09 January 2013

Reflection: Lower-Order Skills and a Curriculum Conundrum

Technically, my blog reflections are supposed to be about my own teaching practices. I think. Well either way, here I go again about Teach Like a Champion:
The more proficient you are at "lower-order" skills, the more proficient you can become at higher order skills (p. 19).
In other words, you have to know your times tables before you can do well at solving complex equations.

But before I can reflect on my practices concerning lower- and higher-order skills, a bigger issue comes to mind: curriculum. In every example given in the book, the teacher has a set of state standards as well as a state test by which to plan and measure student learning. I don't have such.

The whole reason I created this blog in the first place was that I found myself teaching in an area that is not well-represented on the web. The loudest voices out there are elementary teachers and core subject teachers. If I look for teaching resources in the fields of design and media, the vast majority are college-level courses. I'm a junior high design and media teacher. We are very few.

The truth is, I actually do have a set of state standards. But when I look through them, I see old technologies and practices that have been or are being all but phased out. Even the ones that are still quite popular—take screen printing for example (wait, is it being replaced by digital printing?)—would require a lot more resources and a bigger lab than possible.

But before I just complain away my excuses, let me offer this possibility: are these seemingly ancient practices the "lower-order" skills in my content area? When I skip over old tech that I never had to learn, am I robbing them of possible positive proficiency?

And again, maybe a lot of what I gloss over isn't old tech, it just seems old, and I let the students' complaining get to me. Sketching, writing, and storyboarding are three low-tech practices that any pro will tell you are probably more important than learning Adobe Illustrator.

That said, here's to looking forward to the book helping me make sure the kids not only get good lower-order skill practice, but enjoy it, too.

1 comment:

  1. Some basics are needed to create the foundation for skills and knowledge that will transcend to your class and beyond. If they can reach the 'higher' threshold of learning something that is a life skill they can take with them anywhere, that is one of the most critical abilities I think we should shoot for.