Reading Schwab (1973) for my curriculum class has made me think a little differently about how I approach the idea of content (and personal content mastery) in my teaching.
Being a part of the IB, and firmly believing in concepts, I’ve always kind of thought that having a mastery of content might not be that important. I thought that good teachers can ask good questions to get people to deeper understandings, even if they don’t fully understand.
Since reading this article though, I think I may have missed some key points (hopefully because I have a solid knowledge of all the required understandings). If we as educators don’t really know the content how can we ask good questions or lead to a desired enduring understanding. Backwards design is a powerful planning tool, but if we don’t know what the end goal is (or we’re unable to do the end goal ourselves) how can we get students there?
Working in the outdoors has always been easy for me, and other people have told me they’ve felt uncomfortable outside, they always wanted to know what they could teach. I was always slightly confused by this (I guess because I felt like I knew enough of the outdoor content) but they need to become masters in their understanding.
I guess I’m wondering if we need to be more focused on content for PD at times. Like make sure our teachers really and fully understand the content of our place so they feel more comfortable sharing what they know. If we can really download some local knowledge about our place, we may be better able to teach about it.