Sunday, April 20, 2008

misconception alert!

The other day I had the opportunity to discover a child's misconception about light and heat! It was so cool. Here's the back story. On Saturdays I volunteer with a children's spiritual education program that is sponsored by the Baha'i Faith. Recently I have been working with the older kids, around 11-14 yrs. old. The program for their age is called the Spiritual Empowerment of Jr. Youth, and it's about helping the kids to develop their capacities in different areas of interest and helping them to carry out service activities for their community. Last Saturday we got on the topic of exercise briefly, and I shared my recent experiences going to hot yoga in Nashville. I explained what yoga is and that for hot yoga the room is heated to 100 degrees, which is supposed to be good for your muscles and lungs, etc. One girl asked me if I get a tan from going! I thought it was so interesting that she would think that way, that heat = a tan rather than sunlight = a tan. I felt pretty lucky to see a misconception out in the open like seems that usually they lurk around in a kid's head, unseen by teachers.

Monday, April 14, 2008

virtual schools

The issue study presentation on virtual schools caused me to think about and reflect on my experience this year teaching Spanish II online, as well as my past experiences taking an online course as a student. I think there are some definite benefits to an online course. Students can access the course from anywhere with an internet connection. They can work at their own pace, at the time of day or time of week that works best with their schedules. They can take as much time as they need with assignments, instead of being confined to a 50 minute class period. The online environment also provides comfort for shy students to express themselves when they might remain silent otherwise and allows all students to participate in a more open and tolerant community than might exist in a face-to-face situation. Online courses also allow a lot of room for differentiated instruction in order to meet the needs of all students, without the stigma of ability grouping that can arise in a regular classroom.

As a teacher, I enjoy the flexible schedule as well. I also enjoy being able to communicate one-on-one with my students via email, phone, or instant messenger. In a regular classroom, it can be difficult to get one-on-one time with each student. However, there are some drawbacks to an online class, such as the technical difficulties that inevitably arise, as well as difficulties contacting students who aren't logging in regularly. Ultimately, though, the biggest drawback is simply the lack of face-to-face interaction. Although the online environment can be great for certain activities and discussions, the element of socialization is an important one that should not be forgotten. Students need to learn to work with each other in a variety of situations and communicate orally as well as through writing. In fact, students who are kinesthetic or auditory learners might be inhibited by the online environment and may need face-to-face interactions to learn best. Ideally, I think online activities should be a supplement to a regular class, not a replacement. I have loved classes that extensively used discussion boards, emails, etc, because it helps to extend the conversations and thinking outside of class and helped us to connect on a deeper level with one another, which we could then build upon in a face-to-face situation.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

coming to a consensus

Ever since reading the articles on curriculum mapping, I have been obsessed with consensus and alignment. I feel that I have a pretty good handle on my curriculum guide, which plots out the sequence of standards to be covered for the year. But when it comes down to addressing the "scope" part of the assignment, where I detail to what degree these standards need to be met, I realize that I have no idea. I know that I want my students' reading and writing skills to improve by the end of the year, but to what degree? Unless I know exactly where they should be by the end of 8th grade, my goals for 9th grade are just an educated guess. Thinking back to my teaching experience, I realize that I didn't take into the slightest account what students might have done in previous years or what they would be expected to do the following year. Whenever we looked at a new skill or topic, I tried to gauge how much the students knew already and then tried to take them to where I thought they should be. I can see now that this is a very haphazard way of doing things.

Teachers tend to focus on the small world of their classroom, where they have control and make the decisions they think are best. And while I firmly believe teachers need autonomy and control of their classroom, I can see how inefficient education becomes if each teacher works alone instead of collaborating across grades and subjects to create the best plan for student learning. Some of the examples mentioned in the readings were that students might experience the same topics and themes over and over again, might complete similar projects, or even read the same texts. Along with unnecessary repetition, students may also experience gaps in learning when year after year teachers skim over or skip the same areas. Schools NEED consensus maps and curriculum that is vertically and horizontally aligned if they are to provide the high quality education their students deserve. I really hope that the school where I taught, which to my knowledge did not have a consensus curriculum or any kind of curriculum guide, is the exception. To me, this type of alignment seems most vital to a student's success.

Obviously, aligning curriculum is a bigger task than one person can complete, but I still want to try and have some type of alignment with my curriculum guide. We shall see...

