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The Big Picture

February 26, 2007 1 min read

There’s always lots of talk about how subjects should be taught. Thousands of gallons of ink have been spilled in the battle over whether phonics or whole language is the “better” reading-instruction tool. Entire organizations, decades of debate, and even stalking accusations have sprung up around the “right” way to teach math.

But apart from occasional flareups over evolution or global warming (page 16), relatively little thought seems focused on the curriculum—the actual content of what is being taught. Maybe it just seems too big a topic to tackle all at once.

As Teacher Magazine chairman and founding editor Ronald A. Wolk notes in his column, “Nearly everybody just accepts curriculum as it’s always been.”

That’s a shame, since, as the stories in this issue show, teaching children something different can get them thinking in new and different ways.

Teachers—even teacher-leaders—aren’t always able to shape their curricula as directly as they’d like. Sometimes it takes an educator a whole career of lobbying, finessing, and outright begging (on top of all the teaching) just to add one class to her school’s course list.

Maybe curriculum is too big a subject to really get a mind around—like trying to learn world geography by staring at the inch of ground between your feet.

But perhaps that’s the best place to start.

—Scott J. Cech, Executive Editor

P.S. A word about this icon: Starting with this issue, you’ll see it on each story that has related video available online.

Why video? We’re committed to bringing you the full spectrum of content that matters to you as a teacher. And we’ll be using the full spectrum of media to do it. Stay tuned to

A version of this article appeared in the March 01, 2007 edition of Teacher