This week we are heading into the module five of our PME 811 course. I continue to focus on my burning question of:
How do we keep our teaching innovative and creative? How do stay relevant and create programming that follows curriculum, teaches students the necessary skills and engages them with the material?
Last week, I received quite a few peer responses to curriculum experiences on my blog post “Power of Change”. Each of them working in completely different settings: Universities, an international school, and a private school. I would still be interested to hear the thoughts of someone in the public school system in Ontario too. However, it was nice to hear of the curriculum freedom they all have.
I enjoyed the response of our professor Dr. ABC:
Academic freedom is a really big factor for many professors. This varies from institution to institutions. Personally, I have seen a wide range. Using my own experience, I have had the freedom up to 80% in one university and in others 40%. Oftentimes the reason has to do with structure and the need to ensure students know what is happening at all times. I do see us “innovation and creativity” in this world of high accountability and structure.
It’s amazing how much curriculum can differ from school to school. I look forward to being able to contribute more to these experiences in the very near future, but it got me thinking about the level of structure that is still needed in post-secondary institutions. Of course, freedom to be creative and innovative is important, but so is making sure the students are getting the same general information about their field regardless of where they went to school.
Sometimes, when I listen to friends (or myself) compare our educational experiences, it amazes me how much a program can differ from school to school. Terminology, resources, tools, case studies, textbooks – they differ so greatly depending on who is teaching the course. I’ve had professors that lecture the whole time and I’ve had professors that barely lectured and relied on guest speakers. Both styles had their pros and cons, but I am now pondering the balance between the structure and innovation…
As Ryan said in my last blog post comments, he likes using the curriculum and having the structure. Maybe structure is not so bad?