Articulation refers to the logical progression of learning objectives from grade level to grade level, from course to course, within the curricular content areas. Articulation explains the connectivity of learning that creates seamless learning throughout a student’s educational experience. Articulation within a team environment is crucial and means involving teachers from multiple grade levels to collaborate on implementing curriculum in ways that enhance the intended articulation.
We as educators know that time is perhaps the most important but least available resource in American education. Teachers need time to plan curriculum and develop assessments, refine instructional strategies, and engage in collaborative inquiry to improve student work. Current and former editors of the Middle School Journal, report that in the United States teachers do not have the needed hours to plan and articulate, yet they teach more hours than the teachers in all 15 European countries (1997). Holland, a writer and investigative reporter specializing in education coverage, reports that the National Commission on Teaching & America’s Future, found that teachers in Germany, Japan, and China spend 15 to 20 hours a week working with teachers in study groups to collaborate and observe. These teachers indicated that they could not perform their jobs successfully if they were working under the same conditions as American teachers, where little time is allowed to plan and work on instruction and curriculum with other teachers (Holland, 1997).
There are a few ways to promote curriculum articulation and create seamless learning and close achievement gaps throughout grade levels. Here are a few:
- · Grade level team meetings- Meeting as a grade should be done at least once a week to discuss content, skills, and benchmarks at each grade level. When teachers meet as a grade level they support each other and the implementation of curricular and instructional innovations.
- · Professional Learning Communities- In PLC’s teachers work together collaboratively to analyze and improve classroom practice. Teachers work in teams, engaging in an ongoing cycle of questions that promote deep team learning, identify goals to close achievement gaps, and this process in turn leads to higher levels of student achievement.
Whatever the method of collaboration and professional study is, recognizing the value of this activity is essential. Schools need to make it a priority to adapt their schedules in order to ensure that teachers and other professionals have time to collaborate.