When an instructor, teacher or professor prepares to teach a class, they are given a curriculum to guide them through teaching the course. A curriculum writer is the person who creates the curriculum. Sometimes they are given guidelines by school boards or districts; others follow parameters set forth by other governing bodies, such as private consulting firms, or are free to use their own resources and knowledge to develop a course outline.
Unlike creative writers, a curriculum writer leans more toward a technical style of writing. He is responsible for breaking down the curriculum into logical steps. An outline is commonly used, as it incorporates headings and subheadings to clearly illustrate the phases of the curriculum.
The ideal curriculum should have an unmistakable goal, and each stage should build upon the last. It is also important for the curriculum writer to keep the plan interesting by introducing related readings and exercises to stimulate both teachers and students. The lesson plans often include guidelines for quizzes and essays that promote discussion and expansion of the subject at hand.
Before the position of curriculum writer was created, teachers wrote their own curriculums as part of their jobs. With or without suggestions or direction from the administrative staff or governing boards, teachers developed curriculums based on what had encouraged their students in the past and added topics and points of view to fuel interest and discussion. They would often write options into their curriculums so if one path seemed destined for dullness, teachers could change the direction of the course without losing sight of the goal.
Many curriculum writers are former teachers who discover their talents are geared more toward developing lesson plans than instructing in a classroom environment. Technical writers with a penchant for education often find curriculum writing a fulfilling and profitable career. Regardless of the background of a curriculum writer, he must be able to follow the guidelines of whatever educational objective is set forth.
Not all curriculum writing requires creating a curriculum from scratch. There are often successful curriculums in place that only need fine tuning, such as adding new information on a topic or new approaches to problem solving. The curriculum writer must determine what to keep and what to discard. The final approval of the curriculum is normally not made by the writer, but by a panel of experienced educators and educational administrators.
Depending on the nature of the institution, a curriculum writer generally is required to follow guidelines submitted by the hiring administration. These instructions may come from a school board, a local or national educational standards organization or from a private consulting firm specializing in curriculum content. He may also be required to be available to clarify or modify certain aspects of the curriculum after it is accepted.