If you are an exceptional school, then having teachers and school admin collaborate and communicate via evidentiary data from the “operational curriculum” in a recursive and systematic manner should be your utmost concern. This does not only foster an authentic, databased curricular dialogue, but is also one of the best professional development antidotes to the failing traditional external, aloof workshops that, at its best, and based on study findings, might result in a month of instructional practice improvement.
Similar to any map, but more so like Google Maps, curriculum mapping allows you to see the “Big Picture” of the whole curriculum. It allows you to step back to see the tapestry of your curriculum. This allows you to see how curriculum, instructional practices, assessments are aligned, or misaligned. However, make sure you have a high quality curriculum design and mapping, it is critical to follow the four phases of curriculum development as recommended by Heidi Jacobs. The 4 phases can be also be more so of professional development as school faculty are engaged in the (re)design or the curriculum whilst wearing the “Researcher Hat”.
Jacobs (2004) states that
…curriculum maps have the potential to become the hub for making decisions about teaching and learning. Focusing the barrage of initiatives and demands on schools into a central database that can be accessed from anywhere through the Internet can provide relief…Mapping becomes an integrating force to address not only curriculum issues, but also programmatic ones.
4 Critical Phases of Curriculum Mapping
Phase 1: Laying the Foundation
Prologue for Planners, Establishing Reasons to Map, Creating a Vision for Your School
Phase 2: Launching the Process
Ensuring Long-Term Support, Creating Individual Maps, Initiating the Review Process,
Developing Consensus Maps, Master Mapping Strategies
Phase 3: Maintaining, Sustaining, and Integrating
Merging Assessment Data into Maps, Integrating Literacy, Developing an Implementation
Plan/Map, Making the HUB work: Integrating Other Initiatives
Phase 4: Advanced Mapping Tasks
Into the Future: Updating Maps for the 21st Century
Here’s a video for D. Jacobs clarifying eahc of the phases above.
Here’s Dr. Jacobs in a 2011 TedTalk about the state of curriculum mapping.
Are you mapping your curriculum at your school? If so, what are the challenges you currently face? What curriculum mapping system re you using, if any? If not, it is easy to start with the right step, the first phase.