¶ … starting the personal journal I found it hard, but after writing the journal entries for the past 8 weeks I have learned a lot, and I found myself to have a better understanding of the curriculum than I did before starting the unit. Before I began the unit I would have had trouble even saying or spelling curriculum properly, and it was not something I thought about very much. However, after doing more research on curriculum and also doing the weekly reading, as well as participating on online discussion with other students, I find that everything together has helped me a lot and given me a better understanding of curriculum. Because of that higher level of understanding I was able to complete the weekly questions and tasks. Now I find that I have to carefully consider my ideas on curriculum, where those ideas were a few short weeks ago, and how they have changed and evolved with the knowledge I have been given, because even eight weeks is a long time when a person is learning.
I used to see curriculum as the same thing as a syllabus. Now I know that the two are very different. What is given on a syllabus is an outline of the direction of the class, but it does not provide the actual knowledge that will be offered to the students (Aubusson, 2011; Kridel, 2010). This was a source of confusion for me in the past, but that is no longer the case. I feel as though I have a much better understanding of the differences between simple syllabi and more complex curricula now, and I also feel as though I have enough knowledge to create both without having to rely on others to help me or guide me as much as I would have in the past. Overall, I know that I am not yet ready to do everything a teacher would do, but I can feel that I have progressed and that I am getting closer to where I would need to be in order to be an efficient and effective teacher. That is a good feeling, and one that has been something I have hoped to attain for a long time.
I have learned many things about curriculum during the past eight weeks, and also about the educational system in general. One of the most significant things I have learned is that curricula around the world is changing. In the past, most teachers would create a curriculum that was based on rigid guidelines of what was done in the past (Atweh & Singh, 2011). Now, more and more teachers are being "open" with their curricula, and offering more choices for students (Brady & Kennedy, 2010). That is very valuable, of course, because it allows teachers and students to grow and change instead of being too focused on what was learned in the past. While the past is an important tool from which to learn, it is equally as important to look to the future and consider everything that needs to be done to prepare students for what lies ahead of them. Without being open to a changing curriculum, it is too difficult to get students ready for a future that is both exciting and uncertain even in the best of times. Students need to be prepared, and they are relying on teachers to help them get the information and the skills they need to get ahead in life.
The curriculum in many countries is still rooted in the past, but it is good to see that there are changes being made that encourage students to learn and grow, instead of simply memorizing facts and figures for a test. Rote memorization is not going to help a student in the real world (Hincks, 2010). There are times when this kind of memorization is necessary, but that does not mean that rote memorization is the only option for students...
There are always choices, and right now one of the biggest choices I will have to make is what kind of curriculum I want to create and what kind of teacher I want to be. Naturally, most teachers want to be liked by their students. Still, they cannot go so far toward trying to be liked that they fail to do their job as teachers and disciplinarians. I will need to remain aware of this as I interact with students and create a curriculum for them.
In order to be effective, a teacher has to be willing to be unpopular sometimes (Ricney, 2011; Weksler, 2004). While that would be difficult for me, I would be willing to do it for the sake of the students who need to learn and who will thank me later when they realize how much I have helped them in their need for knowledge. Ideally, I would have the pleasure of teaching students who really want to learn. Realistically, though, there are always going to be students who are not interested in learning, and who are only doing so because they are required to do so. If I can design a curriculum that will appeal to those students, and will interest them in some way, I will feel as though I have been successful in curriculum design. However, I know it is often impossible to reach every student. The best way to get students interested in learning is to catch them when they are young (Linderberg & Swedlow, 1976). Getting students interested in learning at an early age is one of the main ways to ensure that they still want to learn when they are older (Lattuca & Stark, 2009).
Still, there are no guarantees. I, like anyone who will be teaching others, can only do so much toward making students interested in learning. That does not mean that I should give up on students who do not seem interested, but only that I must not allow a few students who do not respond to my teaching to cause me to second guess myself or the curriculum I have created. By following current curriculum guidelines and incorporating my own personal touches into the curricula I create, I will be able to reach the maximum number of students with the information I have to offer. That will allow me to change lives for the better, which is something not every person gets to do and something that is very important for the future of the country and the world. The children and young people of today really are the future of this planet, and in order to be effective leaders and productive members of society they need the right level and mixture of knowledge (O'Meara, 2005).
Teachers, like parents, want children to be successful, so they try to pass along the knowledge they have about life and the world in general. Even though teachers must "play by the rules" in what they are required to teach, that does not mean they cannot use methods that are unique or different in order to impart that knowledge to the students. The more unique teachers are allowed to be, the more students will respond because they see that the teacher is a real person who loves his or her job and is actively interested in providing valuable knowledge. Much of the reason behind why students get disinterested and fail to learn is because the students do not see why the information being offered to them is important. They do not see the information applying to their lives. Naturally, they are not going to pay close attention to and make an effort to retain information they do not see as valuable. That only makes sense, and would likely hold true for just about any person in any kind of environment where he or she has…
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