spiral curriculum

what is the definition of spiral curriculum?

Spiral curriculum is an approach to education that introduces key concepts to students at a young age and covers these concepts repeatedly, with increasing degrees of complexity. This approach is also known as also known as a "spaced" or "distrubuted" approach. It contrasts with "blocked" or "massed" curricula, which do not introduce difficult concepts until the student has reached a higher level of education.

Spiral curriculum is an approach to education that introduces key concepts to students at a young age and covers these concepts repeatedly, with increasing degrees of complexity. This approach is also known as also known as a "spaced" or "distrubuted" approach. It contrasts with "blocked" or "massed" curricula, which do not introduce difficult concepts until the student has reached a higher level of education.

For example, Everyday Mathematics, a curriculum designed with the spiral approach, organizes its lessons around six broad categories (strands) of mathematical concepts that are taught in multiple units each year. Rather than waiting until students have mastered addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, Everyday Mathematics introduces algebraic concepts as early as kindergarten, when students are taught to recognize patterns and find rules governing specific mathematical functions. The curriculum returns to these ideas frequently, adding new information each year and setting higher comprehension goals for each grade level as students gain mastery of the subject.The idea of spiral curriculum is attributed to Jerome Bruner, who discussed it in his 1960 book, "The Process of Education." Proponents of spiral curriculum say that the approach helps students score better on tests and retain information longer than students who learn from curricula that take a massed approach.

For example, Everyday Mathematics, a curriculum designed with the spiral approach, organizes its lessons around six broad categories (strands) of mathematical concepts that are taught in multiple units each year. Rather than waiting until students have mastered addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, Everyday Mathematics introduces algebraic concepts as early as kindergarten, when students are taught to recognize patterns and find rules governing specific mathematical functions. The curriculum returns to these ideas frequently, adding new information each year and setting higher comprehension goals for each grade level as students gain mastery of the subject.

The idea of spiral curriculum is attributed to Jerome Bruner, who discussed it in his 1960 book, "The Process of Education." Proponents of spiral curriculum say that the approach helps students score better on tests and retain information longer than students who learn from curricula that take a massed approach.

bruners spiral curriculum - the 3 key principles (2021)

Bruners spiral curriculum is an approach to education that involves regularly re-visiting the same educational topics over the course of a students education. Each time the content is re-visited, the student gains deeper knowledge of the topic. It has the benefits of reinforcing information over time and using prior knowledge to inform future learning.

The spiral curriculum is defined as a curriculum that returns to the same topics over time. It is juxtaposed to methods that involve learning something then moving on, perhaps never to engage with it again. When students re-engage with a topic repeatedly, they both consolidate prior knowledge in their memory and build on it over time.

The teaching strategy was developed by cognitive theorist Jerome Bruner in 1960. Bruner reflected on the fact that many teachers implicitly use this method. However, Bruner documented the approach and its great value for curriculum designers and, ultimately, student learning.

I was struck by the fact that successful efforts to teach highly structured bodies of knowledge like mathematics, physical sciences, and even the field of history often took the form of a metamorphic spiral in which at some simple level a set of ideas or operations were introduced in a rather intuitive way and, once mastered in that spirit, were then revisited and reconstrued in a more formal or operational way, then being connected with other knowledge, the mastery at this stage then being carried one step higher to a new level of formal or operational rigour and to a broader level of abstraction and comprehensiveness. The end state of this process was eventual mastery of the connexity and structure of a large body of knowledge (Bruner, 1960, p. 141).

Educators would develop learning outcomes that have increasing levels of complexity. In the first course, a student might only need to demonstrate understanding of the topic. At the next iteration, students may need to critique or analyze. In the final iteration, the students may need to create something from scratch.

This approach is extremely common in university degrees, where freshman courses provide foundational knowledge, and complexity increases from there. By the end, a student may need to create a capstone project or dissertation that demonstrates the highest form of learning: creating something new.

In mathematics, we often return to the same content over and over again but add complexity each time. For example, your teacher may first cover simple fractions, then more complex fractions, and then start getting you to add and subtract fractions.

Rather than focusing on fractions for an entire year, your school will spread fraction classes out over a course of many years. Each time you return to fractions, your teacher will assess how well you retained previous information, and then help you build upon that prior knowledge.

Teachers and librarians will often give students books, for example, which will increase in difficulty and length one after the other. Students need to follow the sequence in order to build confidence and skill in reading.