Sunday, March 30, 2008

textbook evaluation

When looking at textbooks and discussing their use in class, I began thinking about my previous experience with textbooks. As a student, I loved textbooks. They provided new and interesting information. They were places to look up information that maybe wasn't covered directly in class. And I especially loved English textbooks. I always flipped through them (often in class when I was bored) and read all sorts of things that weren't assigned readings. Yes, they were heavy and cumbersome, but I don't remember that really bothering me or being a huge issue. So it's a little strange that now, as a teacher, I don't really like English textbooks at all. I don't feel that the textbooks I have seen are not very high quality. There are not enough contemporary texts. The multicultural texts are not very representative - just the standards that are pretty much canon, like Langston Hughes' "Dream Deferred" or Robert Hayden's "Those Winter Sundays" or a couple Emily Dickenson poems. I also don't feel that a lot of the selections really appeal to students, and student interest should be a huge factor in text selection. Also, the additional activities provided with the textbook are not always the most interesting and may not reach a high level of Bloom's. Plus, students hate carrying textbooks around and complain whenever I say they need to bring their books to class. Or they forget their books, which can make classwork tricky.

Part of the reason I think the textbooks are so "blah" is because textbook companies must try to appeal to a wide range of interests, especially those of administrators and policy makers, and therefore include only texts and activities that will be noncontroversial and acceptable to everyone. A majority of "the people in charge" represent the dominant culture, which is more traditional and conservative. So multicultural texts and contemporary texts may not be valued and thus not placed in the textbook.

I do think that a high quality textbook would be a great tool and resource for teachers and students. But what would a high quality English textbook look like? First of all, it would include more contemporary (and yet still high quality) text that students could relate to language-wise. It would showcase a truly multicultural selection of texts that breaks out of the traditional canon to show the viewpoints, experiences, beliefs, and traditions of other cultures. It would also include activities and assessments that appeal to higher levels of thinking and are aligned with state standards, suggestions for content integration, problem-based learning, connections to prior knowledge and common student misconceptions that should be addressed. Maybe I should look into creating such a textbook...

Monday, March 17, 2008

technology reflection

When we discussed technology in the classroom during the last class period, I started thinking about the necessity of teaching technology skills in the content areas and not just in a computer or technology course. However, at this point, although teachers are encouraged to use technology to aid teaching, I don't feel they are equally encouraged to teach technology. Technology skills are not part of content area standards, and so teachers are not pressured to teach or assess these skills. In the TN Technology Standards, teachers are only expected to use technology as a teaching aid to improve student learning. I think this ignores the responsibility teachers should have to teach technology skills that are relevant to different disciplines. The fact that teacher education includes learning about technology as teaching aids is an example of the way disciplines on the college level take responsibility for teaching the technology skills that are needed in each discipline.

In my previous teaching experience, I admit that I rarely taught technology skills explicitly, although I did expect students to use technology to complete various activities. Students created PowerPoint Presentations to show their learning, used Word to type papers, used computer programs to practice skills for the state test, and navigated the Internet for research and learning. In none of these cases did I explicitly teach students how to use the technology. I assumed they already had some knowledge or that they would gain greater knowledge just through experience of using the technology. Clearly there were some students who knew the technology well and did a good job and others who did not. In retrospect, I think it was unfair of me to expect students to proficiently use the technology without giving them instruction in how to use it. This put students on an un-level playing field based on whether or not they had previous exposure to technology.

I did explicitly teach technology skills in one case when students were required to create a resume. I teamed up with the computer teacher to teach students how to use the templates in Word. But other than this, I mainly only used technology as an aid to my own teaching, such as the overhead projector, LED projector, iTunes, etc. I think now that technology should be incorporated into the standards for each discipline in order to make sure that all students are able to master required skills for the discipline, rather than just assuming that students will gain these skills elsewhere.

Monday, March 10, 2008

What now?

This past week, I have been working more on my scope and sequence and feeling a little overwhelmed. Deconstructing the state standards has not been too difficult, once I got the hang of it, but it's only helpful if I feel the state standards encompass what I want to teach, which I don't. I'm having difficulty seeing how everything fits together. I think I still don't have a clear idea of what is meant by a scope and sequence. I mean, I know what it means by definition, but I don't know what one looks like or what process I need to undertake in order to create one. After I have deconstructed each standard and written several scope and sequence statements for each, what do I do?

