Chapter One: The Curriculum that Lived

A Rationale for Curricular Change

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Hogwarts Express. Courtesy of Wordpress

My pride and joy are a full set of the first edition, first printings of each of the American Harry Potter books. The first chapter in the series is titled “The Boy Who Lived.” This offers the reader hope from the very beginning, bit it also creates a central question in the series — why did he live? Was he special? Was he destined for greatness? Examining the series tells us that no — he was simply in the right place at the right time. What made him great, then? Was it his unique brain? No — that was Hermione. What about his skilled sense of humor? Again — no. His “greatness” came not from his own efforts, but from his friends. From his teachers. Harry Potter was not great because of his own efforts. To summarize Dumbledore, he was great because he was loved. What happens when we love our students — or even the curriculum? It too can become great.

The Metaphor

There was once a curriculum who lived on Children’s Book Drive. This curriculum was not particularly special, nor was she particularly valued. Or so she thought. Little Lit255 was like most other curricula in the city: CCCS (some thought this stood for “Colorado Community College System,” and others thought this stood for “Crazy, Crappy, Curricular State,” but in truth, no one really knew anymore), in that it was stuck. It couldn’t transfer anywhere! Unfortunately, everyone in CCCS thought that curricula who lived on Children’s Book Drive were not as important as other curricula in the city, such as those who lived on Bio Boulevard or Literature Lane. Little Lit255 was about to get a change though — a change in which everyone who loved the curriculum would see to it that Little Lit255 could transfer anywhere she wanted.

The Reality: We Can Be Better

As a literature discipline (LIT) for the Colorado Community College System, we have not been responsive to the needs of our communities, and to a lesser degree, our students — but the biggest area in which we can improve is in our commitment to the discipline itself — to the subject matter. Children’s literature has a number of issues with respect to the curriculum, and what follows is a plan not only for addressing the curricular issues, but also for continued review of curriculum within the LIT discipline. The first step in this process follows: an examination of needs…through the lens of Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Chapter Two: Chicken Soup for the Curriculum Designer’s Soul