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Curriculum Design

Principles of Curriculum Design

The principles of Reach University’s philosophy for curriculum design are as follows:

  1. Leverage Apprenticeship-Based Experiences: Apprenticeship-based learning allows apprentices to practice, receive feedback, and reflect in an integrated way. In the Reach Method, apprenticeship-based experiences are used as case studies and examples to foster richer classroom discussions and as opportunities for students to apply what they have learned.

  2. Integrate the Craft Tracker: The Craft Tracker is integrated into curriculum planning. Instructors refer to the Craft Tracker regularly to see which activities students are completing in the field. They also use the Tracker to understand where students have developed proficiency, and where they still need support. This information supports the planning of tutorial sessions.

  3. Integrate the Tutorial Method: The tutorial method is a deep learning methodology that develops inquiry and real-world problem solving through question-based discussions that teach learners how to think and not what to think. In the Reach Method, the Tutorial Method is a part of every course. The tutorial method enables students to develop critical thinking skills that connect what they are doing in the field with the why behind it.

  4. Focus on Teacher Licensure: Licensure is required for someone to become a teacher, and the pass rate for one of the most widely used teacher licensure exams, the Praxis, is only 46%, making it more likely that someone will pass the bar exam on the first try (EducationWeek). As a result, the content of the state's licensure exam must be a critical driver of course content.

  5. Use Practitioner Tools: Embrace learning technology that already exists, and only use the most critical textbooks. Consider the tools that current practitioners use, such as: NoRedInk for English; Desmos, Quizzizz, and for math; and, Khan Academy and for state licensure exam resources and practice. In addition to supporting their learning, this gives apprentices first-hand experience with tools they can use in the classroom.

  6. Great Teaching: For great teaching to occur, institutions must hire instructors who know how to teach effectively, place the strongest instructors in the areas where student success is most dependent upon strong instruction, and coach instructors to be more effective over time. For example, a number of Reach professors are practicing teachers who have earned "Teacher of the Year" recognition in their states.

  7. Great Syllabi: Clarity on the syllabus helps ensure that everything instructors do is tied to the most important student outcomes, and it helps students to understand how the work they do connects to their success.

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