On the opening day of Saskatoon’s new bridge, my son insisted that we check it out. I am so glad he did!!! All the inconveniences of the past few years have come together so elegantly linking parts of the city that seemed so far apart before. What use to be at least a 30-minute drive is now a quick streamlined, pothole-free trip.
For a curriculum consultant, the long-term planning of the bridge—100 years apparently—the vision, and the various stages from start to finish offers several lessons for large-scale curriculum construction and renewal:
- Have a clear purpose and vision. What is it that will be accomplished by this change? What is the preferred state that you hope to achieve with this reVISION or reNEWal?
- Hold up the vision and the purpose frequently and consistently. When energy or enthusiasms flag, return the vision and purpose.
- Know that there will be re-routing and bumpy roads while the curriculum is under construction. Again, revisit the vision and the reasons for the change.
- Design each stage of the change thoughtfully. Although stages may not be ideal, the increments are important in making the transition as smooth as possible.
- The City didn’t meet its proposed opening date but it did open. It may be the same for your curriculum revision project. With your eye firmly on the shared vision, know there will be messy stages, delays, and unanticipated glitches. Keep moving forward with the plan for the change. Celebrate and note progress often. Each new accomplishment gives an opportunity to revisit the vision and purpose.
- One person did not build the new bridge—it was a team effort. I would imagine that very few people who worked on the bridge at the various stages knew exactly how their part fit into the finished project. It may be the same for a curriculum revision project. An aspect of leadership in a large project is to pull together a skilled team to contribute their expertise as required at the various stages.
- Before we know it, this new bridge in Saskatoon will become ordinary and integrated into our ways of getting around. Be curious about how long it will take for the “new program” to become “normal” and then the “old program.”
- Curriculum renewal is cyclical. Eventually the new bridge will need repairs and maintenance. This is the same with any curriculum. Regular attention and maintenance can help keep the program current and vibrant.
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Photo courtesy of Mark Welsh under a Creative Commons License