19 Jul 4 Truths about Teachers & Curriculum
by Dr. Susan Udelhofen, Curriculum Consultant
Dr. Susan Udelhofen has been working with teachers & curriculum for close to two decades. She is an educator, international curriculum consultant, and author. Susan brings a student-centered focus to curriculum design, as well as a keen awareness that mapping should be both practical and meaningful for teachers.
In February, Susan joined us for our Mid-Atlantic Regional to share her expertise and experience. The landscape of education is constantly shifting and working with schools and districts is always dynamic. It can often feel as though exceptions outnumber the rules. Despite this, Susan has boiled down what she has learned to 4 “truths” of curriculum work.
As a curriculum consultant who has been working for nearly 20 years in the area of curriculum writing and development, I’ve seen a lot of curriculum work come and go. However, there are a few things that I’ve learned and believe I know for sure:
1. Teachers Want Structure and Flexibility
Teachers want to clearly understand what they are supposed to teach. They also want the flexibility to deliver the curriculum in ways that best suits them and their students. Administrators need to provide a balance that clearly identifies the “what”, yet allows teachers to have the freedom to determine the “how”.
2. Teachers Need to “Talk” About What They Do
I call it “map and talk”. Teachers need to talk to one another for support, to share expertise, and to gather other’s ideas and opinions. To ensure this happens, there must be structures in place that support and ensure these conversation take place and are captured within the maps.
Teachers are better when they talk to one another in focused, meaningful ways.
3. Teachers Want Efficiency
Teachers want easy ways to document, share, and analyze. Again, this brings us back to “map and talk”. If the process is not easy and efficient, teachers will quickly become impatient, antsy, and reach for those ubiquitous stacks of papers to grade. A sustainable mapping process will look to streamline each phase, with the ever guiding questions: Is this meaningful? Is this useful?
4. Teachers Need Time
It is imperative to build in focused time to write, analyze and discuss curriculum. Each school or district needs to take a hard look at the time they have available in their schedules and actively dedicate time to curriculum work.