I decided to put aside the standards and just create my own mission and purpose of education, which I decided would consist of 5 things I believe education should accomplish:

1. Create life-long learners
2. Cultivate an appreciation of others (people, places, customs, beliefs, etc)
3. Moral/spiritual development
4. Develop and hone skills needed to be successful in a versatile career path or paths
5. Enable students to become agents of change

Then I broke down what would be needed to achieve each of these goals. The skills part was the hardest, because that's when I needed to decide not only how to teach the skills but what skills I felt were important. The skills that I chose for the most part overlapped with the state standards for English, although in several cases I am interested achieving higher levels of critical thinking than what is asked for in the standards.

So now I have an idea of what students should accomplish in a general sense as well as specific skills, but I need to know the degree of achievement that is appropriate for each grade level (or at least my focus grade and grades immediately above and below). And if that all encompasses the scope, now I need to figure out the sequence, which to me is most difficult because most English skills I believe should be taught concurrently. Also, although there is a certain degree of achievement expected of each grade level, reality dictates that not all students will have the prerequisites necessary to reach this level, so how do I build into the curriculum ways to help teachers fill in gaps in student knowledge?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

thinking out loud on paper

I am feeling a little apprehension about Monday's class, when we will start working on our curriculum guides, because I don't feel that I have a clear idea of what a curriculum guide looks like. I found an example of a course outline on the MNPS website that I think may be similar to a curriculum guide, but I don't think it's as in-depth as this assignment is calling for. From my understanding, I'm supposed to take the state standards and put them into some sort of appropriate sequence for the year, then give suggestions for instructional activities and assessments that can be used with each objective. Is that it? If so, that seems intense because there are a LOT of standards. And I'm also concerned with the sequencing part, because I think that with English, the skills should be taught holistically, not in isolation. Students should be improving skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening concurrently, since these skills build on and complement each other. So I'm not sure what an appropriate sequence would look like or how many objectives should be covered in each lesson or unit. I think this was my problem as a teacher as well. I didn't think in terms of the standards and skills that I needed to cover. I thought about a topic that would be interesting or something I wanted to read with the class, and then I thought of activities that would improve reading, writing, and thinking skills through that particular topic or text. So I never had an overall idea of what skills students should have achieved by the end of the year, what these skills looked like, or how to measure them. Obviously, the purpose of having to create a curriculum guide now is to learn how to do it, but at the same time, I feel like I'm being asked to do something that I don't know how to do! I don't really know where to start or what steps to take. Hopefully this will be clarified on Monday....

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

like a fly in a glass of milk

Driving home from a Diversity in Dialogue meeting that I participate in, I began to think again about racism as a curricular issue. Racism and discrimination have always been issues that I have fought against, but it was only during this past semester that I really came to realize the depth and strength of institutionalized racism in public schools. I see curriculum as playing a large role in perpetuating or changing social inequalities. The traditional school curriculum is inherently racist because the knowledge, skills, and abilities that are valued come from the dominant white male section of society. The instructional methods used and the assessments used favor those who come from the dominant culture. The valuing and devaluing has become so ingrained in so many teachers, administrators, parents, and students.

A perfect example is a conversation I had with a Vanderbilt classmate the other day about cultural responsiveness. This person did not feel that she was being insensitive to cultural differences by teaching standard English, or as she put it, "correct grammar" and "the right way to speak." While I wholeheartedly agree that students of all ethnic or cultural backgrounds need fluent command of standard English in order to broaden their opportunities for success, I think the value my classmate was placing on other dialects shows how so many of us have been trained to be racist. The only reason "white" English is standard English is because white people are the dominant group in society. If black people were the dominant group in society, maybe Black English would be the standard. If Mexican-Americans were the dominant group, maybe the standard would be Spanish or a mixture of Spanish and English. In my Second Language Acquisition course, we read several articles that talked about "additive" vs. "subtractive" bilingualism...that many bilingual students lose their native language because that type of bilingualism is not valued by society the way a native English-speaking student learning Spanish or French would be valued.

I am very encouraged, though, by the attention that equity and multicultural education are receiving now. For instance, I've been impressed that everything I've read by Linda Darling-Hammond mentioned educational equity as an important point. As a teacher and curriculum designer, educational equity is my main focus. I want the curriculum that I design to be culturally responsive, multicultural, and to enable students to become agents of change. As part of the curriculum, I want my instructional methods and assessments to be culturally responsive as well. Now the key is to figure out how to do this....

