Perhaps students seem disinterested. You could blame it on the curriculum — lessons must not be relevant.
Maybe students are frustrated. You could blame it on the curriculum — content must be too theoretical, not within your students’ ability to understand.
Or, students could be bored. You could blame it on the curriculum — methods and visuals must not be creative enough.
Perhaps students don’t seem to be growing. You could blame it on the curriculum — content must not be deep enough.
You might be quick to think the solution is changing to a different curriculum. But, could it be you just need to change the way you use the curriculum?
Should you change to a different curriculum?
The most glaring reason to switch to a new curriculum is if it is not doctrinally sound. Also, if it consistently appears to miss the mark developmentally or in the teaching-learning process, then it is time to consider using a different curriculum. Ideally questions about these issues should be asked when choosing curriculum not once it is in use. See: What to Look for in Choosing Curriculum
Is the problem really the curriculum or the way the curriculum is being used? Teachers must step back and consider a couple realities about any curriculum:
All curriculum will undoubtedly have its pluses and minuses. Remember, the Word of God is the inspired writing, not the curriculum. The Word of God is infallible, not the curriculum. Yet, you should be using curriculum that seems to line up with what the Bible teaches, employing sound hermeneutics (means of interpreting it).
Curriculum writers develop curriculum for the general church populace. They cannot tap into each unique setting. Consequently, the curriculum will not always fit your particular students, facilities, or time schedule. Some curriculum provides alternative ideas to better fit your situation. Yet, curriculum you use should at least be in the general age level needs and ability range of your students. For Help: Age Level Development Resources
Should you change the way you use your curriculum?
If you tend to prepare lessons by only reading through the teacher’s manual, then you need to change the way you use your curriculum. God’s Word is the real Teaching Manual. You need to view curriculum more as a tool. Also Read: Lesson Prep: Awareness Needed
If you tend to always use the curriculum exactly as it is written, then you need to change the way you use your curriculum. You sometimes need to tailor it to your situation or to your students’ needs and interests. Resource: When You Need to Adjust the Curriculum Worksheet
If you teach out of the teacher’s manual, reading word for word, then you need to change the way you use your curriculum. You are relying too much on the curriculum. It is not intended to be read verbatim but rather to be used as a guide. It’s hard to keep a pulse on what’s happening and make adjustments as needed when tethered to the manual.
Let’s be honest: Can we always blame the curriculum if the lesson isn’t going well?