If you want to make your curriculum design stand out and then successfully carry it out, you should prepare very cautiously. You should also be very concentrated when designing and carrying out your curriculum. Theory supports this observation. For example, Elliot Eisner said that a very good education curriculum was a sort of artwork (Flinders & Thornton, 2004). Eisner wrote that in America schools had course which were both too narrow and too poorly balanced. He thought it was because the designers failed to think artistically.
Scholars agree that designing and bringing into play a long-term curriculum is impossible without two major things. One is a qualified team led by a powerful leader (teacher) and the other is a goal shared by the team. Both are necessary. They will help bring improvements to a student’s personality. They will doctor up learning and thinking skills. At the same time, you will only make your curriculum effective if students are open, ready, and enthusiastic about critical thinking. It will only be effective if students apply it in everyday practice. Also, it is expected that the teacher will communicate the curriculum design to students. It is expected that he or she will carry it out in a clear and consistent manner, so that students know what they are to achieve. Ralph W. Tyler (in Flinders & Thornton, 2004) asserted: one should make sure that the curriculum is dynamic. He also said it has to be full of regular assessments and revisions. The scholar advised that teachers should regularly evaluate the teaching plans. He said they should work to integrate into the plans the needs of students (Flinders & Thornton).
In my practice, I follow similar principles. If I plan lessons and assessments, I, above all, give a high priority to my students’ needs. My aim in this case is to provide for everyone in my class to grow into a highly attentive learner. I aim at helping every student grow into an advanced critical thinker. In addition, I aim at helping them grow personally. How do I enhance students’ academic development? I do it by applying various tools that promote critical thinking. Based on Stones (2012), I motivate students to question claims and assertions. What’s more, I encourage them to think out loud. Also, I set up a supportive environment for learning. This is the way to help students develop the skill of divergent thinking. I am aware that an effective lesson and assessment plan should address the set objectives in learning. In order to monitor the process of learning, I find it useful to question my students. I do this with the purpose of checking how well they grasp the material. I also want to know how well they progress.
If to take the activities within specific units, I take into account diverse factors. The factors are as follows: the levels of students’ ability, students’ attention spans, student’s interests, students’ special needs, along with students’ capacity to work in teams. Besides, I ensure that the material I offer is well-researched. In addition, I ensure all learning objectives are set well and communicate them clearly to the learners. Also, I make use of teaching materials during the classes. I make sure that the students can successfully use them at their language competency levels.
In Saudi Arabia, my school curriculum was designed in the way that it served students’ needs. It had both differentiated instruction and all-inclusive approach to learning. It directed learning to become a natural process. Also, the teachers who taught us applied the criterion-referenced method. It was used when they needed to assess students’ results and progress. Based on James Popham, the criterion-referenced assessment enables teachers to advance learning. It improves evaluation. Also, it facilitates decision-making because it is more suitable than the assessment that is norm-referenced (Popham in Bond, 1996). Unlike norm-referenced assessment, which leads to large gaps between those who study better and those who study worse, the criterion-based assessment focused on shaping students as thinkers. It motivated the students to demonstrate they could work independently. Similarly to Eisner, I support the idea that an outstanding curriculum should be full of the importance of art. I also support the idea that teachers ought to give priority to students’ needs and help them grow personally.
School curriculums should combine subjects that will be studied every year. It should work out a sequent program for every schooling year. To illustrate, Cambridge schools function within a variety of contexts. In every context, there is a different requirement expectation. The study material contained within the curriculum should align with school and nation requirements. What powers it? The values and vision of the organization do. Essentially, it lies at the center of schools’ chosen strategies of improvement. These are the focus on raising the rate of achievement and making better the study results for all learners. As a matter of fact, Cambridge is aware that even though some schools prefer to use a curriculum consisting solely of combinations of various Cambridge courses and to combine these courses into a study program, other schools are more likely to opt for individual subject syllabuses. They will later combine these with the qualifications as well as study programs from various other national or international providers. A set of principles are to be used here. Overall, the school must offer a program that has a consistent, broad, coherent, and well-balanced program.