Wednesday, 24 May 2006

Curriculum is Dead - Teacher as Tour Guide

by David Warlick

Education, defined by it limits, required a curriculum that was packaged into products that could be easily used in the classroom. We used textbooks with scope and sequence, pacing guides, and a teacher’s guide with the answers.

Education, defined by it’s lack of limits, requires no such packaging. It’s based on experiences, tied to real-world, real-time information that spans the entire spectrum of media — crafted an facilitated by skilled teachers, who become more like tour guides than assembly-line workers.

Great points.

As I continue to develop the concepts in learning Design (1 and 2 here, the rest coming), I think a lot about the role of content and the scope of content or experience which should be provided to a learner in order to empower to learner to meaningful participation. [Sorry for the strange words used here. Please read my previous posts. :-)]

Informal learning cannot ensure a broad coverage of experience (compared to a well designed formal setting). Informal learning is "chance"-driven and formal learning is "plan"-driven.

I have questioned the validity of "expert" designed curriculum. I also question how much we know about the future in which our students will operate. How can we convince ourselves that the curriculum we plan for our students will cover all the skills and knowledge they will need? How can we sleep peacefully at night?

However, the alternate is equally difficult. Do we meet our duty of care if we just let the learners venture to different content as chances bring them? When we guide them, where are we guiding them to?

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