Sunday, February 17, 2008

authentic teaching and assessing

In reading Wiggins' chapters on educative assessment, I remembered things that I supposedly learned in undergrad about the purpose of assessment and the use of formative assessments. Unfortunately, my limited learning did not translate into practice during my two years of teaching experience. Instead I simply covered material, tested students, and then moved on. This is how I was taught as a student, this is what is expected of teachers, and so I was brainwashed into doing it. I did not internalize the fact that the purpose of an assessment is (or should be) to educate and improve student performance. If a student needs more time, you give him more time. If a student needs to be challenged, you challenge him. You don't just have students memorize vocabulary, read a couple chapters, take a test, and move on. Very few students will be able to succeed and achieve their full potential in that kind of environment. Instead, students need frequent feedback to let them know how they are doing and allow them to adjust, improve, and be assessed again. If students are just given a test at the end of a unit, and afterwards move on to another topic, they don't actually have the opportunity to improve. If the purpose of schools is to TEACH and not just cover material, students should have numerous opportunities for revision and improvement of their work. Why should any student ever fail? Shouldn't they instead be guided until they achieve mastery? Perhaps this is another argument in support of nongraded schools -- students would have more time to move at their own pace instead of being pulled along by teachers who are set on covering a certain amount of material.

The type of assessment also needs to change to become more authentic and meaningful, to the student but also in the context of the real world and skills that will be needed in college or in the work force. I don't know of any profession or job in which answering multiple choice questions is a required skill. I find it very sad that many students leave high school (and I dare say even college) and never again use anything that they learned, or worse yet, not remember anything that they supposedly learned. The reality is that we only remember things that we use and things that are valuable to us. Content covered in schools should be content that is valuable for students to know and understand, and assessments should reflect this as well by asking students to complete authentic tasks rather than decontextualized superficial tests.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

First of all, I'd just like to say, how the heck did Conant get to be so influential? The majority of his proposals made in the 40s are with schools today: general education for all, electives, ability grouping, vocational education, remedial courses, gifted courses, the day divided into periods, an exit exam for graduation, etc. Now I'm sure that the relative standardization of these ideas was caused by more than just one man's opinion - he had a whole committee. And I'm sure most of these ideas were probably already being put into use and seemed to be successful. And this model of education is a "factory" model of sorts, so it's easily accepted by the public, who can be persuaded that you can churn out good citizens just like good cars, on an assembly line. But still. What steps do I need to take in life so that I can become president of Harvard and decide what schools will look like for the next 50 years?

So that I'll be prepared when I get there, here are my proposals:

1. Schools should implement a multicultural curriculum that gives all cultures equal status and validity in the classroom, utilizes the discourse and learning strategies of different cultures, promotes a positive attitude towards people of all cultural/ethnic/racial backgrounds, and enables students to recognize the need for and enact positive social change.

2. Schools should promote moral development of all students.

3. Schools should equally value multiple definitions of success by providing a wide range of electives and areas of specialization that students can choose based on their interests.

4. Subjects should be integrated, and students should be taught to see connections and relationships among different disciplines.

5. Elements of an activity curriculum should be implemented to allow students authentic opportunities to practice skills, use knowledge, and problem-solve.

6. Knowledge depth should be emphasized over coverage, providing students the opportunity to develop thinking skills and the ability to gather and evaluate new information rather than only memorizing facts.

7. Teachers should make use of team teaching, collaborating to work more effectively and utilizing each other's knowledge and skills.

8. Classes should be a heterogeneous mixture of 15-20 students, of various ages and abilities (as well as gender and ethnicity).

9. Schools should be nongraded, allowing students to learn and develop at their own pace, eliminating the stigma of failure or the promotion of students who have not mastered needed skills.

10. Schools should utilize flexible scheduling to allow more time for some subjects than others, more time for special projects and labs, more time for mastery of difficult skills, and more time for subjects of special interest.

Other items of interest:

~ neighborhood needs when constructing curriculum: I was very pleased by the intimate way I think this would look. What does the surrounding community look like? What do they value? What do students from this community need? What does the community need from its students?

~ unifying concepts of each discipline: what are they? how can we teach students to develop a conceptual framework for a discipline if we were not taught this way ourselves?

~ (from last week, with Ch. 8) how do curriculum goals and objectives relate to standards? how do they relate to instructional goals and objectives?

