4 Key Characteristics of an Effective Curricular Program

As noted in a recent blog, trusted school leaders ensure that the pursuit of Authentic Literacy and student learning is supported by meaningful and immediate Feedback for Learning. In this way, they demonstrate competency and build trust. In addition, trusted school leaders demonstrate their level of competency when they ensure the full breath of the curricular program is marked by the following four key characteristics:

  1. Simplicity The entire curriculum is broken down into simple doable parts. As educators, we tend to complicate the simple, and complexity competes with the second key characteristic.
  1. Clarity Clear expectations for both students and teachers are essential. Learning standards are not just in a lesson plan or a curriculum map. Expected daily learning outcomes, and their assessments, are visible to students during every class. Teachers provide examples of mastery-level student work.
  2. Priority In other words, the curricular program is not an addendum or after-thought to the functioning of the school. If the teachers are the heart of the school, then the curriculum is the mind. Time, personnel, and resources invested in the quality and consistency of the curriculum is a driving concern of the school at all times.
  3. Activity “One of the most important insights from our research is that knowledge that is actually implemented is much more likely to be acquired from learning by doing than from learning by reading, listening, or even thinking.”[1] Reading, listening, and thinking must be directly connected to writing and speaking, which produces Authentic Literacy.

When the above characteristics are in place, curriculum programs are effective, successful, and foster an environment of trust.

©2017 Toby A. Travis

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[1] Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I. Sutton, The Knowing-Doing Gap: How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge into Action (Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1999), 198-199, Kindle.

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