06 August 2010

Passion or Program

Recently, Will Richardson asked a question on his blog that sparked my interest:
Is curriculum “a particular course of study in a school, college” that is delivered to the student, or is it more about a particular passion, around which a student constructs her own study?
 I think the answer to the question depends upon what your viewpoint is. For example, if you are an administrator in a program, you probably think of courses as covering a curriculum that is considered essential to a larger program of instruction within a particular discipline. Often such people are interested in sets of knowledge, skills, and attitudes in such discipline areas.
I think Will asks the question because he views curriculum from a teacher's perspective. If I'm right about this, he helped me to understand why I like teaching classes on subjects I've never taught before: I enjoy situations where I am able to develop passion in new areas of study.
I teach best in situations where I am rapidly learning along with my students. In order to be an authentic teacher in class, I need the authenticity of learning to be an element in my life at the time and in the discipline I am teaching.
This fall, I will apparently be teaching several classes that I have not taught before (and one that I have). I have taught critical thinking in a philosophy department for some time, but I will be teaching for the first time at Thompson Rivers University (if all goes well), and I have the opportunity to explore what Web 2.0 tools can add to this discipline and how best to add them. The other 3 courses I will be teaching are a combination of critical thinking and critical writing, technical writing, and graphic arts writing for the English department at TRU (again, if all goes well--contracts still have to be signed in all these). Over the past couple of years, I have been developing a passion to help students become confident and capable writers; these courses will carry this passion forward into some new areas of development.
Time will tell.

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