~ Conant's standards for pass and fail: for electives, have high standards, students fail if they don't meet them; for required courses, students pass if they have worked to their highest capacity. I think this is an interesting idea, and in some ways, I like the idea of measuring students against their own capacity, rather than on some arbitrary standards that are set that maybe not everyone is capable of meeting. But how do you know what someone's capacity is? How do you know when they reach it? In practice, I think this would be very subjective and end up becoming detrimental for some students if teachers don't have high expectations for them.

Monday, February 4, 2008

history and the present

In reading through the time-lines of educational events this week, I was struck by my lack of historical knowledge. Not just about education, but about everything. I have a very loose historical framework in my mind, and the events on the time-lines reminded me of things I had once learned. I realized (or remembered, reaffirmed) how important it is to know where we have been in order to decide where we want to go. How can I (or anyone) try to make changes in the field of education (or any field) without knowing what changes have been tried in the past? I was really surprised by how long ago seemingly modern developments occurred, such as Carnegie units in high school and female superintendents (both in 1909), and how recently ridiculous things continue to happen, like segregation, discrimination, and arguments over evolution and school prayer. I was also struck by the different interpretations that can be made of history, even something as simple as the French and Indian War. I'm sure the French and the variety of Native American tribes involved did not call the war by this name. I'm now motivated to deepen my knowledge of history, especially in the field of education. Since my primary goal as an educator is to address social inequalities within the school system, I think it is very important for me to become familiar with the numerous court cases and laws passed regarding segregation, bilingual education, intelligence testing, and the like.

Which leads me to the Villegas article. I whole-heartedly agree with the assertion that teacher education needs to move beyond a superficial treatment of diversity. Teachers need to be adequately prepared to teach in a way that is multicultural and culturally responsive. In my undergraduate teacher education program, I was very happy with the emphasis that issues of diversity were given in the curriculum. But the fact is, it WAS superficial. My knowledge of diversity (especially in the context of teaching) was incredibly limited, so I did not recognize the superficiality until...well, now. We had to include in every lesson plan we created some element that could be counted as "multicultural." Most of the time, this was as simple as providing students with the opportunity to talk about their cultural backgrounds, or using literature written by an ethnic minority. And while these are both nice ideas, they in no way meet the criteria for a multicultural education.

The crazy thing is, I wrote my honors thesis on multicultural education. I surveyed literature on the topic and interviewed local teachers to find out their views and find out what was actually being taught. And yet even after writing 50+ pages on the topic, I didn't come away with an adequate understand of how to actually IMPLEMENT multicultural education. I've heard many times that teachers often teach the way they were taught, and I think this is true. If teachers are not taught in a way that is multicultural and culturally responsive, how will they be able to teach this way? How can I teach this way? That's what I want to know. I know why it's important -- crucial, really. I know what it is now, finally, in all its forms. But what does multicultural education look like? What do I actually DO in the classroom? What do I actually WRITE in my curriculum? This is what I need to know.

In the Villegas article, it stated that, "social inequalities are produced and perpetuated through systemic discrimination and justified through a societal ideology of merit, social mobility, and individual responsibility." I think this statement really addresses why it is so hard for teachers especially to recognize the discrimination within the school system. We get these "bad" kids who don't try, act up in class, and fail or barely pass, and it's natural to think that it's their fault. This child is in control of his own actions. He decides whether he will behave or not. He decides whether he will study or not. So if he gets detention, if he fails a test or fails a class, it's his fault for not trying, or maybe he just doesn't have what it takes. Because ANYONE can succeed if they just TRY! These are the biggest lies that teachers believe, and the easiest to believe because individual responsibility and social mobility make sense, fit in with our world view. But even if I recognize these inequalities, how do I circumvent them? How do I get through to these kids who have spent 9 years or more facing these inequalities? What do I do with the bad kid who doesn't try?

This is turning into too much of a rant, so I think I'll stop now!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

writer's block

I'm finding it a little frustrating to write a philosophy of education at this time, because I don't feel that I've fully formed my philosophy yet. I had a perfectly good philosophy before starting grad school; it focused on language arts specifically and discussed multiple intelligences, learning styles, assessment strategies, relevance, creativity, etc, etc. Lots of good stuff. But in just the past semester and past month of grad school, I have learned so much about critical theory, progressivism, moral education, and multiculturalism that I am still trying to wrap my head around and incorporate into my teaching beliefs and practices. I feel that whatever I write as a philosophy now will not be accurate because I have only scratched the surface of some of these topics in my course work, and I have a stack of books and resources that I plan on independently studying. But hopefully this assignment will help me organize my thinking and see where there are gaps in my knowledge. In fact, I've already revised my idea for my Capstone based on my thinking during this assignment and the course readings for this week. But I still hate to write something that I know can't be completely what I want it to be yet!

