If you have ever planned a large group outing or a vacation, you know that things tend to get done more easily when you’ve made a schedule beforehand. For the same reason it is not only useful but important that the state creates a plan for the education of young students, in other words a curriculum.
In the same vein, if you have planned a fun day at the beach and a thunderstorm rolls in, without the ability to think on your feet the day will be ruined. As such, maybe teachers and those with experience in educational leadership courses online should have the flexibility to change their lesson plans to better suit the needs of their students. This is especially important since changing the curriculum itself, often a complicated undertaking, can be a slow process. There are however some positive and negative sides to any argument:
Cons of Flexibility in Curriculums:
Students Fall Behind
There are a few drawbacks in allowing teachers flexibility to deviate from the state curriculum. First, teachers are already hard pressed to fulfill curriculum requirements. If a teacher takes an extra few days on any one subject, it becomes more likely that time will be taken away from another subject, leaving students less prepared in certain areas that they would have been otherwise.
Another possible problem with allowing curricular deviation is that a teacher may accidentally cover a subject that the student is meant to learn later on, or has learned already. This creates a redundancy that could otherwise be avoided, thus wasting the student’s time with material she already knows.
Lower Test Scores
Lastly, following a curriculum gives the state a basis upon which to test students and allows them to assume a certain level of knowledge in the various subjects. Were a teacher to deviate too far from the curriculum, he would risk leaving his students at a disadvantage when taking state-wide exams. This would cause the students to score poorly and could hinder their chances at further academic pursuits.
Pros of Flexibility in Curriculums:
As mentioned earlier, there are also several reasons teachers should be allowed flexibility when adhering to the curriculum. The first of these is that some students may need more time to grasp difficult concepts, and allowing teachers to extend time spent on any one subject might be necessary to drive a concept home. Along with this, flexibility allows teachers to tailor their lesson plans to greater suit the needs and interests of the individual students – engaged minds are more likely to retain information.
Higher level of Engagement
Another possible positive outcome from flexibility is that teachers can relate their lesson plan to current events. This is especially applicable for social studies and history teachers who may want to use stories from the past to give students a better understanding of the current political climate. Science teachers also have a great opportunity to use modern technology for lecturing on new concepts with practical applications that further a student’s relationship with the sciences though it may not be on the curriculum.
Last but not least, flexible adherence to the curriculum allows the teachers to put something personal into education. If students are on track to meet all state standards and realize success with basic knowledge, teachers should be able to go above and beyond by teaching more advanced concepts within a subject, or even lesser-known subsets of ideas that might not be found in a textbook. In this way, the educator is allowed to show more passion for subjects he or she is excited about and that excitement gets passed on to the students, who will benefit from a broader range of subject knowledge.
In closing, it is important to understand the need for a state-directed curriculum as an integral part of our vast education system. It is, however, equally important to allow educators the direct link between students and educational standards, to take personal responsibility in the teaching of their students.