Start with the End User in Mind: Student-Centered Curriculum Design

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One of my teaching mentors, Dr. Martin Haberman, told me sound advice I have never forgotten: “The most effective classroom management is a student-centered curriculum.”  As a former classroom teacher and English Learner specialist, I can say that nothing is truer. Whether I had thirty 6th graders in front of me, fifteen alternative high school students, or a handful of primary age students, I knew I always had to teach to who they were.  I had standards-based content to teach, but in order to teach them I had to first reach them.  I had to find out who they were, what they brought to the classroom and work to build bridges from their experiences to the new knowledge and skills I was charged with teaching.  In other words, I had to make the curriculum function for the learner, the student, the “end user”, if you will.

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