Similarly, a student might first learn about nouns before adjectives and verbs before adverbs. This is because knowledge of adjectives requires prior knowledge of nouns and knowledge of adverbs requires prior knowledge of verbs.

In language education, we teach in very clear structures: A1, A2 (beginner), B1, B2 (intermediate) and C1, C2 (advanced). A student cannot simply start at B1, because the teacher will return to grammar and vocabulary concepts covered in A2 courses with an expectation that the students will be at least familiar with them.

The student will often struggle for a short time on the information that is re-introduced, but is expected to be able to pick it up again rather quickly because it was already taught in the past. This reinforces the importance of revision lessons prior to the beginning of the higher level content.

A major issue with the spiral approach to curriculum design is that it involves chunking of content into topic blocks. A topic will be covered intensely for a short amount of time then dropped only to be picked up again at a later date.

An alternative, the strand curriculum, aims to integrate multiple topics into every lesson, every day, in order to slowly but consistently work on topics of a long period of time. This may prevent memory loss and loss of momentum that occurs when topics are left alone entirely for period of time.

[In a strand curriculum] each lesson is organized around multiple skills or topics rather than around a single skill or topic. Each skill/topic is addressed for only 5 to 10 min in any given days lesson but is revisited day after day for many lessons.

Jerome Bruners spiral curriculum approach highlights the importance of re-engaging with ideas over time in order to keep them fresh in our minds and consistently build on ideas. It is based on the three principles of: (1) Cyclical Learning, (2) Increasing Depth on each Iteration, and (3) Learning by building on prior knowledge.

The approach also highlights the open-ended nature of learning. In other words, it shows how learning is a never-ending lifelong process. While it is widely accepted as an appropriate approach for long-term school curriculum design, its limitations include the risk that the curriculum becomes too rigid and crowded, and that educators will have to focus on re-teaching content that wasnt taught well enough (or was forgotten) the last time the topic was taught.

Lohani, V. K., Mallikarjunan, K., Wolfe, M. L., Wildman, T., Connor, J., Muffo, J., & Chang, M. (2005, October). Work in progress-spiral approach to curriculum to reformulate engineering curriculum. In Proceedings Frontiers in Education 35th Annual Conference. IEEE.

spiral curriculum - what is it? - exploring your mind

The Singapore math method is a methodology designed by the INE of Singapore that intended for students to learn mathematics without the need to memorize anything. It focuses on the why and how, with the idea that answers help improve the understanding of knowledge and, consequently, facilitate the memorization process.

Thus, this method has a lot to do with the spiral curriculum discovered by Jerome Bruner, a psychologist who made important contributions to the field of teaching and learning. Among them, this methodological proposal that youre about to discover.

The spiral curriculum addresses learning in a way in which students can go from general knowledge to specialized knowledge. The way he achieves it is by continuous learning, as it prevents concepts from easily falling into oblivion.

To achieve this, the spiral curriculum begins with very simple concepts that will become complicated as students make progress in their learning. They can do so since the curriculum adapts to the possibilities that students have. Thus, everyone can move forward and better understand the concepts of a subject.

However, something thats essential for this curriculum to work is that, on a recurring basis, the students return to the same general themes; to the broad principle. What are they supposed to accomplish with this? Well, when they return to the deeper part of the subject, theyll be able to make various analyzes and representations of what they previously analyzed.

With this curriculum, Bruner intended for students to feed their curiosity. To find inspiration to expand their knowledge, returning with another look to what they already know. Thus, they could reason and review the conclusions they previously reached.

Understanding that making mistakes shouldnt produce embarrassment, but rather be a way to reorient the hypotheses and continue researching is an important way to learn that, in fact, promotes the spiral curriculum. Undoubtedly, its a different way to teach students. Yet, it yields very positive results.

Now that you know more about the spiral curriculum, heres a brief example of how learning takes place with it. Youll start with a very simple objective for young children, such as recognizing and classifying animals.

The first point is to classify the animals and analyze the similarities and differences in each one of them. Later, students will begin to familiarize themselves with the habitats of each animal and their individual behaviors. Finally, theyll study their anatomy and physiology.

This is very easy. As the habitats move forward, theyll turn to the concepts they already learned so that students can relate what they previously knew to what they just learned. Thus, they can really understand what theyre studying and feel more curious to find out more about it.

In conclusion, the spiral curriculum allows you to work in a way where a student can think for themselves, draw conclusions, and repair mistakes. A way that promotes research, understanding, and puts aside the temptation to memorize concepts without understanding them just to pass an exam. So, do you think it would be possible to implement this curriculum in the current educational model?

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