by Banu Ucar, Isikkent High School
As a language teacher who has been responsible for managing the Curriculum System Atlas at a secondary school since 2011, making it efficient was not easy. Fast forward to present day and we are one of the leading institutions using Atlas in a very productive and effective way. Over time, we found that the system was adaptable and the school community was ready for curriculum development. You know the adage: “Winners Never Quit & Quitters Never Win!” Here is how it happened.
Why do schools need an institutional memory?
We are all educators, teachers and administrators. There is no doubt that we witness not only teachers circulating, but also systems changing and computers breaking down. Starting the academic year with no plans? We all know this is not possible. Or maybe typing the plan content sentence by sentence in a word document, then store them where? Imagine yourself as a teacher starting to work in a new school; wouldn’t it be nice to see what the students learned the year before right with one click? Besides, for the accreditation visits; reporting would be beneficial to prove the terms of education you are providing.
Your institutional memory is not only a proof of your curriculum progress, but also a professional way of storing your teaching plans and more.
Creating and customizing planners
Imagine a blank page in your hands. You are able to create boxes, drop downs, attachment tools and many more. What would be the best planner(s) like to be used by your teachers? What else can be added to make it as much user friendly as possible? Of course, the answers will be depending on your curriculum type and approach.
Tips for managing the curriculum
You will be the bridge between your school and the Atlas Team. It is very important that you identify the needs and expectations of your school, so that the Atlas Team can design the best fit for you. Don’t forget that everything is revisable, however you have to predict the potential problems and take precautions accordingly. Regular trainings and one to one support are appreciated by teachers.
These are the musts of the system, although they are always the most time-consuming items especially for the teachers. Having them translated in both languages makes them user friendly for everybody. After teachers select the appropriate learning outcomes according to their units, it is possible to prepare reports not only for accreditation visits, but also parent bulletins.
Checking plans, is there any need?
Checking the teachers work in the planners is a huge amount of work for the curriculum leaders. If the teachers see the reason and need behind planning through Atlas, there will be no need to check their work as they will be using it willingly.
So, what are the advantages?
At the end of the day, we are all environment-friendly institutions. There is no doubt that waste of paper is avoided thanks to Atlas. If your school is following international approaches such as IB Programmes, many updates and changes are carefully followed by the Atlas Team. Your teachers won’t need to type the long content as they will automatically be placed in your plans. Because it is online, the plans are up in the air! Also, the transparent way of seeing teaching is available on Atlas: all the content can be observed by the community working at different levels which means that curriculum improvement and interdisciplinary projects are highly supported.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As a language teacher working in the education sector for 19 years, Banu Ucar has taught students from age 3 to adults. Recently holding the position as the Technical Curriculum Coordinator of Isikkent High School, she has been responsible for Atlas System since 2011. Ms Ucar is also the University Counselor and the Professional Career Coach of her school and organizes various events for High School Students to shape their future.