Evaluating the AP Euro Redesign

I’ve been busy the past few weeks. Change is always nerve-wracking, but I try to view change as an opportunity to improve things. Moving is a good chance to purge old things from the closet and basement, teaching new courses is an opportunity to look for new methodologies and resources, and a redesigned curriculum is an opportunity to rethink how to teach a familiar subject. So I’ve been working to break down the redesign and figure out ways to improve my class.

It’s important to understand that all schools, all classes, and all students are different. Understanding your students’ strengths and weaknesses, along with those of the school, is essential to determining the best way to approach any class. The difference here is that we have been given a clearly laid out curriculum, a set of skills to develop in our students, and a set of themes to explicitly connect throughout the year.

Sounds like a lot, right?

Well, here are two videos I put together highlighting both sides of the issue. There are definite challenges to implementing this curriculum as written, and there are some definite benefits. I see the benefits far outweighing the challenges, so I am diving in headfirst with the redesign. I might change the order of a couple things, but not too much.

Any change creates controversy, and this redesign has teachers around the country talking about what to do. Some advocate continuing to teach the way that has always worked, while others are fretting about how to change their course to meet the requirements. This is causing people lots of stress.

So watch the videos, and please let me know what you think. I’ll be blogging throughout the year to chronicle my quest for teaching perfection (please, no King Arthur jokes), so be sure to follow this blog to catch my updates. And, while you’re at it, check out my website at http://www.sargenotes.com, where I have been busily working on implementing the redesign.

I look forward to your feedback.