Posted in Learning and Development

Curriculum Contemplations

It seems that, every year for the past decade, I have increasing difficulty with curriculum planning during the summer.  I have many bright ideas and good intentions at the end of June and throughout July.  However, by the time August arrives, I feel as if I am attempting to detonate a ticking time bomb, with no strategy in how to do so.  It’s what the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. called, “paralysis of analysis.”

I think that one part of the issue is my desire to create curriculum that is innovative, new and shiny, never before seen or done.  In a word: perfect.  The other issue is one on which a dear friend confronted me several years ago, with the following questions: “Is what you have been doing working? Are the students learning, making progress, and prepared for the next level?” To which I answered with an emphatic YES! to both questions.

So…what is the real dilemma?

A wise and dear colleague said this to me back in 2006, and then again in 2015: “Every teacher must sing to her own song.”  What is my song?  I am a teacher who likes culture, social justice, grammar, new words, literature, Spanish language films, geography, travel, and creating experiences that promote learning using the aforementioned.  At the same time, I want to teach my students to achieve the designated level of proficiency in listening, reading, writing and speaking in the courses I teach.

I will apply some of the learning I obtained from the two-day TPRS workshop I attended in July.  I do, however, need to adhere to a fairly traditional curriculum at my school, and use a textbook, at least once in a while.  To that end, I plan to infuse my teaching with as much comprehensible input as I can.  That said, TPRS doesn’t square fully with my beliefs re: teaching, learning, language acquisition, and assessment. I like some of its tenets, but, some of them leave big philosophical questions in my mind. And, that’s the honest and unvarnished truth. That’s it.

Second, I am going to dip my big toe into the IPA, or, Integrated Performance Assessment pond, and, begin to gauge more closely the learning and progress of my students by using “Can-Do” statements.

Third, I am going to create new themes for the aforementioned levels.  As I read various language teacher blogs for inspiration, I happened upon this particular blog. The teacher’s content, approach, and methods resonated with me, for it resembles much of what I do and what I believe regarding language instruction.  So, I think I am going to adopt her French 1 themes for my Spanish 1 classes, and use a blend of her French 3 and French 4/5 themes for my Spanish 4 classes.

So, I am feeling much better. More precisely, I am feeling less like shackles on, and more like shackles off, as my therapist would say.  I am also feeling like the sorts of things I am planning are more in line with my beliefs. Which makes any day a good one. Having colleagues willing to share their ideas and resources helps a lot, too.

 

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Author:

I teach. I cook. I write. In that order. Along the way, I learn many things, especially about myself.

4 thoughts on “Curriculum Contemplations

  1. We all have a song. I’ve been spending some time finding my lyrics, beats, etc. I appreciate that you alway encourage us to push ourselves and research and figure out what makes sense in teaching.

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  2. Hi, Destiny! I really appreciate your visit to my blog, and taking the time to read my newest post. I am glad to read that through my writing, I provide inspiration for you. Even as a 22-year career teacher, we get caught up in all of the buzz, when, actually, there is truly nothing new under the sun. We have to discover our true selves, and work from there.

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  3. I’m so glad you found something useful in my blog. Feel free to reach out if you have questions or would like to discuss anything!

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