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Surviving Curriculum Changes

Most people are resistant to change. It takes a long time to develop workable systems, particularly when large groups of diverse children are involved. Teachers work hard to set up everything from classroom layouts to pencil-sharpening rules so that students move through their days as independently as possible. So when curriculum changes arise and teachers must make changes to their beloved systems, it can feel overwhelming. However the insights into curriculum change teachers can gain by enrolling in an online master’s degree in education can make the changes well worth time and research.

How Children Think and Learn Best

Children learn best when allowed to ask open-ended questions

New brain research has taught administrators and teachers that children learn best when engaged intellectually, physically and emotionally. This does not include enforcing classroom silence and drilling students with worksheets and tests. Children's brains work best when they are allowed to ask open-ended questions to help them connect with new material. New curriculum changes rely on brain-based teaching strategies, which help children connect with new information in ways that, in the past, only a handful of teachers utilized. This opens up new pathways to learning for all children instead of a select few.

An Online Master's Degree in Education May Help Teachers Adjust to Changes

New learning methods are now active at all levels of education. Students in higher education can experience the benefits of curriculum changes in their own education and pass those new methods and strategies on to their own students. One of the new best practices in curriculum change is in making time for modeling. Teachers currently pursuing an online master’s degree in education may be better positioned to teach these new strategies as they learn them. Administrators may appreciate the value of teachers immersed in new ideas in a higher education program of study.

Curriculum Changes Benefit New Learners by Streamlining Teaching

Increasingly, teachers must use more integrated teaching strategies as well as including technology in the classroom as much as possible. This can make teaching seem more difficult than ever. However some basic concepts should actually help teachers streamline their teaching. Teachers may be able to use the same curriculum changes in their graduate programs to help their own teaching:

  • Ask open-ended questions for more personalized learning.
  • Help learners become less compliant and more creative.
  • Lead learners to their own answers instead of finding solutions for them.

Looking at the Big Picture First

One of the major curriculum changes that will benefit both students and teachers is the concept of backwards planning. In this approach, teachers look at the forest before investigating each individual tree. This helps teachers build depth and complexity in their lessons while keeping objectives and standards in mind. Teachers who master this strategy can better prepare their students to deal with the rigors of a new curriculum.

Learn about UT Arlington’s online master’s degree in education programs.


Berkowicz, J., & Myers, A. (2014, November 11). Leading Teachers Through Change: Ask New Questions & Listen. Retrieved October 11, 2015, from

Jorgenson, O. (2006). Independent School Magazine. Retrieved October 11, 2015, from

Troutman McCrann, J. (2015, March 25). Teaching the Common Core Requires Fine-Tuning School Policies. Retrieved October 11, 2015, from

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