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Mary Trumm
Box 7179
Mrs. Lorraine Doran
Curriculum Design
The Net of Curriculum
Curriculum is defined by some as simply the plan for teaching (Ben-Peretz), the courses
offered by a school, or as a theme containing sixteen elements of schooling (Walberg). For
others, it is defined as everything that is learned from a school (Apple). Still, others would define
it as a system that is used to achieve a goal (Betts). Give a man a fish and you feed him for a
day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. (Chinese Proverb). Curriculum is not
limited to only the plan of teaching, the action of teaching, the goal of teaching, or what is being
learned. Instead, it includes all of these things. It is similar to the performance of making a
fishing net, of using it to teach students to fish, and of the students learning to fish with the net.
First of all, in order to teach a student to fish, a teacher needs to decide how he/she will
make the net. If the teacher leaves out certain strings of the net, or makes them too short, the net
will not be helpful; a fish could easily swim through the hole. As the teacher plans the
curriculum, he/she needs to make sure to include all of the important aspects of curriculum and
to make sure not to spend too little time on any one subject. Also, the teacher needs to make sure
that the subjects will connect in the students minds. The students need the curriculum to be set
up in a way that it will be useful to them. The most important part of planning is the purpose or
goal of the plan that needs to be set (Betts). The goal for the teacher should be to prepare the
students with knowledge and values for the outside world.

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After that, the teacher needs to show the student how to use the net. The teacher may use
it in any way that he/she feels that it will be most useful to the student. When the teacher teaches
the students using the curriculum, the students watch and listen to see how they will use the
information in the real world. The teacher can teach the information that the students need to
know in any way that he/she chooses. However, a teacher might choose a way that does not help
the student understand the concept being taught. The teacher needs to be creative in planning
around the materials or lack thereof in order to make the lesson interesting for the students (BenPeretz).
Next, the teacher needs to actually give the net to the student in order for them to learn.
This is the most important part of the students learning; it is the intangible part, where the
student figures out how to connect the dots within the lesson (Betts). If the teacher used the net
without giving the net to the student, the student might not actually know how to use the net. In
the school, the teacher needs to give the students some guided practice so that they know how to
use the information that they learned by themselves. Using only lecture will not be interesting for
the students, and it should not be the only form of teaching in the classroom. The students need
to try it out for themselves to make sure they completely understand it.
After a teacher gives the net to the student, he/she needs to watch the students progress
to make sure that the learner is using the net right and actually catching fish. If the teacher never
watched the student to make sure that he/she knew how to use the net, then the student might
learn how to use the net wrong and not be able to survive if he/she were stranded in the middle of
nowhere with only a net, a grill, and fish seasonings. In the classroom, the teacher needs to
assess the students to make sure that the students know what to do with the information taught to
them. Teachers can use games, tests, quizzes, projects, and other things to assess students.

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When the teacher sees what the student does wrong with the net, he/she can reteach
something the student did not understand or hear, or teach something that the teacher did not
teach the first time. In this way, the teacher is able to see what he/she needs to teach or change
the next time he/she teaches a student how to use a net. As a teacher teaches a group of students,
he/she needs to use withitness (Eby) and assessment methods to decide whether or not the
lesson needs to speed up, slow down, or change.
The next time a teacher shows a student how to use a net, he/she should use previous
experiences and knowledge of the new student to determine what needs to be taught and how. If
the teacher did not change his/her methods of showing a student how to fish, then the future
students will not learn everything that they need to know in order to use the information for
survival in the future. A classroom has the exact same concept. If a teacher does not use
reflective action (Eby) to change lessons in the future, then future students may miss out on a
The goal of using the net is to prepare the student for the future. Instead of just handing
over a fish to the student, the teacher should teach the student to fend for his/herself so that
he/she will be able to catch and eat. Curriculums goal is also to prepare the students for life
outside of the classroom. If the teacher just gives the students the answers to their tests, they
wont be prepared for life at all. However, if a teacher makes sure that students know what they
are doing, then the students will be ready for different situations.
The teacher gets the requirement to teach the student to fish from an outside source, but
he/she gets to decide how to teach the student. The teacher of the classroom gets the state
standards that tell him/her what the students need to learn, but it is the teacher who defines the

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curriculum of the classroom. It is the teachers responsibility to make sure to teach the required
subjects to the students in a way that they will understand it and want to pay attention.
Curriculum is a system of teaching and learning between a teacher and a student that can
affect the students beliefs and knowledge. Just like teaching students how to use a net,
curriculum requires a teacher to create a system of interrelated subjects, to show a student how to
use those subjects, to help the student work alone with those subjects, to make sure that the
subjects are taught, and to teach and reteach those subjects with reflective action and
withitness (Eby). The goal of teaching a student to fish and teaching students in the classroom
should be the same: to prepare the student(s) for the future.

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Apple, Michael W. The Curriculum as the Larger Environment.
Ben-Peretz, Miriam. Curriculum as Educational Potential.
Betts, Frank M. The Curriculum as a System.
Eby, Herrell, Jordan. Teaching in K-12 Schools.
Walberg, Herbert. What Do You Mean, Curriculum?