Strategies for Reshaping Practice: The habits of the classroom #15

Change your choice of content

Increasingly teachers have their choices restricted by prescriptive curriculum documents, but where choice is possible different content can be used. If a particular novelist is prescribed there may be a choice of works and teachers could select a work that reflects a focus such as trust. If a particular subject is suggested, such as self esteem, there could be a range of materials that approach it in a different way, for example, seeing it in terms of finding significance and worth through love. If a syllabus stipulates a key figure in history, you could choose a person of faith such as William Tyndale in the Tudor period.

  • Teachers can select a particular poem if only the poet is specified. If William Blake is the poet then select one of his poems that deals with an issue of faith and values relevant to learners, such as ‘Poison Tree’ that deals with anger and revenge.
  • Teachers can select people of faith if history syllabuses include ‘key people’ of the period. That might be Christian reformers in the Victorian period or you could choose an artwork with Christian imagery in art.

Examples such as these show how a change of content can free a teacher to bring a new perspective to a lesson and still cover the required material.