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Why Does Curriculum Need to Change?

Why does curriculum need to change?  The short answer is because our world is constantly changing.  Our students need to be able to change with it.  What better example than for them to see change in action while they are learning?

In this short article, I would like to explore 5 reasons that answer the question, “Why does curriculum need to change?”

1.  It is Outdated

While it is generally the responsibility of the teacher to adapt the curriculum to the particular classroom (i.e., students) that are being taught, having an updated curriculum is paramount to success.  It allows the teacher to use that curriculum without having to research to find supplemental, up-to-date information. That saves the teacher huge amounts of time, allowing him/her to spend more time focusing on preparation and  teaching than on research.

Obviously, some subjects need less updating as far as information is concerned.  Math concepts for middle school students probably aren’t going to change much at all.  The concepts are the same and have been since the dawn of time.  The process of using those concepts could change a bit.  But the concepts themselves remain the same.

Similarly, you won’t really need a whole lot of updating for teaching classic literature.  The facts of the books remain the same, as do the characters and time frame in which it was written.  What does change, however, is that world views shift.  This causes a shift in the way students take in the information they read about in classic literature.

Amazingly, though, you will see that the more you read and teach literature, the more you will see how things change so much and so little at the same time.  Cultures and technology change.  Humanity and relationship remain astonishingly the same.

To conclude this point, I will state the obvious.  Most updating of curriculum is going to occur in the history, science, and technology fields, where things are constantly changing.

2.  The Demand for Knowledge Changes

The biggest reason for a change in education based on demand for knowledge lies in the fact that the world around us is always changing.  The past century has seen unprecedented changes that have caused even more change at the classroom level.

For example, we now think globally instead of locally.  That shifts the way we process information because we know so much more about other cultures and countries than in times past.  In the past, people read about other countries and cultures.  Now we see them firsthand on tv, internet, books, magazines, and social media at the very least.  We are so immersed in other cultures globally that it automatically affects how we receive education.

In addition to that, we now also think in terms of modern technology.  We use our phones to do myriad things everyday. If we had been told specific things our phones can now do fifty years ago, we would have laughed and thought that person was crazy.  But those myriad things we can do with our phones allow us to connect to the whole world.  And they allow us to connect to more information and education than anybody in history has ever had access to.

Seeing The Big Picture

And that takes us to why curriculum needs to change based on a much larger demand for knowledge.  We no longer live as small communities in our small communities.   We live as part of a very large world.  And that large world comes with a much larger knowledge base.

That is an amazing concept to take in.  But it is also incredibly overwhelming when we realize that we will never be able to take in all of the knowledge, or even necessarily a good-sized chunk.  But we can arrange the best way to take in the best of that knowledge based on our current classroom needs.

3.  Keeping Kids Engaged

Another reason why curriculum needs to change is because teachers have a lot of competition for their students’ attention these days.

The opportunities that kids have is amazing.  But the way that it is delivered to them is also very distracting.  Constantly moving pictures on tv, computers, and games make kids want to see constant movement in other areas of life.  That is a dynamic that teachers will have a hard time keeping up with.

Because of this, content has to be able to grab their attention so they aren’t looking for fast movement.

The Solution

The good news is that we can give them content that can keep them engaged.  And that content can train their brains to not need that constant movement they are accustomed to.

In literature, a good dramatic reading can help them.  But even more importantly, you must start with engaging literature books.  Nothing is more satisfying than hearing groans from the kids when we have to end at a chapter, or when it is time to go home for the day and they were enjoying what they were doing more than the thought of going home for the day.

Adding in activities daily that promote what your students are learning as well as “entertaining” them in productive ways that develop their creativity will keep them engaged.  And it will also help them to develop ideas about what they love.  This could lead to a lifelong hobby or career down the road!

The possibilities in this area are pretty close to endless.  Anything that is not limited by your classroom time or budget can be used.  Thinking outside the box is critical.

You can see some examples of expanding the lessons to other activities if you click on this article. You can develop so many other things besides the items in this article!

And your students just may decide they have better things to do than the things on their electronic devices!

4.  Technology Advances

Curriculum needs to change because technology advances that have occurred outside of the classroom have a huge impact on what happens inside the classroom.

The way we all do things now compared to even a decade ago is so drastically different.  We generally don’t realize how much technology impacts almost every area of our lives.

