Tips for navigating a curriculum change

  • 3 minute read
  • 4 May 2023

“Consider how the new curriculum helps support what you already know works in the classroom. Learn about the differences, rather than just reinventing the wheel.”

If this is your first curriculum change or you’re just not sure how to prepare, hearing from others who’ve already been through the process is invaluable.

Former Head of Maths and current Head of Content Development at Maths Pathway, Mati Papasimeon has navigated multiple curriculum changes. After navigating curriculum changes as a teacher, Head of Department and as our Head of Content Development, Mati has immense experience and tips to share.

We sat down with Mati and asked for her top advice and to make things even easier, we’ve created a free downloadable checklist to help you get organised for the upcoming curriculum changes.

Hey Mati! Tell us about your experience as a teacher and how you’ve come to be the Head of Content Development at Maths Pathway

I tutored mathematics extensively and found that I both enjoyed it and could help students really understand mathematics and feel good about their learning. This is what inspired me to study teaching formally. 

I taught Year 7 through to Year 12 Specialist Mathematics for many years. I held leadership roles in mathematics curriculum at my last school for 8 years before joining Maths Pathway. I was at a school where I could directly influence the education of around 2000 students per year. What sold me on joining Maths Pathway is being asked by its cofounder to consider the impact my work could have on thousands more students by working here. 

How many Curriculum Changes have you been through, both as a teacher, and at Maths Pathway?

As a beginning teacher: Transition from CSF to CSFII
As a teacher: VELS, AusVELS
As a Head of Department: Victorian Curriculum F-10, Australian Curriculum v8.4,  Various VCE Curricula changes, using various frameworks to design curriculum (UbD – Understanding by Design framework, Solo Taxonomy)
At Maths Pathway: Australian Curriculum v9.0, Numeracy Learning Progressions, Victorian Curriculum, NSW Curriculum , QLD Curriculum

What is your number one piece of advice for a teacher going through a new Curriculum Change?

Consider how the new curriculum helps support what you already know works in the classroom. Learn about the differences, rather than just reinventing the wheel. As a curriculum leader, make sure your team has significant time to implement a curriculum change well. Do not focus on documentation – what matters is what happens in the classroom day to day

How can teachers support one another to implement these changes?

If you have capacity, be a mentor for younger teachers. I was lucky as a beginning teacher to have worked with an amazing group of teachers, who taught me everything I know about teaching. Don’t work in a silo and worry only about your own classes. You adopt the previous teacher’s class the following year, so whatever you can do to support your colleagues benefits you too. Not to mention the benefit to your students! Share your resources and expertise.

What part do you think EdTech/classroom resources play in supporting teachers through a curriculum change?

Teachers are time poor. We can help by analysing the curriculum for you, letting you know exactly what is new, and providing resources from teachers that are experts in teaching this content. We can also help with the documentation, assessment and reporting. We can help you properly differentiate content. EdTech will never replace a teacher – but it can make a teacher’s life easier and their effectiveness greater. 

What resources did you use during a curriculum change you went through and how could the process have been easier if you had access to a resource like Maths Pathway?

One mistake I made early in my career is reinventing the wheel every time there was a new curriculum change. There was never enough time for one person to properly analyse any changes. This ended up creating a lot of documentation work, and not enough planning time on how to actually teach the content. My advice is not to rush into curriculum changes and plan carefully so none of your students end up with gaps as you transition into a new curriculum. 

How is Maths Pathway setting teachers up to transition to the new curriculum with ease?

With Maths Pathway it’s as simple as flicking a switch. We have analysed the new curriculum and compared it to the old, so can tell you exactly what is new and what is out. We have developed new resources for the new content, with fully worked solutions. You can use these as a starting point for developing other resources, or use as is. 

We have also created topic plans that make sense – that are not all two weeks long, but that actually take into account the complexity of each topic and allow the correct amount of time.  We have written new assessment items, to make sure you are assessing the new content, also. The way our model works, you will not introduce any gaps in student knowledge. This will give students the best possible chance of being prepared for senior maths.

For more tips, resources, and advice visit our curriculum page.

Author: Maths Pathway
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