Modern curricula are changing rapidly as learning outcomes adapt to reflect the knowledge and skills students need to succeed in the 21st century. This change relies on innovative curriculum development as well as competent leadership to facilitate the implementation of new curriculum design.
In response to these changes, Emporia State University offers the online Master of Science (MS) in Curriculum & Instruction (C&I) – Effective Practitioner PreK-12 program, focused on advanced, innovative curriculum design along with leadership skill development. The combination of these two key areas of study provides degree candidates with the knowledge and skills needed to be more effective teachers and leaders in today’s complex educational environment.
Curriculum Design in the 21st Century
Traditional academic competencies are still essential to modern curriculum design. And curricula must continue to align with standards as set forth by district and state educational bodies. But, increasingly, competencies in life-skills like collaboration, cultural literacy and digital literacy are also considered essential to student success and must be incorporated into curriculum design. Many educators believe traditional curriculum design to be outdated, failing to represent or serve the needs of a student body that continues to become more diverse in today’s globalized, digitized world.
Why Is It Important for Teachers to Develop Advanced Curriculum Skills?
The changes and innovation in 21st century education bodes well for improving student learning and equity in today’s schools. But the success of implementing curriculum change, technology integration and innovations in instructional methodology relies heavily on the skills and competencies of the classroom practitioner: The teacher.
Teachers are on the front lines as schools navigate the complex shift from print to digital education in the classroom. They must synthesize a variety of instruction and assessment modalities and determine how to best support individualized student achievement and success across learning outcomes. In this innovative practice, traditional, teacher-managed instruction is being replaced with a more collaborative student-centered approach. Students are given more choice in their engagement with and demonstration of their learning. Teachers have assumed the role of guide, providing resources and support as students navigate this process, using technologies to scale the potential of personalized learning.
To do this successfully, teachers need to be equipped with advanced knowledge of developing curriculum design including the digital resources, inclusive subject material and technologies available. ESU’s online MS in C&I for practitioners provides students an opportunity to study all of these subjects in depth.
How Can Teachers Benefit From Leadership Skills?
Experienced educators with advanced leadership skills are positioned to impact the effectiveness of curriculum change from design and development through training and implementation. Teachers know their students best and see firsthand what works well in the classroom and what engages students most effectively. Indeed, studies show that curriculum change as well as the professional development and education it takes to implement that change are most effective when teachers are involved directly with curriculum development and leadership.
But teachers are not only the practitioners of curriculum change; they drive the change as leaders. Research suggests that fostering competencies in leadership and curriculum design through teacher education programs is key to the success of integrating teachers as curricular leaders. In this way, gaining leadership and curriculum skills through programs like ESU’s online MS in C&I – Effective Practitioner PreK-12 will strengthen teachers’ influence in meeting the evolving challenges of education in the 21st century.
International Journal of Teacher Leadership: Teacher as Curriculum Leader: A Consideration of the Appropriateness of that Role Assignment to Classroom-Based Practitioners Historical Role of Teacher in Curriculum Development