When I think of the curriculum and teaching methods I was required to use in my classroom, the idea that my effectiveness might be dependent upon them makes me want to lie down with a damp wash cloth on my forehead. Manipulatives and discovery instead of basic arithmetic? Endlessly revising ”small moments” and teaching the writing process to 10-year olds instead of basic grammar? No time for even basic science, social studies because of district demands for ever larger math and literacy blocks? If it fails, it’s on me? Seriously?Erin Johnson left a comment:
Robert, Why do you think that the LA Teachers Union (or the national unions) have not highlighted the issue of curricula?
I have recently been in contact with a LA teacher who was rated “more effective” in math by the LA Times. She states that her good rating was probably due to the fact that she “subversively” uses Saxon math instead of her district adopted program. Do ed reformers expect that teachers will subvert the curricula adoption process?
And here is Robert again:
I’m not sure curriculum reform is on anyone’s radar screen in a big way, including the unions. I used to regularly subvert…er…adapt my math curriculum to assure automaticity on basic functions. 5th graders counting on their fingers or multiplying with arrays is an offense to my sensibilities. I had less flexibility on ELA since there was lots of joint planning and execution involved. I’d go as far as saying my school’s ELA program (“It’s not a curriculum, Mr. Pondiscio, it’s a philosophy,” I can still hear the staff developer reminding me) is what turned me into a curriculum advocate.Curriculum effects and value-added