Teaching is an evolving profession. This is not only because of technology. But learning outcomes also evolve as students need to prepare themselves for dynamic and diverse workplaces. Therefore, educators must constantly update their curriculum to provide students with a practical, engaging, and up-to-date learning experience.
Creating a new curriculum is by no means an easy feat. Teachers have to consider multiple aspects before making changes- no matter how minuscule or radical. So, if you're a teacher who's looking for ways to update their curriculum, we've listed a few strategies to help you out.
To revamp your course material, you must be aware of things around you. Awareness in this scenario refers to the changing dynamics of every field. As a teacher, you should know what level of knowledge the students need at the level you teach. And what knowledge they will need at the next level. For instance, as undergrad computer sciences teacher, it will be useless to teach students about obsolete technology such as floppy disks. The professional world has moved beyond those devices. It would be a waste of time and effort teaching students about them. So you must remain in touch with the knowledge and skills students will need in the future.
Update your credentials
Focused education such as a masters degree in education can equip you with the necessary strategies and know-how to design an effective and engaging curriculum. So, consider this as a more straightforward way to enhance your expertise. Fortunately, you can enroll in such courses online and spend your time and resources wisely. You can also use such credentials to advance to more senior positions involving curriculum design and instruction.
Understand student requirements
Creating a curriculum is not only about updating the topics you need to teach in class. You must ensure you understand and meet students' learning requirements. Students should be able to comprehend the material you teach to them and apply those lessons in practical life.
You can keep a few key things in mind when designing a curriculum. Firstly, focus on the objectives students aim to achieve at the end of the course. In light of their goals and the resources they have at hand, design assignments to meet learning outcomes.
Incorporate digital learning
Conventional teaching methods rely on effective speech and written notes. However, concepts still get lost in translation for some students through this dated learning process. Some may find old-school methods even less engaging altogether. In this case, digital learning can be a viable solution to make learning a more engaging process.
Incorporate software and other digital tools to make teaching more effective. You can also use this opportunity to diversify the course content since students will have access to more information and learning experiences.
Ask other teachers for help
It's never wrong to seek assistance in designing your curriculum. Veteran teachers have years of experience in this department, and they can offer gems from their wealth of knowledge. If you think your strategies may not be practical, senior teachers can guide you to make better decisions and implement better strategies. There's also no need to reinvent every time. You can use tried-and-tested formulae that were successful in the past, which can still be relevant for new students. Their assessment can refine your thinking and perhaps improve your teaching style.
It's imperative to prioritize and plan the time you will spend teaching a topic. Specific topics in a course are difficult to comprehend or lengthy and require time to cover effectively. This requires planning from your end. The flow of the year's curriculum should be divided according to the importance of the topic to ensure better learning outcomes. Planning also helps you prevent cramming and information overload for students. Both of these can negatively impact their ability to learn.
Prepackaging refers to sticking to a pre-planned curriculum as a set course of action. This strategy is ineffective as it may suit only some students. It is essential to understand that each student is unique. Therefore, a prepackaged curriculum may hamper some students' ability to learn. Also, not everything will go according to the path you've charted out for the year. You will have to reconsider some aspects of the course material as time goes by. So improvise.
Feedback is an essential part of the job of a teacher. Ask students to share where they felt the curriculum lacks value and add that into your teaching material and style. Feedback can give a lot of perspectives and help you find common ground in the needs of various students to form a foundation for their curriculum. Live feedback in class can help you refine or reconsider specific strategies in their curriculum for better course coverage.
Every year, teachers face a new batch of students with different problems and mindsets. Forming a curriculum beforehand is a good practice. Still, not every student can fit in one box. To ensure meaningful and engaging collective learning, teachers should continuously gauge student requirements, use a mix of orthodox and digital methods, plan the year, and incorporate feedback. Doing so will help them refine their strategies. Transparency in this profession will only improve the student experience.