The Skills Needed to Excel in a Curriculum and Instruction Program

Amanda Martin
Amanda Martin
Elementary school music teacher; M.A.Ed. In Curriculum and Instruction
A hand writes the word “curriculum” and underlines it with a marker.

How will You be Challenged in a Curriculum and Instruction Graduate Program?

Curriculum and instruction programs offered at the graduate level will challenge you in many ways and enhance the way you serve your students. Most programs present upcoming instructional ideas and methods for implementing instruction that may provide a learning advantage to students.

Additionally, graduate students learn how to meet the needs of learners at all levels and understand the need for diversity and community to strengthen and raise student achievement. Although there are several benefits to a curriculum and instruction program, many challenges can make the program more demanding and intense yet still exciting in nature! It is through those challenges that some of the best learning can be acquired.

Develop Instructional Skills and Strategies

One of the main goals of a curriculum and instruction master’s or doctorate is to help develop and grow a teacher’s instructional skills. Graduate students are introduced to new strategies and pedagogy that allow teachers to better serve their students at all developmental levels; however, the number of strategies introduced may overwhelm students when they attempt to incorporate them into their classrooms. Although implementing a new strategy does not need to happen all at once, the number of quality approaches that are presented excite students and teachers and entice them to try them out as soon as possible to see if they better meet student learning needs.

Understand Leadership in Education

Graduate students are challenged with understanding how educational leadership works and operates. During an undergraduate program, most courses do not emphasize educational leadership as their focus is more on classroom management and basic instructional practices. In a curriculum and instruction master’s program, students begin to understand the procedures within educational leadership, the legal side of education, and how to handle situations as a school administrator appropriately.

Disadvantages Due to the Pandemic 

Due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, most programs shifted to a virtual platform versus traditional in-person learning. Many college-level students prefer online courses due to their convenience for those working full-time or with children, but virtual education is not without its challenges. It can be much harder to collaborate and share with others in an online setting as most communication comes in the form of email. However, it would be beneficial to utilize other electronic or virtual means of communication such as Zoom conferences or Google Meets to keep the quality of collaboration and discussion high as part of a curriculum and instruction master’s online program.

What Skills are Needed for Success in a Curriculum and Instruction Graduate Program?

Openness to New Ideas 

Throughout the progression of a graduate curriculum and instruction program, students will be introduced to many new ideas. From instructional strategies to procedures to better assist students, graduate students must be willing to entertain new methods of teaching and instruction to optimize learning better and determine their effectiveness in the classroom.

Not all of the strategies or approaches introduced in coursework will benefit every classroom; however, students must be open to the idea that new strategies can enhance learning in the classroom and may better meet the needs of various students. Openness to ideas can make the learning process much easier for graduate students because a change in the classroom can sometimes lead the way for more student and teacher growth! This skill will benefit them later in curriculum and instruction jobs.

Collaboration Skills

Students in graduate-level courses must be prepared to frequently work with others throughout the program. Collaboration is a critical component of a curriculum and instruction program as students are expected to share ideas and expand their thinking through discussions with other students. These discussions are extremely important to coursework development as most students develop ideas on the content via class discussions. Through class forums, gatherings, online chat groups, and emails, students are tasked with interacting with others to expand their knowledge of the content at hand. These skills are crucial for success in a curriculum and instruction program, seeing as many courses require collaboration with classmates as a course requirement. Collaboration skills will additionally help graduate students become better listeners, enhance their thoughts and ideas, and better serve others when placed in a role of educational leadership.

Research Skills 

As with most graduate-level courses, there is almost always a research component via a thesis, dissertation, or research project. This type of research assignment is generally conducted near the end of a curriculum and instruction program. Most frequently, students will select a topic relevant to their field, pose a question that must be answered about the topic, collect information and data, and summarize the findings.

These research assignments require students to have a thorough understanding of the chosen topic and correct interpretations of the findings, but to do this, students must conduct in-depth and methodical research. Research skills help graduate students be more detailed and rigorous. It is also important to note that research skills allow educators to solve more complex problems in the classroom that may hinder student learning and growth.

Data Skills

As mentioned before, research projects may require data gathering or data analysis, and graduate students must formulate data via conducting surveys, polls, or assessments. They must interpret the results to determine whether or not they are relevant to the topic at hand, etc. Not only are data skills crucial to a graduate program, but they are also used consistently in the classroom as well to determine student achievement.

Utilize Virtual Tools 

As stated previously, many graduate programs adopted virtual platforms to continue instruction and follow procedures for social distancing during the pandemic. As a result, many students “missed out” on the advantages of traditional instruction and group collaboration; however, many recent advancements in online instruction have made it easier for students to learn with others without being in the same room.

From Zoom to Google Classroom, graduate students can partake in classroom discussions and group collaborations from almost anywhere. These virtual skills help students at the graduate level, but these resources also help teachers organize and present instructional content in new and exciting ways. They also make content available from home when students miss school for illness or other reasons.

graduate program favicon

Looking for a graduate program?