Key Idea Identification

Reflection 6120-Key Ideas

Through this week’s reading and subsequent (and previous) discussions in class I have been consistently reminded of one key idea: the absolute necessity for compelling curriculum.   I know that we covered this in our first meeting; I think we even covered it at the Camp Casey but each week, no matter what the topic, compelling curriculum sneaks in.  This week as we evaluated a student teacher observation that Dr. Scheuerman had completed, we explored some of the strengths and opportunities that the student teacher should be aware of.  Now, while it is very easy to pick apart someone’s lesson, especially when he or she is not there, it was a little bit hard to constructively criticize knowing this experience is in our not so distant future.  However, after a bit of prodding we opened up as a class.  The student teacher we all agreed had to cover the material but what he needed to cover and what the kids were interested in were not necessarily the same thing.  As questions were asked by the students, a concise answer was given but never explored more deeply.  Additionally, the teacher didn’t ask much of the students other than their attention.  It seems to me, the opportunity invoking the key idea of compelling curriculum was missed.  Even though there is a required standard that each teacher must meet, isn’t there also a requirement of us as teachers to compel our student to go beyond simply learning information and involve them in the learning process?

This notion was echoed as we explored the methods of Comenius.  Comenius saw the role of the teacher as, “the servant whose mission is the art of cultivating.”  This cultivation is in reference to the minds of the young and our obligation to: compel insight and encourage an eagerness to seek knowledge.  This quest for knowledge (as opposed to just content acquisition) with the guidance of the teacher encourages a partnership to aid individual students to grow as they enter society.  Comenius saw this being developed through: books of all types, visual aids, a classroom designed that provoked energy, excitement and fun, investigative observations, practical applications to every-day life and fun time activities that include different handicrafts.  I really felt like this was a fabulous example of compelling curriculum.  That we need to teach students through and in an environment that is appropriate for their learning.  Kids need to play, move, touch, explore, apply, fail, and succeed.  In this I think Comenium was introducing us to the key idea of compelling curriculum.


3 thoughts on “Key Idea Identification

  1. Sarah,

    I, too, was impressed with Comenius’ vision of education and curriculum, which seemed to me ahead of his time. It’s clear that if the importance of compelling curriculum has survived 400 years, it must be absolutely crucial to serving an exceptional education to students. Thank you for reminding me that a compelling curriculum should be at the core of every class (and that our classes at SPU have been indicative of that)! 🙂

  2. Sarah,

    The day after our first class for this course, I was watching the newly named Washington teacher of the year being interviewed on the morning news. He is a graduate of our program, and has been teaching for 10 years.

    Amazingly, the teacher actually used the phrase “the best classroom management plan is a compelling curriculum” in the interview, words I had first heard the night before from Dr. Scheuerman. “Hmm,” I thought. “Sounds like that must be a pretty important concept.”

    What we’re challenged with is figuring our how to come up with that compelling curriculum — good thing Comenius left us a blueprint to work from!


  3. Sarah,
    I agree that our greatest charge as teacher is to have a compelling curriculum. At times being a teacher sounds more like being an entertainer! How do you keep them in their seats? How do you spread the word about your “show?” And the kicker, “how do you keep them coming back again and again?” We’ve got to be crafty and stay one step ahead so that each moment we teach is never wasted. Wow, and we are supposed to do all of this without the help from a P.R. agent? Compelling curriculum is the heavy artillery in our teaching arsenal and we are wise to use it up front rather than when things start to go south in our classrooms.

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