Technology has always been a part of the classroom.  It is just that in the past century technology has increased exponentially.  This has made it look like a totally different issue in the classroom.  And indeed, the super fast progression of technology has greatly affected the current day classroom.

We can supplement our students lessons with a video that develops what they have learned in multiple ways.  That video can be a youtube video that expands on that subject.  But even cooler, that video can be in interview (possibly even live) with someone who is an authority on the subject they are learning.

Technology can also be used to assign students work that allows them to develop what they have learned in the classroom.  It allows them to apply those concepts to real-life situations.  And that means that they aren’t just learning academics.  They are learning life!

5.  Our World (and Worldview) Changes

Life changes just a bit every single day.  In fact, life changes by the moment.  We tend to not notice that so much.  But we do notice the huge events that shape our lives.  Everybody knows about the World Trade Center tragedy, when JFK was assassinated, the moon landing, and other huge events that happened.  But very few people know what day the internet was invented, how computers were being used in the mid-20th century, or about specific medical advances that have been happening for decades (unless there are specific family members going through related issues maybe).

Regardless of how aware we are of the changes that are going on around the world, they all change the way we think, feel and function.  And the classroom is not immune from that.

Some examples of how it affects our students and classroom are the vocabulary that we use, terminology of subjects, processes, and routines. In fact, the routines themselves change over time based of what is going on in the world around us.

Being flexible is key, as well as using change in the classroom as an educational opportunity.  Kids love open communication.  Thus they don’t feel left out of the loop, and they aren’t worried about what is coming next.  Also, it is great preparation for the life they will live outside of the classroom, now and later.

Conclusion

Curriculum needs to change because everything changes.  The classroom is not a bubble.  In fact, it is the best place to reflect on and learn from what is going on in the world.  Whether that is done through math class, science, history, social studies, literature, or any class, it still is done best when it is done with an eye on what is going on in the world.

And how much more prepared will our students be to enter into a world that they have already seen in action and learned about!

This Post Has 52 Comments

  1. Luas

    Absolutely agree on that, one of the most important things to do for our future!

  2. This is all so true, education needs to change as our society changes. Thanks so much for sharing this with us!

  3. Amber Myers

    Yes! There is some outdated info out there. Like for Columbus Day, my daughter kept saying, “But Columbus was a HORRIBLE man,” to her teacher.

    1. Marie

      Yes, Amber, this is so true about so many things that have been wrongfully changed to “clean up” history.

  4. Cristina Pop

    Having an up to date CV is the key to find a good job! Thanks for the great tips!

    1. Marie

      Very true, Cristina!

  5. Nyxinked

    I’m not a teacher but I agree with this. Especially where I’m from. We really need to re-think how and what we’re teaching kids.

  6. Chad

    Well, i can’t agree more! We’re still teaching our kids like it is in the 80s. The work requirements at this day and age are soooo different.

    1. Marie

      Yes, Chad. Soooo much has changed. But at least I can help guide my own kids where the schools fall short!

  7. Valerie

    In Oklahoma I agree it needs to change. Common Core needs to go.

    1. Marie

      I live in Virginia where we never implemented Common Core. I actually thought it was phasing out nationwide. I haven’t followed it for some time, though. So maybe that is why I thought that.

  8. brianmayroam

    Yes, the need to be constantly on the move is not good for most of us. Attend your next board meeting!

  9. Joanna

    There is so much stuff that children learn about that they will never use in real life. The curriculum should change and incorporate things like budgeting and finance, mental health classes and so many others that will actually help children to understand the economics of life.

    1. Marie

      So much truth in your comment, Joanna! Thanks for weighing in.

  10. Dani Flanders

    I so agree and this is all aspects of teaching and all subject matters! I used to train dogs in group classes and private lessons and now I teach dance — there is always something new out there in every topic that you can add to your curriculum!

    1. Marie

      Very true, Dani! It doesn’t take long to realize that there just aren’t enough hours in a day to do it all!!! But every little bit helps.

  11. Marjie Mare

    This is very informative. Although it is hard sometimes, but everything changes and we must adapt.

  12. Heidi

    I agree that curriculum should change, but it makes me really angry when the curriculum throws out the values of mainstream society and gets extreme. There are still some things that don’t need quite as big of an update.

