Curriculum, Textbooks, and the Role of Teachers in Curriculum Planning
As a quality school, Colorado Springs Christian Schools places a high priority on the continuous development of its instructional program and the documentation that guides that program. At each grade level taught and in each secondary course, an instructional program includes far more than the contents of any textbook. The CURRICULUM GUIDE is a description of what is taught throughout the school, and as such, it…
(1) describes the school’s instructional program
(2) helps to ensure continuity between grade levels
and subject areas, and
(3) guides the teacher in planning instructional activities and purchasing of textbooks and materials,
(4) provides a basis for evaluation of the school’s instructional program.
It is understood that the curriculum development process takes time and that it is revisited on a regular basis to keep it effective and applicable. While the initial development of a site-specific curriculum document will take several years, the true value is found in the ongoing revisit of those documents, the adjustment and revision that keep them current, and the updating in response to new educational research, instructional trends, and emerging content. As a school matures and adjusts its instructional program, the curriculum guide must change as well, reflecting improvements to instruction, changes in supportive materials, and expansion of the school’s biblical integrative components.
The curriculum guide is a tool to inform the work of the teacher. A school’s curriculum guide is a collaborative effort of teachers in the same department or grade level as well as those above and below it. Members of the faculty at other levels review the guide for a given level to insure that gaps and overlaps do not exist.
Finally, the heart of any school’s instructional program should be the teacher. At CSCS, we refer to our faculty as the Living Curriculum. While we work hard at providing a great course of study, engaging instructional activities, and mission appropriate materials, it is up to the teacher to make it come alive in the spirit with which it was developed. Through diligent support and regular evaluations, we make sure that this curriculum is followed with fidelity so that students at our school are truly receiving the experience for which they came.