Teaching Using the Spiral Curriculum Approach

The Spiral Curriculum is based on a theory first introduced by Jerome Bruner in 1960. His approach hypothesized that as long as the material being taught was correctly structured and presented, even young individuals would be capable of learning it, despite its complexities.

Spiral Curriculum is a teaching method where the student is constantly being exposed to the same topic throughout the school year or the basics are revised every year as they progress in their education.

Why is this a useful way of teaching?

  • As the student is repetitively exposed to the topic of interest, s/he is able to better understand it and solidify their knowledge regarding it.
  • Each revisit allows for a deeper understanding of the topic.
  • With each revisit, the teacher builds upon the prior knowledge, instead of starting fresh.
  • The student becomes comfortable with the topic, being able to implement the knowledge and advance their future learning by probing questions.
  • The student is confident moving on to the next grade, having learned this topic comprehensively.

Let’s look at Comprehensive Reading in English as an example!

  • Using the Spiral Curriculum, the student is taught comprehensive reading every year throughout their elementary education.
  • This means that every year, as the student is reading stories, s/he is learning how to identify the characters, the plot, the climax, and the lessons being derived from the story.
  • As the years add up and thus, more stories are being read, it becomes easier for the student to be able to identify the basics of story-telling.
  • For example, the student may have difficulty identifying the characters in the story at the beginning of grade 1. However, by the end of grade 1, the student may even be able to differentiate between the good guys and the not-so-good guys!
  • Perhaps, by the end of grade 5, the student will be able to exactly pinpoint the climax in the story!

Other Benefits include:

  1. If the student’s knowledge wasn’t solidified in the previous school year, this teaching approach will help them catch up and not feel left behind.
  2. Despite the student’s age, s/he will be able to learn the concepts due to the structure of this teaching method.
  3. If the student has missed a school year/part of the school year, then the concepts will be revised enough times to complete the missed gap!

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