  13. GiGi Eats

    Well, it’s especially outdated now due to COVID. It’s going to be fascinating to see how things change over the course of the next couple of months, that’s for sure!

  14. Brianne

    Great post. I completely agree that today’s curriculum is outdated. I’ve seen my kids’ textbooks, and I think they’re about 20 years old.

  15. Bright snow Loveland

    We really need to re-think how and what we’re teaching kids, because the world is changing and things must change too.

  16. Matt Taylor

    I totally agree, as the world evolves, and technology evolves, the way we educate needs to evolve with it. Even more so with the current pandemic situation.

  17. Daniel Sierra

    I totally agree with you. Traditional education needs to change. The world need a new education model.

  18. the joyous living

    i definitely agree. there are so many things that need to be addressed from modern history and experiences.

  19. Nkem

    I would say this is a great overview. Curricula should be completely changed every few years but adapted as a single year progresses. Well, I think there shouldn’t be rigid curricula, but rather more open ended one that can be adapted as people are changing and the world is changing.

  20. Sarah Emery

    I totally agree that change in the educational system needs an update. Especially since children all learn differently.

  21. The world keeps changing every single day and so do the things we inculcate into the minds of learners.

  22. Gervin Khan

    You are right, these are great reasons why the curriculum should be changed.
    Like here in our place, due to pandemic the Department of Education changed our curriculum from 12 to 14 subjects down it to 8 which the most essentials subject that need to learn by the students.

  23. Ann

    This is a great post where you bring up some really great issues. I remember going to school when I was a kid thinking it needed to change back then, but at that point it seemed impossible even to be heard. But that was 20 years ago. My kid do feel that he is beeing heard in school, so some chages have been done even if more are needed 🙂

  24. Bhuvi

    Yeah.Correct time you post your blog.This is all so true, education needs to change as our society changes.

  25. Steven Morrissette

    Always good to change the curriculum and always be up-to-date.

  26. knycx journeying

    I agree and it should be constantly changing (or improving) since the world is so dynamic. What we need is materials for critical thinking instead of things to memorize. – Knycx Journeying

  27. Steph Social

    I have been saying this for years! We definitely need to make some changes for our future!

  28. Celebrate Woman Today

    There are not so many people out there, on the decision-making level, who have the wits and the courage to do the curriculum change.

  29. Rose Ann Sales

    Yes,I agree,absolutely! We need some change.

  30. Emman Damian

    I think it needs to be suited with the new normal. Also, it should be very flexible. Times have changed a lot!

  31. Elicitfolio

    This is a very enlightening article! Things must certainly change as our world becomes more digitally connected and as things change.

  32. Sushmita

    Not a teacher but I am so down with this opinion! I mean I feel surprised to see that the curriculum of school has not been updated! Definitely things change over time – especially the need for learning some facts! Very apt post.

  33. Akriti

    A very well written post. I have to say I completely agree with you.

  34. Lyosha

    Very interesting post! I agree with change of lifestyles ways to study should change as well and adapt to modern age.

  35. Melanie williams

    Totally agree with this and yes it has been outdated for years and years. The choice of subjects is not the best x

  36. tweenselmom

    I agree with all the points made in this article! I haven’t thought much about this before, but the curriculum does need to change!

  37. Ceci Rey

    Could not have been said better! As the world changes, so should our education for children…thank you for writing about this! 🚢👓🍕

  38. Rachel

    As a parent, I could not agree more.

  39. Lyanna Soria

    Quite an interesting post. Those are some great points you got there and I agree with you on it as well.

  40. WorldInEyes

    DO agree with every point…this blog post is truly very useful and interesting one to got through..glad you shared this with us..

  41. Razena

    If I think back to when I was at school and compare it with my nephews, the biggest changes seem to be in how the demand for knowledge and world views have changed. Learners today have access to information at the press of a button which changes everything about what and how they learn.

  42. Monidipa

    Curriculum change is a learning process for teachers and for their schools. Good understanding of change and clear conception of curriculum are necessary conditions for im-proved implementation of new curriculum into practice.

  43. Bindu Thomas

    Great Updates. Useful for future. Thank you for sharing

  44. jeena

    I agree with all the points mention which you mention in this post , its really supper cool.
    Now am going to share it with my friends
    Thank you so much for sharing this it with me

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