Process Before Product

In the next ten days I will work with five very different schools/districts, and all five are (amongst other things) thinking deeply about curriculum.  I am not a curriculum expert at all, but here is what I do know: curriculum is a tool of learning.  Tools are at the far end of a logic model or backward design process.  Curriculum is not an outcome. The outcome these schools and districts want is to build capacity for the ongoing development of curriculum (among other things).  The process of designing curriculum is much more important than any bit of the product, and it is the process that needs the big change.  In the past we have waited patiently for curriculum (among other things) to be handed to us, and that is no longer enough.  We don’t want our students to act as passive receptacles of knowledge transfer, so we can’t be that ourselves.

My job is not to help these schools develop their curriculum; there are much better sources for that, many of whom are already teaching in these schools.  My job is to help them understand the value of great process and build an internal capacity for the ongoing evolution of curriculum (among many other things!).

This is about as fundamental as it gets in school innovation.  Do you and every member of your educational team (teachers, parents, students, community) understand the difference between process and product? Do they understand the difference between passive reception and internal capacity building?  Does your community have clarity of expectation when it comes to who is responsible for owning that capacity?

4 thoughts on “Process Before Product

  1. Marilyn Barlow

    I’m a new Zealand teacher, and – er … I can’t quite remember how I came to receive emails from this source in the first place, or even how long I’ve been receiving them. Are you UK-based? Is this blog maybe the UK equivalent of our vln (Virtual Learning Network) which has been set up by the NZ Ministry of Education as a sharing site for teachers? Whether or not, I love reading bits and pieces from The Future of K – 12 Education, and find much there that is useful and thought-provoking and relevant.

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      Kia ora, Marilyn! Not sure, but I had the pleasure and honor of keynoting and workshopping the big conference in Auckland last September (or was it early October), and I know that a number of my peeps Down Under were sharing my site as a resource. I have had a couple of great opportunities to chat and vodcast on @EdChatNZ, and have connected with the good folks at uLearn, so maybe some of these are how you got linked in. I am in San Diego, California (just had the pleasure of seeing Hobsonville Point Secondary teacher Danielle Myburgh here a couple of weeks ago.)

      Reply
  2. Allie

    Hi Grant-
    I always appreciate your short and thoughtful posts. My work is focused on Early Childhood, a time when a child’s learning happens through their exploration of the world. Process over product is really key with this age group, I think, and should play a big role in education at all levels.

    Its interesting how challenging is can be to emphasize process, even when there is a tangible product involved. In ECE, more and more educators are seeing the value in documentation of the process, and having a full story to tell. I imagine that as students develop, telling their own story or process might be another valuable layer to add.
    Thanks again!

    Reply

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