More on Subverting the Curriculum

I posted more on Tracy’s question (Why do the very best teachers ignore/subvert curruculum?) over at her place.  As I’m a rabid poster and Tracy is kind enough to have trackbacks, I must repost here.  I MUST.

Here, Here! You got me thinking that some of my best units this year have been ones where I’ve broken the mold a bit, and the one that I’d like to scrap and start over is the most traditional and “check off the standards” based.

I discovered that experimenting is a hard thing to do as fun as it is. There’s more explaining to your department chair about why you’re doing what you’re doing (“When are you starting Julius Caesar, again?), more explaining to the kids (Why are we doing this? Why aren’t other classes doing this? Can’t you just give us a worksheet?), and more explaining to parents (How exactly will building a model school help my son raise his ACT?).

But as much fun as it is, what do my kids mention to me when they reflect on the last semester: those off-the-wall learning things we did–film a commericial, research arguments, create a proposal for a new school–not the quiz on short stories in November

This, of course, raises the great question that in teaching consumes the life, the universe, and everything:

♦Why do I have to ignore/subvert everything that is supposed to help my students learn to actually get them to learn?

2 thoughts on “More on Subverting the Curriculum

  1. Quick answer (with another question) – is anything worth learning un-subvertable? That is, the fun stuff, the stuff that gets the velcro raised on our brains is the out of the box thinking, the – how can I do the assignment in my own way? How can I stretch things so that I find it interesting? Excited, motivated learners are those who are allowed to think outside of the box and mold what is being learned to fit their interests.

    I don’t think it is why do we have to ignore/subvert curriculum but that, by its very nature, it needs to be subverted in order to be learned by different learners.

    Curriculum is written for the masses but learning is an individual (and small group) process.

    • @Tracy Rosen, That is all true, but I believe that how those who package curriculum (textbook, standard test, done in this order, everyone the same) has allowed an unacceptable view of what we are supposed to be doing to come into play. I spent my first teaching year watch my district language coach extol the virtues of the teachers who never strayed from the district text, who always kept their desks in tight little rows, and, of course, wanted to see everyone teaching the same standard the same way at the same time. Maybe it’s just where I’ve been but “teaching the curriculum” is becoming “everyone teaches and assesses the same way/” Isn’t that why we need to subvert?