Interns- Curriculum Development Process

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Revision as of 09:38, 17 November 2017 by Williaas (Talk | contribs) (A Check on Content and Instruction)

Curriculum Foundations

Enduring Idea

An enduring idea in curriculum is a concept that has drawn attention of people over time. These are issues that extend beyond specific disciplines. Some examples of enduring ideas:

  • Identity
  • Power
  • Conflict
  • Ritual
  • Humans and Nature
  • Change
  • Communication

A enduring idea is very generate and unlimited. Often key concepts or questions can provide the impetus and focus for the development of the instruction. Enduring ideas help teachers to avoid activities that aren't connected to lifelong learning. It's a way to link academia subject matter to life-focused issues.

It can be impractical and unrealistic to just select an enduring idea as the starting point to curriculum. More often, curriculum design starts from looking at media artwork, a learning objective, a piece of technology or equipment, personal interest, etc. Often you need to search for the enduring idea.

Curriculum is inherently about choice. We want it to be relevant and diverse.


  • Student interest and need
  • Media understanding and processes
  • Contemporary culture


An awareness of the range of possibilities in a particular area regarding ideas, issues, themes, artists, artwork, artifacts, or groups that are studied.

Getting Started:

1. Choosing the Enduring Idea

  • Select an enduring idea with the following criteria in mind
  • What is the importance of the idea?
  • What is the appropriateness of the idea for students? How does it relate to their present and future interests and needs?
  • How does it relate to contemporary culture?
  • How is the enduring idea represented in the media arts?

2. Writing a Rationale:

Explain why the enduring idea is important for the learning and for your students in particular. Rationales motivate you to examine whether or not the idea is worth teaching and if it is relevant to students.

3. Unpacking the Enduring Idea: Key Concepts

Think about what is implied by the enduring idea considering diverse perspectives. Then generate a list of key concepts that might be associated with the enduring idea.

An example--enduring idea: "Communication is an essential aspect of what it means to be human."

Key Concepts:

  • Communication can be verbal and nonverbal.
  • Communication requires interpretation.
  • Communication can be direct or indirect.
  • Communication can be understood or misunderstood.
  • Communication can be literal or symbolic.
  • Communication evolves.

Review your list and decide what seems most important. Often many key concepts can be collapsed into a single concept.

4. Formulating Essential Questions

Essential questions synthesize key concepts and focus curriculum. The enduring idea provides broad focus, but individual lessons need specific direction. Key concepts are useful, but may represent too many ideas to keep in mind at once. Essential questions fall between the generality of the enduring idea and the specificity of key concepts.

An example:

  • What counts as communication?
  • Why is communication often difficult?
  • Why is communication important?

You often only need one essential question, but could have several.

5. Inserting Learning Objectives

Learning objectives identify what students will understand or be able to do (skills) as a result of the lesson.

What do you want your students to know and be able to do as a result of the lesson? These should be more specific than key concepts and enduring ideas.


Students will understand how media influences contemporary communication.

Students will understand how Skype or Zoom can be used as a tool of global communication.

Students will understand how to communicate a narrative through using only visual media.

Students will understand how to communicate a narrative through using only audio.

6. How do I teach this?

Once the work of identifying enduring ideas, key concepts, and essential questions has been completed, objectives have been outlined, educators must ask "How will students demonstrate that they understand what it is that we wish them to understand?" We need tasks that provide evidence of student learning.

Our lesson plans need to design and sequence strategies that that move students from where they are currently in terms of knowledge and understanding to a place where they will demonstrate an enriched understanding through the performance task.

A Few Instructional Strategies for Designing Instruction:

  1. Selecting Content for Relevance and Diversity

Sometimes it makes sense, early in the process of curriculum planning, to select artworks, histories, objects, or sites that, when considered carefully for their meaning, will assist in developing an understanding of the enduring ideas and key concepts. For example, if we were wanting to instruct on rotoscope technique, there are many example artists we could show. There are so many possible artworks, artists, objects, histories, and sites from which to select that educators can't possibly hope to introduce students to all that exists. We need to make a choice. Ask yourself about student interest and need, ask your about what is important about the process, and is the process acknowledging contemporary practices? Make sure that your have researched a range of artists, artworks, etc.

2. Guidance from the Media Content

How can we assist students in making meaningful artworks tied to the concept of the lesson?

So if for the technical lectures in this group, if the educator produced original media content for their instruction, then this lesson I am giving now is receiving guidance from media content. To take it a step further, if the technical process, use of equipment etc, required learner to engage with a guided practice or hands-on portion of the workshop, then your lesson could also assist your intern cohort in the making of meaningful work. If the process is tied an enduring idea, that anchors that art making in meaning.

3. Class Discussions

Class discussion is so basic and necessary that sometimes teachers fail to recognize the need to plan discussions. As educator, you should consider ways to encourage group participation by all members of the group.

4. Promoting Student Reflection

With the goal of helping students to become more active, independent, and self-regulating learners, we need to assist them in becoming aware of how they learn best. They need to be aware of their own learning styles and what factors help or impede their learning. This can be done orally and informally or in a more formal written way. Think of the self evaluations, if they were a flexible format.

A Check on Content and Instruction

  • Does this lesson address knowledge and skills in a logical sequence?
  • When the concepts/key terms are introduced, are they sufficiently developed?
  • Do the enduring ideas, key concepts, and essential questions provide focus for the instruction?
  • Are the necessary resources/background materials for teaching the lesson listed?
  • Do activities and questions provide substantive engagement for students?
  • Are connections to real-life situations provided?
  • Are there opportunities provided for practice of new skills and concepts?
  • Are there opportunities for learners to ask questions?
  • Are there opportunities for student-directed discussions?
  • Are their opportunities for student self-reflection?