Raccoons in a bin: does the patchwork approach deliver a cohesive curriculum?

raccoons in a bin cohesive curriculum

The internet has given us many weird and wonderful gifts. For teachers, one of the best is the ability to mix and match resources to customise the curriculum.

This has some benefits – and is certainly better than the single textbook approach we had pre-internet. However, it may not always be the wisest way to design a curriculum.

Seeing teachers foraging on forums and gobbling up scraps from social media brings to mind raccoons in a bin. They’re desperate to gather enough crumbs to make a balanced, hearty meal.

And we get it! We were teachers, and we’ve been there, too. The patchwork approach has many benefits, but also some big drawbacks.

What are the benefits of the patchwork approach?

  • Freedom

The internet has offered today’s teachers autonomy and flexibility their predecessors could only dream of.

  • Availability

There are so many resources out there, with lots of choice on offer.

  • Affordability

Plenty of resources found online or on social media are free or low-budget. Therefore, many teachers favour this “make do and mend” method because it’s affordable.

What are the disadvantages of a patchwork curriculum?

  • Quality

Widely available, low-cost resources are tempting, but the quality may not be up to scratch.

  • Consistency

Curating a curriculum from multiple sources can lead to inconsistency.

  • Cohesion

The scattergun approach to compiling resources may mean individual activities have merit. However, without a joined-up approach, there’s a serious lack of sequencing.

  • Progression

It’s hard to achieve a clear progression using the patchwork approach. Each activity is pitched differently, depending on the author’s style and goals.

Janine Remillard, from the University of Pennsylvania, argues the mix and match approach takes a one-dimensional view of the curriculum.

“Even if each activity is of high quality and has worthy instructional goals, this framing ignores the second critical dimension of curriculum — a coherent map of the goals and how they relate to and build on one another.”

So, while the raccoons approach can seem like a satisfying fix to your curriculum needs, it can fail to take into account the bigger picture.

What’s the alternative to a mix and match curriculum?

Luckily, the alternative to the patchwork approach is no longer a pile of dusty textbooks.

We’re proud to deliver products and services that help teachers map out a creative curriculum that leads to a cohesive, whole-school approach to learning.

Switching focus from curating resources to mapping out a consistent curriculum saves teachers valuable time and effort. What’s more, it leads to more positive outcomes for learners.

In fact, here at Dimensions Creative Curriculum, we’ve helped hundreds of schools map out a personalised, progressive, consistent and cohesive curriculum. So, if you’re not happy with your current approach, we can help!

To find out more, drop us a line on [email protected] or call 01254 779142.

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