Introduction, Option D:
Teachers and Curriculum Decisions

Estimated Time: 15 minutes.

List of Materials

Sample Presentation

Begin your workshop by introducing yourself or having someone introduce you. Become acquainted with the participants. If the group is small, you may wish to have individuals introduce themselves. In a large group, you may wish to have people respond to such general questions as, "How many teach grades K-2 (3-5, etc.)?" or to make such general comments as, "I was happy to meet some of you at the convention and to be invited to tell you more about SFAA and Benchmarks." Set a more specific context for the workshop if it is appropriate to do so.

TRANSPARENCY: Science Teacher Survey on Curriculum and Instruction Decisions.

Presenter: These items were included in a 1990 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) survey of 8th-grade science teachers. Review these items and decide how you would respond to each one. Write down where you would place yourself on the scale. Be prepared to share with the group your position on the scale and why you think that best describes your position.

Collect data from the group on each item and allow time for discussion of each item—enough to determine some of the different ways in which individuals decided where to position themselves.

Presenter: Let’s look at the data collected from the 1990 NAEP survey.

TRANSPARENCY: Results of Science Teacher Survey on Curriculum and Instruction Decisions.

Presenter: These data indicate that

What might account for so many teachers’ reliance on a textbook when they report that they feel free to make decisions about curriculum?

Possible responses: They need it as a guide; they don’t have time to create their own curriculum; they don’t want to choose what to teach; they can’t buy other resources.

Presenter: If you use a textbook, do you feel in control of how you use it? How do you exercise that control?

Possible responses: Make changes in what is in the text, e.g., questions asked; order of presentation of materials; add material; leave material out.

Presenter: Think for a moment about these questions: How do you make decisions about what to change? What to add? What to eliminate?

Regardless of the curriculum resource you use, how would you answer this question: What are the two most important criteria that must be met for you to decide to use or not use a curriculum resource or some portion of that resource?

Possible answers: It calls for hands-on activities, cooperative learning groups, meaningful contexts for activities, or diverse learning strategies. Perhaps the discussion will yield responses such as; it identifies clear learning objectives; it conforms with my state or local curriculum guide or framework; it contains a reasonable amount of material to cover in a year course; it presents material in a way my students can understand.

Record responses to this question on a blank transparency or chart paper.