Weâ€™re just at the start of the new fall Christian Education year in our churches (and, as Vanessa pointed out, the fall â€œnew yearâ€ has more to do with adapting to the secular calendar than to the ecclesial calendar). But it wonâ€™t be long before most resident Christian education staff and program leaders will begin to hear complaints about the curriculum. Most of those complaints will be along the lines of â€œItâ€™s too hard to use,â€ â€œThe kids donâ€™t like it,â€ â€œI donâ€™t like it,â€ etc. Admittedly, while whether one â€œlikesâ€ something or not does not necessarily have anything to do with whether it is effective, the pragmatic reality of having a volunteer corps of teachers means that one needs to give due attention to such complaints.
The only real solution I know of for addressing the issue of dissatisfaction with published curricular resources and teaching materials is to invest in training our Sunday School and church faculty on using the resources and helping them learn how to adapt the material for their students and their learning goals, use good instructional practices, and understand classroom dynamics. Few church teachers take up the challenge to commit to meeting regularly for planning, study, and preparation, however—even when itâ€™s actually offered by their church. The only other way I know of addressing the complaints about the curriculum resource material is to involve the teachers in evaluating and selecting the curricular products for their program. This often involves a lot of work, guidance, and negotiation, but at least one can say, â€œHey, you chose this, remember?â€ when the complaints about the resource resurface in about two or three years.
Below is a list of assessment questions you can use to help your teachers evaluate your current and potential curricular resources.
Questions for Evaluating Curriculum Literature
- Is there a clearly delineated set of learning objectives or aims?
- Are the objectives biblical?
- Are the objectives appropriate to congregational Christian education?
- Do the objectives address both individual and corporate spiritual concerns?
- Do the lessons call for appropriate, clear, and specific learner responses?
- Does the overall scope of the Bible content reflect a balance between the Old and New Testament?
- Does the lesson connect Bible content with learnersâ€™ life experience?
- Is the literature age-appropriate in content, themes, reading level, and teaching methods?
- Does the literature reflect attention to sound theories of teaching and learning?
- Does the literature reflect attention to sound theories of human personal development?
- Is the role of the teacher clearly identified?
- Are there helpful and practical teacher preparation support materials?
- Are there attractive and helpful learner support materials?
- Does the literature provide flexibility and options in teaching approaches and methods?
- Is there provision for learning assessment in the lesson?
- Are suggested activities and lessons consistent with learning outcomes?
- Does the publisher provide a clear scope and sequence of lessons, themes, and biblical content?
- Is there a balanced approach to addressing learnersâ€™ intellectual and emotional, personal and social spiritual needs?
- Is the literature appropriate or supportive of your churchâ€™s denominational and doctrinal identity?
- Is the material attractive, easy to comprehend, and intuitive in its layout?
- If important to your church, is there attention to ethnicity, ecumenism, and gender-inclusive language?
- Is the product reasonably priced?
- Does the publisher provide on-line support for teachers, pupils, and churches?
Date posted: Tuesday, September 25th, 2007 5:28 pm | Under category: Christian Education, curriculum
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