Friday, January 25, 2008

a statement about mission statements

Constructing statements about the aims of education during the last class was incredibly beneficial. I now have a much clearer idea of what the process looks like and how it can be undertaken in a school system. However, as was noted in the textbook, mission statements seem to be sadly underused by school systems. They do not exist, are not readily available, or when available are not translated into action within the school. I feel that the mission statement or aims of education should be used by the school as the vision of the school community. Along with administrators, teachers, students, parents, and other staff or community members should be invited to participate in constructing the mission statement and revisiting it over the years. Teachers and administrators should not be afraid to openly state their beliefs about education and act on those beliefs.

But then I also have this little voice that says, what good are mission statements if you can't get everyone on board? What good are mission statements if parents can't choose what school their children attend? I am so torn when it comes to school choice. When I look at the big picture, I think that school choice should not be allowed, because that would lead to segregated schools (racial, income, and ability segregation). Separate is inherently unequal. But then when I think about MY (theoretical) children and all the elementary schools that I have been working in for my research assistantship, I would DEFINITELY want to choose what school I sent my child to. And there are some schools that I would rather move than have my child attend. So as a (potential) parent, I feel one way about it, but as an educator, wanting all schools to be good schools and all students to receive equal education, I feel completely different about school choice.

Switching gears a little bit to my philosophy of education, I'm definitely on the progressivism/reconstructionism side of the diagram, and I don't feel that these pieces conflict with one another. I would also add critical theory into the mix, because it really supports both progressivism and reconstructionism. To impact and improve society, we must intensely address the inequalities in society and remedy them. The school system is one avenue through which we can eradicate inequalities.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

a million pages later...or, my blog needs a conceptual framework

I am somewhat overwhelmed by the large amount of information that I will now attempt to reflect upon.

Geneva Gay: "If we are to achieve equally, we must broaden our conception to include the entire culture of the school--not just subject matter content." I would extend this to include the entire community culture, maybe regional culture, maybe national. What will it really take to provide equitable education for all? I think now's the time to think about purposes.

The purpose of education:
  • To better each individual
  • To facilitate the advance and progress of society
  • To provide skills and knowledge necessary to contribute to the progress of society
  • Or, to help "develop the intellectual tools and learning strategies needed to acquire the knowledge that allows people to think productively about history, science and technology, social phenomena, mathematics, and the arts" (p. 5, "Learning: From Speculation to Science").
What are these skills and knowledge?

The purpose of curriculum:
  • To provide a plan of action, to provide the skills and knowledge everyone needs and to describe instructional methods to help teach the skills and knowledge
    • Value others; understand and appreciate other cultures, opinions, and ways of thinking
    • Critical thinking skills
    • Metacognition and transfer skills
    • Historical knowledge that accurately shows the perspectives of multiple cultural groups
    • Communication skills
    • Moral behavior
    • Content-knowledge, in a depth > coverage model
    • Technology skills
p. 22, Developing the Curriculum - Don't "woolly mammoth" the children! Excellent definition of what curriculum should NOT be.

We must rethink what to teach based on our changing society. We must rethink how to teach based on new information about how people learn.

But how can change be achieved? It takes time. People who effect change must be part of the process - bottom-up approach to curriculum development. Change must be gradual and yet holistic.

How would I develop a curriculum from scratch?
  1. Determine the purpose of the curriculum
  2. What is needed to achieve that purpose?
  3. Get input from all levels - student, teacher, parent, administrator, community member, more experienced curriculum developer
  4. Try it out, see how it works
  5. Adapt and try it out again
My goals as a curriculum developer:

To eliminate the reproduction of social inequalities by the school system. This would include reworking the school structure to eliminate tracking, use mixed-ability, mixed-age grouping, teach cultural awareness and appreciation to all faculty, staff, and students, provide a culturally responsive learning community, rework the curriculum to eliminate bias and provide multicultural content, and other things that I am not thinking of so late at night.