Instructional Designers- Job Description

A Made-Up Job Description:

Candidates for the position of Head of Curriculum and Instruction are needed for a fast growing International School in NoWhere.

The Head of Curriculum and Instruction would be responsible for the development and assessment of all curriculum at the Primary, Middle, and High School levels. In addition, training of teachers and Heads of Departments would be needed in order to ensure proper application of such curriculum.

Successful candidates will:

  • Evaluate emerging learning technologies and conduct organizational analysis to identify readiness to implement.
  • Design engaging, supportive and challenging instructional materials and activities (using a variety of tools and applications, and multiple instructional format) for courses for students ranging from pre-Kindergarten to grade 12.
  • Design and ensure vertical and horizontal articulation of the school’s curriculum.
  • Develop curriculum for an e-learning environment
  • Recommend innovative strategies to improve instructional effectiveness.
  • Train fellow educators in such systems and curriculum.
  • Partner with IT departments to enhance current systems and tools to support learning initiatives, and to implement learning technology tools and platforms in support of learning needs.

 Required skills/knowledge/background:

  • have at least 3 years experience as classroom teachers (any PreK-12 level)
  • have experience in curriculum design
  • possess strong knowledge of instructional design, development processes, strategies, delivery, and evaluation methods
  • have excellent Writing/Editing/Reviewing and Language Skills
  • have experience in e-learning and the development of e-learning curriculum (optional)
  • have excellent work ethic and strong interpersonal skills

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What are teachers expected to do that instructional designers are not?

Teachers work with students, and their main responsibility is to ensure that the Written Curriculum is properly translated into a Taught Curriculum.

Teachers are not required to see the “big picture” in as much detail and understanding as instructional designers are. They are more concerned with the implementation of the designed curriculum, and they negotiate the curriculum only at their level, often only with their students. In addition, teachers are expected to build and maintain relationships with students (and with parents to some extent), and to ensure their instructional strategies are effective.

What are instructional designers expected to do that teachers are not?

Instructional designers work “behind the scenes” and their main responsibility is the Written Curriculum.

Instructional designers are expected to have a clear understanding the big picture, as they are in charge of the development of curriculum for more than one area. They are also expected to be knowledgeable and experienced in a variety of instructional models and strategies, and to be sort of “guides” for the practitioners of their design. Also, instructional designers are expected to continuously meet with principals, Heads of Departments and teachers in order to ensure cohesion and proper understanding of both how the programs are set up and applied (initially), what the school’s and departments’ needs are, as well as how the newly designed curriculum fits the existing systems.

The major differences between a teacher and an instructional designer are:

  • Instructional designers are concerned with the cohesion of programs rather than with particular implementation of any one program.
  • Instructional designers prepare the grounds for teaching, while the teachers do the actual groundwork and instruct children.
  • Instructional designers must be resourceful in terms of finding information from a variety of sources (teachers, the Internet, books, etc.) and put it all together into a unit of study. Teachers, on the other hand, must take that product and break it down into smaller steps and ensure the written curriculum is taught effectively.

Reflection:

Although I am a teacher, much of my role has to do with both designing instruction and the implementation of the designed curriculum. Deliberately teaching in schools that use thematic and inquiry-based curriculum (International Baccalaureate organization) requires adjustment of the taught curriculum every time a unit is taught. I find this multi-tasking to be both advantageous and difficult. On the one hand, being in charge of deciding what the learning goals would be and how it would take place is extremely important to me. However, on the other hand, the job is very time consuming, and requires teachers to be both resourceful and to continuously work with other educators to ensure the curriculum is designed well.

In my experience, in schools where a curriculum coordinator does his/her job properly, the task of designing and reflecting on curriculum becomes a pleasant experience. It is always a shared process, and good coordinators solicit ideas form teachers, discuss them, and go do their research with the goal of coming back and presenting the teachers with interesting teaching strategies, innovative ideas, and resources to use. They allow the teachers to teach, while they take on the responsibility of ensuring that all the groundwork is ready for them to do their job.

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