From “Big Ideas” to Deliberate Action: Curriculum Revision and Alignment in An American Special Education Teacher Preparation Program

Jan. 02, 2009

Source: Teaching and Teacher Education, Volume 25, Issue 1, January 2009, Pages 128-133
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

Curriculum design is a complicated and time consuming process, especially when considering multiple standards from national, state, and local levels. This is further complicated for teacher preparation programs that offer a variety of specializations and use multiple delivery formats. Although, many models of curriculum development exist, this paper presents an overview of how one American special education program used the model described by Kame'enui, E. J., Carnine, D. W., Dixon, R. C., Simmons, D. C., & Coyne, M. D. (2002) to articulate and organize key dimensions of the program. Specifically, the authors deliberately used the following six design principles to frame the curriculum revision and alignment process: big ideas, conspicuous strategies, mediated scaffolding, strategic integration, judicious review, and primed background knowledge.

Although the model has been often emphasized for K-12 environments, this manuscript describes how it is also useful for the university setting to increase integration of content, developmental application, and consistency across courses and instructors. As in the public school setting, these features serve to benefit students and align different elements of a program (or methods of delivery).
Furthermore, the development of a model that embraces the six design principles cannot be completed without collaboration among faculty members. This collaboration, in itself, can serve to strengthen a teacher preparation program.

Kame'enui et al., 2002 E.J. Kame'enui, D.W. Carnine, R.C. Dixon, D.C. Simmons and M.D. Coyne, Effective teaching strategies that accommodate diverse learners (2nd ed.), Merrill Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ (2002).

Updated: Jan. 07, 2009