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Excerpt from "An Example Structure for Curriculum/Project Planning and Writing"

Put It Into Words

Teaching artists are faced by a wide variety of models for course, grant and program proposals, and one can imagine any number of generalized models that one might present to them.  We like the idea of a simple approach that focuses on the following four questions: 

  • What will you teach?
  • How will you teach it?
  • How will you know it worked? 
  • How will your teaching lead students to be better artists? 


This general approach to curriculum writing can be easily adapted for different contexts, audiences and requirements. This model is only a starting point that you can use to help organize your thinking and planning, but which you can also adapt to your own needs and style.  A course/project proposal is a sort of work of art as well as a tool.  It documents a course or project plan in ways that can inform and enrich the work of other teaching artists and arts educators, and it should read as something interesting, exciting and thought-provoking for both reader and author. 

Some Other Questions to Think About When You Plan

Curriculum planning and writing is as creative an act as curriculum inventing and sketching, but the focus is different.  Here are some additional questions you might consider as you plan your work:

  • What will students make? 
  • What will they learn?
  • What do I want to learn?
  • How structured/open ended will the project/lesson/session be?
  • How directed/free will student work be at various stages of the project?
  • How much time do you want students to dedicate to practicing a technique and how much to applying the technique in making original work?
  • How much time do you want to spend on general conceptual knowledge and how much on specific technical knowledge?
  • Are you are trying to teach too much at the expense of depth and rigor?
  • Are you teaching too specifically, or too narrowly to allow enough scope in the art making for students to develop original work that excites them?
  • How will I collaborate with teacher(s) or staff?
  • Is there enough time and space for students to do their work?
  • How will I stay out of the way?
  • How will I know what happened?
  • Will this be fun and interesting for me?  What will I do if it isn’t?

[A complete model framework for curriculum writing is included in the book]