Curricular differences should be used as springboard for improvements

Discussing curricula with students from other schools can improve our own studies.


illustration by Ellie Grever

The differences between St. Teresa’s Academy and Bishop Miege, Notre Dame de Sion or Rockhurst are innumerable. Each school has its own style, traditions, student body and curricula. Nonetheless, we can use these differences to our advantage through communication.

Local schools’ administrations meet often to discuss policies and course content. Teachers hold faculty retreats to share teaching techniques and approaches. These are necessary and even beneficial so that the staff can learn new teaching strategies and optimize their own curricula. However, communication should not stop with faculty. Students can gain a stronger comprehension and appreciation for education – both their peers’ and their own – by discussing their classes with other students. They will learn to value their own education as well as gain new perspectives and even ideas for the future.

One example of this is the study of female authors and protagonists, which is far more prevalent at all-girls’ schools such as St. Teresa’s and Sion. While subjects such as history and literature often focus on male accomplishments and pursuits, females are often under-represented, particularly in male education. Students must ask themselves the value of learning about women and why they do or don’t study them, in order to gain a full understanding of their education.

The most effective way to combat a lack of understanding is clear and honest communication. Yes, there are genuinely misogynistic people out there, but many who do not understand are merely un- or under-educated about the significance of female representation. We take great strides when we stop the cycle of ignoring historically marginalized demographics in our education. Not only that, but discussing curricula as a whole is incredibly beneficial to all parties involved. When students from different schools discuss curricula with each other, they gain a better understanding of what other schools learn and how that influences their peers. We can observe the differences between schools and ask ourselves and each other questions about these differences: What are they learning? Why are they learning it? Is it beneficial for us to learn it? Why or why not? No school, class or curriculum is perfect, but with open minds and open lines of communication, we can continue to improve upon existing systems and further our learning.