How do I Choose the Best Teaching Curriculum?

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  • Written By: Amy Hunter
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 04 November 2019
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The best teaching curriculum depends on a number of factors. Some things to consider when choosing a teaching curriculum is how closely it aligns with what you hope to teach. The methods it uses for instruction should be methods you feel comfortable using, and the materials should appear interesting and well designed. A curriculum makes up a great deal of any learning program, so it is important to choose one that you, and your students, will enjoy.

The most important part of choosing a teaching curriculum is choosing one that aligns with what you plan to teach. Each state has its own content standards, and expects certain concepts to be taught to students. Whether you are teaching a classroom or homeschooling one child, it is important to choose a teaching curriculum that meets the content standards for your state. Fortunately, curriculum development companies realize this, and can let you know if their curriculum meets the standards for particular states. Many of the larger curriculum publishers have different versions of textbooks and lesson plans for different states.


The next step in choosing a teaching curriculum is finding one that you are comfortable using. Some curriculums rely heavily on one particular teaching method, such as using phonics to teach reading. Others use a whole-language approach. While both methods are effective ways to teach reading, the one that the teacher is most comfortable using will be the best choice. Other differences in the curriculum may not be as obvious. Some may rely heavily on worksheets, while others rely more on written assignments. Again, one is not necessarily better than the other, but the method must be one that the teacher is comfortable using.

Finally, consider how appealing the teaching material is. With younger children, bright colors and interesting pictures can make learning more interesting, and help hold the interest of the child. Older children often like textbooks that offer sidebars that include related interesting tidbits, particularly in subjects such as science and history. The student does not get to choose the curriculum that is used, but a conscientious teacher will seek out books and study materials that will hold the child's interest.

Many curriculum publishers will provide you with a sample of their curriculum so that you can review it on your own. Take your time to read the content, look at the proposed assignments, and see how closely the testing materials align with your own state's annual standardized testing. It makes sense to invest time initially in choosing a teaching curriculum, because each publisher builds on his or her content from year to year. Making a choice you are happy with once means that you will not have to review curriculum year after year.


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Post 3

@clintflint - That's particularly true because in your first year you're probably going to be expected to present lesson plans to a supervisor all the time in order for them to check that you're working correctly. Creative curriculum teaching strategies should definitely be integrated into this because a good supervisor will be able to give you excellent feedback on them, but having to write everything out in full is just going to take up even more of your already scarce time. I say take as many shortcuts as you can without neglecting the students.

Post 2

@KoiwiGal - Curriculum planning can be a huge hassle for the first few years of teaching, just because you are having to create everything from scratch. I would suggest not even attempting to do that even if you're bursting with new ideas and want to do everything your own way. You will quickly burn out if you try to do that.

Instead make the first year a mix of established lesson plans from experienced teachers (try to find plans that suit your style) and your own original work.

Post 1

One thing that is good to consider is the long term plan, particularly if your subjects depend on prior knowledge. A mistake that a lot of teachers make in the first year is not getting through topics quickly enough. You do have to make sure that students know the subject well enough, but you can't just spend all their time figuring out one topic if they are supposed to know three.

You don't have to have an entire teaching curriculum finished by the beginning of the school year, but a rough outline of when you need to have topics finished by is a must.

Often it will be expected of you by the school anyway and they will have their own way of doing it, but if you need it put into a different format for your own use, go ahead and do that.

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