The Iliad

The Student News Site of Poway High School

The Student News Site of Poway High School

The Iliad

The Student News Site of Poway High School

The Iliad

Curriculum mishaps:

Dept. miscommunications lead to student misunderstandings
Ginger Kondzela

   A student heads into his first day of Chemistry 2 excited and ready to learn, but as his teacher begins to introduce a new topic he realizes that he is ill-equipped with the knowledge he needs to be successful in the course. This confuses the student, because he passed Chemistry 1 with an A easily. Why isn’t he prepared for Chemistry 2? What is he missing? This issue is prevalent in all subjects and is due to lack of teacher coordination in a department. 

   One huge factor that contributes to student success are teachers, and not just whether a student believes that a teacher is good or bad, but rather how well the teacher equips you to further your education in that subject. Teachers teaching the same subject do not always provide the same content in a course, this leads to students being set back in their learning. 

   In a course that requires continued learning across two or more classes, students have little control over who their teacher is. For example I was not taught about finding the ionic charges of elements and making ionic charges in Chemistry 1, and in Chemistry 2, with a different teacher this was important information. I was able to catch up, but whenever these topics came up in class I felt as though I was behind and I did not understand as fully as my peers. 

   I decided to investigate the different challenges of a student taking a two trimester class with the same teacher twice versus a student taking that same course with a different teacher each trimester. 

   Logically if a student has the same teacher for both trimesters, the student should have been prepared to be successful, if they have put in the effort, in the second trimester. The teacher would have taught all of the required prerequisite skills for the second half of the course, and by the end of the first trimester the student should have acclimated to the teacher style and grading. 

   In a survey of 71 students across campus taking a two trimester class, I found that of students who had the same teacher for both trimesters, 80.6% felt that they were adequately prepared by their teacher for the second part of the course. Among students who received two different teachers, 30% of students felt that there was adequate preparation for the next part of the course. 

   Some of this down to teachers not teaching the same content in the first part of the course. To be quite frank, this is ridiculous and this happens more or less in every subject where more than one teacher teaches the same course. How can students be expected to thrive if they are not taught the right content to be prepared for the second course?

     I know teachers teaching the same curriculum discuss the standardization of content over a trimester, but clearly, it does not have the effect that they hope. Students who have two different teachers over a course are still less prepared.

   Teachers should not only teach the same content, but they should look to give students a chance to voice their continuing comprehension level of a subject at the beginning of the trimester. They should adapt their lessons based on these results to cater the curriculum to fit the students, not the teacher.

    An example of this already happening is the prerequisite test between 2A and 2B Integrated Math. This test at the beginning of the trimester gives students and teachers a chance to understand what the student has been taught and also to fill any gaps that may have been skipped over by the previous teacher. I believe that this can be the solution to this issue. Teachers’ uncoordinated curriculum occurs in every subject and affects students negatively, a factor over which they have no control.

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