The term “curriculum planning” can refer to either an individual teacher’s process of creating a class curriculum or the process which school boards coordinate the various curricula used teachers in order to achieve uniform goals. A curriculum is essentially a lesson plan that serves as a learning map on its own. Careful planning is required to ensure that the lessons cover all required topics and that they also meet school or governmental basic education standards.
In order to teach effectively, teachers usually need to have a good idea of where their courses are going. One of the most effective ways for teachers to look objectively at what needs to be taught over the course of a semester or year, then organize an effective way to get from beginning to end, is to create a curriculum plan.
Most of the time, teachers are not working alone; rather, they are teaching alongside a large group of students who are covering similar material. For example, a large elementary school might have four or five third-grade classrooms. Regardless of the teacher in charge, schools typically want to ensure that all third graders are learning the same things. Institutional curriculum planning comes into play here. Curriculum plans are used schools to establish overarching goals and basic requirements that teachers must adhere to in order to maintain some degree of consistency.
Teachers frequently plan their curriculum during the summer months when school is not in session. Plans can range from simple outlines to detailed charts and reports, but they almost always include a rough idea of when things will happen and what topics will be covered. Exams, papers, and other forms of assessment are usually included as well.
During the summer months, most schools host curriculum planning meetings where teachers can share ideas and work on curriculum plans. Before the school year begins, teachers are required to submit their plans to a school reviewer. Reviewers examine plans to ensure that they meet any requirements that have been established.
The majority of curriculum planning is divided into five stages: setting the stage, planning lessons, implementing those lessons, tracking progress, and assessing learning. Teachers and school boards frequently begin with context to keep the overarching goals at the forefront of the planning process. The context is almost self-evident in a nuanced class like astronomy. School benchmarks and end goals must be kept in mind for broader classes like “second grade” or “seventh grade math,” however, in order to keep a curriculum plan on track.
Instructors have the most freedom when it comes to lesson planning and implementation. Teachers can almost always organize their lessons and classroom activities as they see fit, despite the fact that schools frequently assign required reading lists or text books. Teachers are usually the best people to assess individual student needs, and they are encouraged to adapt lessons as needed to help students understand. When it comes to current events and breaking news, teachers must be flexible: if something happens in the world that directly relates to a lesson or has an impact on students’ lives, teachers will often try to incorporate it into the day’s instruction.
Curriculum plans make it simple for teachers and schools to keep track of their students’ progress. When lessons follow a predetermined path, it’s easy to spot when students are falling behind or when objectives aren’t being met. In this way, planning can act as a safety net to ensure that no major concepts are forgotten during the teaching process.
Planning is another important tool for schools to use to streamline student evaluations. In an ideal world, students should learn the same fundamental concepts regardless of their teacher. Teachers are frequently required to incorporate specific assessment rubrics into their curriculum planning in order to ensure consistency across the school, district, or region. This can be as strict as standardized tests at times. Teachers often have the freedom to create their own tests and paper assignments, but they must rely on student results to demonstrate that certain concepts have been grasped.
Homeschooling Special Considerations
Parents who choose to homeschool their children face a variety of curriculum planning challenges. Local government entities set home school curriculum in some places, just as they do in public and most private schools — but not always. To ensure that their children learn as well as their peers in more traditional schools, parents must usually devote a significant amount of time to researching and planning their curricula.
There is usually no school board looking for uniformity in a home school setting. Rather, it is the parent’s responsibility to ensure that the curriculum chosen includes everything the student will need to know. When it comes to standardized tests and college or university admissions, a plan that is too easy can put children at a disadvantage. Overly difficult plans, on the other hand, frequently cause students to overlook important details. Parents looking for the right balance can turn to a variety of home school organizations and community groups for curriculum planning resources.