The Saber-Tooth Curriculum
The Saber-Tooth Curriculum is described as being, “A classic of
educational criticism that proves its relevance in light of today’s
educational quandaries.” I would certainly agree with this
description, but this is quite disturbing because The Saber-Tooth
Curriculum was first published more than 65 years ago.
The Saber-Tooth Curriculum describes how educators tend to cling to the
same patterns of education. When we finally recognize the need to
add new content to the curriculum, we are still resistant to change our
methods of instruction or to delete outdated information from the
curriculum. We tend to add and add without make other necessary
adaptations. Perhaps the malformed backs of the current
generation of students will finally catch our attention. We
adopted new literature books this year. Each book weighs over
seven pounds, most students take seven academic courses, and the
walking distance to school for high school students is up to one mile.
The Saber-Tooth Curriculum illustrates the importance of continually
reviewing, revising, and improving our pedagogical practices based upon
current and anticipated future needs. Sometimes what we learn in
the past is valuable and can be applicable to current needs, but we
cannot blindly continue doing what we’ve always done or we become
vulnerable and ineffective.
Educators must continue to see themselves as learners to adequately
teach their students. I am so frustrated that such a high
percentage of teachers do not like putting themselves in the role of
learner as adults. Would we be comfortable and confident visiting
a doctor who didn’t maintain current certifications? Certainly
not. Professionals must stay current and continue learning to
remain effective. Unfortunately, it is often the poor quality of
teacher training that squelches teacher enthusiasm for learning.
It was also interesting to see in later readings, such as Levy and
Murnane’s A New Division of Labor
and Friedman’s The World is Flat, how modern day examples of a failure
to adapt our teachings can affect economies and societies. We
must remember these potentially destructive real world consequences for
our failure to adequately plan and prepare students for their futures.