Educational theories and research on best practices are constantly changing, and for every paper you read, there will always be someone who comes up with a deviated or opposing answer. As for curriculums, unless you are bound by government, there are a myriad to choose from, ranging from the International Primary Curriculum (IPC), to the International Baccalaureate (IB) and the Cambridge International curriculum, etc. Schools make their choices based on various reasons, ranging from administrative preferences to student demographics, needs, and budgets. And at the end of the day, is there one correct theory, philosophy, method, or curriculum? From my experience and in my opinion, no, there isn’t.
Throughout my career, I have never worked for two schools that approached education in the same manner. Some administrators preferred teachers to follow thematic units, and some not. I have followed Canadian curriculums, international curriculums, taught at schools where split-classes were preferred to straight grade level classes, taught at schools with varying philosophies, etc. In all of this, I have come to realize that most of what I have been exposed to and learned has merit and value, and it is for this reason that as I have mentioned before, when I take on a consulting job to design an Educational Framework for a school, I come in as a blank slate. It is not my place to question what a school chooses in so far as curriculums, methods, philosophy, etc. My job is simply to provide the Educational Framework to make it happen, because this seems to be the missing factor across the board – the clear plan of action that empowers teachers and enables them to implement the administration’s wishes to the fullest.
In education we spend far too much time debating the correctness of different viewpoints – what is the best curriculum, the best philosophy, the best teaching method…. Depending on a school’s situation and clientele, it is up to administration to make the most suitable and beneficial choices. From there, how successful a school is depends on implementation. Theories, philosophies, methods, etc. all serve purposes – they enlighten us, push us to think outside our comfort zone and educate us, but unless we have a plan for how to use them within the context of a school, then they are just ideas that may not become reality.
Has your school has answered its whys and is it ready to move onto the hows?
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