Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Curriculum in the Classroom of a Christian School

The following quotes are taken from the ACSI Christian School Education Vol. 11 Nu 3 maginize article "Curriculum in the Classroom of a Christian School. pp. 28-30. Even though it is written for Christian School Educators, I believe everyone will find principles they can apply.

In effective classrooms, teachers consistently attend to at least four elements: whom they teach (students), where they teach (learning environment), what they teach (content), and how they teach (instruction). quoted from Tomlinson and McTighe 2006.

Curriculum is the taught curriculum. What teachers choose to engage in, in their classrooms with their students, is the curriculum. Curriculum is what the children learn and what becomes part of their lives. It cannot be reduced to a list of subjects or a philosophy statement, a scope and sequence or a textbook. These are essential parts of the curriculum documents, but as Edlin describes, these are tracks, the points, and switches that determine the path: "The curriculum is the engine that empowers the whole process."

Christian curriculum can be taught in any subject and classroom of Christian schools. It is certainly easier to make the links to Christian principles in my World Religions class than in my Advanced Placement Chemistry class, but that fact is part of the challengeof being a Christian teacher.

Curriculum used in the classrooms of Christians need not be limited to what has been written by Christian authors and published by Christian publishing companies.

Stop for a moment and ask yourself what your students would write if they had to write "the gospel of my teacher." More than likely they will remember the hidden curriculum-not what you said but what you modeled-the things you considered really important. As John Maxwell puts it, "People do what people see. They forget your words but follow your footsteps."

As Christian teachers, we need to ask the following questions: What is the taught curriculum in my classroom? What will my students carry into their futures? Is my hidden content based on a Biblical view that Christians are children of God, saved by grace, or is it based on humanistic models of child development and human personality?

Education is not so much about learning as it is about learning how to know what we can afford to ignore and forget.

In our teaching, as in Jesus' ministry, there should be a strong link between the standards and benchmarks (objectives) and the outcomes. Students need to know what is important not to forget.

Assessment, reinforcement, and review that link back to both the declarative knowledge and the procedural knowledge will then enable students to retrieve and apply the knowledge in real-life situations.


ruth auty said...

this is amazing - that's my husband! awesome.... we teach in HK - so are you a teacher?

Tim said...

I am a junior high principal at Northside Christian Academy in Charlotte, NC. Check out our website at I taught junior and senior high math for years.

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