My Top Ten Assumptions About Curriculum

I believe a good first step in any new endeavor is to unearth one’s assumptions. In this first blog post, I will start our conversation by unearthing some of my own assumptions.

Assumptions are the things you believe to be true…and we all have them. They can change and evolve, become refined or rigid. They can blind us, or increase our resolve. Our assumptions are informed by our unique layers of life experience and learning. They are the lenses through which we view every situation, make every decision, take every action, and form every reaction.

While schools are expected and legally obliged to serve many purposes, my central assumption is:

The primary responsibility of a school community is to teach: to teach so that its students will learn what they need to know and be able to do.

Given that, here are my top ten assumptions about curriculum:

  1. The curriculum identifies what students need to know and be able to do.
  2. For teachers, the curriculum must answer the question: “What am I supposed to teach?”
  3. For students, the curriculum must answer the question: “What am I supposed to learn?”
  4. For parents, the curriculum must answer the question: “What is my child supposed to learn?”
  5. The answer to any of these questions about curriculum must be specific and readily accessible.
  6. Standards are intended points of student mastery, not a curriculum.
  7. A textbook is a resource, not a curriculum.
  8. If content in the curriculum isn’t developmentally appropriate, a student will not learn it.
  9. If a student is missing key prerequisite skills, s/he will not learn the targeted skills in the curriculum.
  10. All students are different; therefore, generic, or static curriculum documents will always be inaccurate.

Now that I’ve told you some of my assumptions, what are some of yours?