skills are being measured in the formative and summative assessments about the goals and objectives?
The following part will assist you with the necessary, unnatural, inconspicuous, and time-consuming process of developing unit plans that you may encounter.