Excellent curriculum should be useful to students and feel natural. Every teacher should consider how useful their curriculum is. As Kohn states, it is pointless to teach students useless things (170). Students can often sense when information and activities are not good preparations for the real world. One way to solve this problem is by allowing curriculum to originate from the natural activity of the learning environment as often as possible (Levy 34). As Levy would agree, the more naturally a project is developed, the more interesting it will seem. Everyday activities can be turned into learning opportunities (Levy 34). It is necessary to develop new projects every year because when students sense that what they are completing something new, they will be more excited about the opportunity to try something new (Levy 35). Combining multiple disciplines and multiple intelligences into lessons gives students several ways to understand the same information. By creating opportunities to develop basic skills in the context of meaningful and purposeful activities, students are more likely to succeed (Levy 35).
Secondly, excellent teachers go beyond merely teaching the required materials mandated by the district or state standards. Given the amount of time that students spend at school, it is obvious that they will learn behaviors from their environments. It is imperative that teachers incorporate values and long term purposes into daily activities (Ayers and Tanner 35). Students need to learn many skills that are not mandated by typical curriculum. Realistically, social skills, perseverance, trustworthiness, initiative, organizational, written and oral presentation skills (Meier 152-154) are equally as important as fractions and spelling. If one considers the employment market, it is a well known fact that employers are looking for more than just book-smart individuals. Employees that lack the aforementioned skills will not be able to adaquately carry out their duties and serve the company to the best of their abilities. Teachers should also incoporate current events and ongoing problems into every day activities (Meier 152). This often gives context to the lessons being taught within the classroom and can be utilized as teachable moments, as well as provide opportunities for discussions on identity and inclusion.
The best teachers foster critical thinking and creativity on an individual level and use varied types of instruction everyday to ensure that all students are presented with material in a way that he or she can understand it. Paulo Freire discusses, in his chapter entitled “The Banking Concept of Education”, the idea that teachers must abandon the belief that students are empty objects to be filled with knowledge. He proposes implementing, what he calls, “problem – posing education” (Freire 111). By exposing students to real life situations and allowing them to form their own ideas...