“You cannot give what you don’t have. ” Similarly, you cannot teach what you don’t know. This is the message of Gene Bottoms’ article “What Principals Need to Know about Curriculum and Instruction. ” According to Bottom (n. d. ), “School leaders need to understand the ‘big ideas’ that should be taught in the core curriculum. They do not need to be experts, but they should know enough to determine whether students are being taught the body of knowledge, the understandings and the skills that they are expected to learn in the core curriculum…
They need to be able to help teachers identify the things that students should learn in greater depth. ” True enough, school leaders, principals, are more effective when they know what the students need to learn and how the teachers are able give these lessons. Leaders cannot lead when they are uninformed. School curriculum are information based, meaning, students learn from the information that the teachers are providing. Although not all knowledge must be spoon fed, the quality of teaching motivates the students to study. Leaders should be able to recognize whether teachers are advancing students’ literacy skills and requiring students to use these skill to learn in all courses,” according to Bottoms (n. d. ).
Of course, leaders will be unable to recognize if these are met if they are, in the first place, not knowledgeable with these skills. Bottoms (n. d) added that “leaders need to know what students are supposed to learn and the standards they are supposed to meet… [They] need to know enough about assessment to be able to lead teams of teachers… There are a lot of things school leaders need to know to aid in effective teaching and Bottoms have enumerated most of them. These includes, but not limited to, having a working knowledge of research-based, student-centered instruction; integration of technology into instructional strategies; know and help teachers learn new instructional methods; know about teaching and learning to be able to identify teachers who are effectively doing their job in raising student achievement.
School leaders should also be able to “build an organizational structure that will allow teams of teachers to connect what they are teaching and to develop ways to make learning more meaningful to more students” (Bottoms n. d. ). Bottoms (n. d. ) also gave advice that school leaders must know to support “teachers with continuous opportunities for growth and development. ” He held that “Effective leaders provide opportunities for teachers to strengthen their subject-matter knowledge while learning new research-based, student-centered instructional strategies.
The best staff development combines content knowledge and instructional methods” (Bottoms n. d. ). Furthermore, Bottoms held that school leaders should be firm in their decision for students to be taught at a higher level. They must be able to make teachers to understand the importance of teaching advanced content to students. School leaders that know what to do and how to do things are better equipped with providing quality education to students.
As with any other organization, standards set by the leaders dictate the success of the organization and leaders who promote sub-standard strategies are just aren’t good enough. School leaders must set scholastic standards and promote effective instructional methods, and there’s no better way to do it than for the leaders to be knowledgeable themselves with matters of curriculum and instruction.