How to create a curriculum that can help prepare children for adulthood?
That’s the question students and educators around the country are asking this fall, with some educators setting out to redesign a national curriculum in their home districts.
The idea is to shift a focus away from teaching students to engage them, and instead to train them to make decisions and make the world better.
“The emphasis is on the teacher,” says Nancy Pizzuti, a teacher and director of the Learning and Education Network, a nonprofit group that’s working to redesign curriculum across the country.
“We’re thinking about teachers as the key players in a more complex, multi-dimensional education system.”
Pizzti and her group are calling for a curriculum modeled on the curriculum developed by the National Academy of Sciences, and they are asking for input from educators in both rural and urban settings.
The idea is for the new curriculum to begin with a discussion about what it means to teach and how to teach, Pizzetti says.
That’s how educators are starting to think about how to change curricula in classrooms around the United States, especially in areas where the number of students is high.
The focus is not just on how to improve student learning, Pazzuti says, but also on how they can make those students feel more empowered and successful.
This year, Pazuti’s group is hosting an online workshop that will explore what can be done to teach students to make better decisions.
The workshop, which will be held at the National Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of Washington, will be streamed online through the organization’s educational platform, the Learning Academy.
To learn more about the Learning Academies initiative, check out the Learning Education Network’s website.
Students can sign up for the learning academies online course through the Learning Arts Center, which has a schedule for a one-day workshop in their classroom.
Pizzuti says the goal is to have teachers in all kinds of environments — from kindergarten through college — and to build curricula that meet the needs of the students in their classrooms.
It’s not a new idea, but it’s also a challenge, Piazuti says.
It’s not just that the teaching is going to change.
It also will be a challenge to think through how we’re going to get there.
“The question is, can we make the curriculum that works in our classrooms, so that the students feel empowered to make the right decisions, and then to be able to make those decisions in the context of our society?”
That’s why she and other educators are launching the Learning Academy.
Pizziti and the Learning Center have launched a website to give teachers and parents a place to share their experiences and brainstorm ideas for their classroom plans.
In an effort to help build the curriculum, Pizuti and her team are offering a new resource, the Educators Guide, that helps educators create their own curriculum for their own school districts.
Pizotti says the tool will help parents and teachers develop their own plans and make sure they’re engaging with the curriculum in the right way.
But while the Learning Alliance is aiming to create the first curriculum in schools, other organizations are also trying to design curricula for classrooms.
The American Council on Education is launching the National Teachers’ Learning Plan, which outlines how teachers and principals can design curriculums that align with their own beliefs.
The plan is being spearheaded by the nonprofit organization Parents for Excellence, and Pizzutti says the effort is being led by educators and parents from both rural schools and urban schools.
She says that both groups are working together to help the learning academy grow.
As for Pizzuta and her fellow educators, the goal isn’t just to create new curricula, but to make learning fun again.
She says there’s a new urgency to create programs that encourage students to think differently, engage in creative thinking and take action, and to be proactive.
“I think the biggest challenge that we have in this country is not the teacher shortage, the biggest challenges are that we are not going to have a national dialogue about how we teach,” Pizzuto says.
“There is not a national conversation about how best to engage the students, how to be innovative in our curriculum and how we create an environment that’s conducive to learning.”
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