What’s Most Important?

As I continue to revise my unit plan, I continue to ask myself the same question: what really needs to happen in these five weeks? Over the course of the year? I think my main conclusion is that we cannot accomplish all of the various activities that our students should experience and use the repetition strategy proposed in Understanding by Design. At least, we can’t do it in 50 to 80 minutes a day. Now, I’m personally for year-long school and interdisciplinary classes, but I know that’s not going to be the case in public schools for some time. So, I return to my question.

Is structuralist theory so important that it should be taught with more time and focus than feminist theory? Because structuralism and deconstructionism are more difficult to understand than African-American theory does it get taught instead? What about reading workshop and literature circles? What do we sacrifice in order to devote huge portions of time to these important activities? Do we do everything in a shortened version, so we can fit everything in? Is cooperation between grade levels the only way to exposed students to the array of necessary theories, expereinces and topics?

What do we think? Everyone must have some sort of opinion on this….

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One response to “What’s Most Important?

  1. sunyprof

    Jillian, Your questions go to the heart of the matter and the real purpose of this assignment.

    Thinking about what is important to teach–and as you put it, “what really needs to happen in 5 [or 10, or 15, or 20, etc. You get the idea!] weeks?” and how to teach it is the core of the challenge in our work. And that challenge is as demanding (for instructors) right up through undergraduate and graduate programs.

    As you know, many different stakeholders in the educational process would answer your question in as many different ways. Curricula and pedagogy are sites of contestation–and highly political discourses. My earlier post asks you to think about the overarching/essential understandings and questions that inform our field and is focused on producing the same “answers” your own post seeks to elicit.

    I’m glad you’re facing some of these questions–even hypothetically–in your thinking about unit planning. How you answer them over the long haul will determine the body of work you and your students do — together. KES

    An interesting side note–take a look at the most recent comment from “Darren” in response to Raph’s original post on the Gatto reading. What do we think about that?

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