Content, Process, and Product
Parents and teachers, this video breaks down three extremely helpful concepts used to build curriculum – “Content, Process, and Product”. This will give you a useful filter to can use as you contemplate how well the curriculum meets the needs of your child.
Content – What we learn
Usually the curriculum.
Process – How we learn something
One model: AVK
(This is just scratching the surface, there are many more ways to describe processing)
Product ideas – How we show our learning
Alternative assessments. Alternatives to tests and papers. Here are a handful of ideas:
- Graphs and charts
- Drawings, blueprints, maps
- Audio recordings, songs, podcasts
- Magazines, articles
- Arts: drawings, paintings, performances
- Museum exhibit
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Hey everybody, this is Seth with SethPerler.com and I’m making a video today for parents and teachers. This one is on content, process, and product. Excuse me for the lights here, this is not on my normal studio and this the pretty high-glare board, sorry about that. Anyhow, I want to talk about something called content, process, and product. The value in this for teachers is that it’s one of my favorite ways to break down the curriculum in my head and really understand if it’s serving kids, and how to maximize how it serves the kids. For parents, this is a great way for you to be able to evaluate curriculum and evaluate lessons and homework and put it through a filter in your head to see if there’s anything that can be tweaked in order to make modifications so that it better service to your child and they get more out of the educational learning experience.
So, content, process, and product. In a nutshell what this means: content is what you learn, the process is how you learn, and the product is how you show what you learned. Content could be, for example, learning to multiply two-digit by two-digit numbers. That could be content. Content could be reading Of Mice and Men and learning about fiction, for example. Or, the content could be learning about space, or whatever. So content is what you’re learning. It could be anything that you can think of in a curriculum. It’s basically the objectives, the goals, or what they’re supposed to be learning.
The process is how you learn it. Oh, by the way, content can be a small lesson, a mini-lesson that’s three minutes long, it could be an entire class, or it can be an entire unit. So content can be looked at in many different ways. Process is how you’re going to learn something. One great way to look at processes ABK: auditory, visual, and kinesthetic. People who are more auditory, they can process information more by listening, these are kids often who memorize song lyrics like awesomely. That’s just one example of that, there are many ways that you can learn auditorily. Visually, these are kids who might be very visual-spatial and they might be awesome with legos, imagination, and seeing things in their head and coming up with these visual ideas and remembering visually what every detail looks like of something. Kinesthetic would be touch. A lot of times the ‘super athletes’ are very kinesthetic people. For example, dancers, people who use their bodies in their careers when they’re older, that’s kids that are very kinesthetic learners. So that’s just one way to look at process. Everybody uses all three, everybody uses auditory, visual, and kinesthetic but some people are really dominant in one or two of these areas, and really depend highly on them. I tend to be mostly visual, and then I said to be kinesthetic (as you can see I use my hands a lot and I move a lot when I am teaching, for example), and my auditory is the one that I use the least. But I use all three, everybody does. So that’s a little bit about how you can look at process, but what you want to know when a kid is sitting in a class is that they’re processing information. So are they processing their learning through experiential learning, through listening to a lecture (which is known to be pretty much the worst way to learn), through conversation, through dialogue, through video, through seeing displays, through seeing experiments and experiencing experiments? How are they processing the information? Are they reading? Are they listening? Are they watching? What’s going on to process the information, the content? How are they processing it and how are they learning it?
And then the product has to do with how they show their learning. What tends to happen in American schools is that we have two main products: tests and papers. We’re very stuck, way in the box, with these blinders on. We seem to think that the only way that we can evaluate kids is through testing and writing papers. So we see, you know, you got your multiple-choice test, you got your short answer tests, you got your essay tests, all these different types of tests and quizzes and exams, and that is supposed to show that the child or the student, whatever, has processed the content and learned it. So the product is supposed to show that. When you are looking at content, a lot of teachers will use curriculum to build their content. They’re not really encouraged to get to create a creatively differentiated curriculum, but they’re encouraged to do what the curriculum tells them to do, to basically read the script. So the content can often be dictated, but if the content is really not engaging to your child, then what you want to do is try to figure out how can you make that content engaging? Now, teachers, you can do this in many ways. What I used to do when I was teaching was to create units based on figuring out what the ‘main things’ I wanted the kids to learn were, and then as far as when we did what I call ‘passion projects,’ they would have complete choice over what detail they chose to learn. So for example, let’s say that we were learning about the Roman Empire. Then I would have certain things that I wanted everybody to learn that were key concepts for whatever reason, and then when they did the passion project, i.e. if somebody was particularly interested in the armor that the Romans use, they can do a whole study on that and then in-depth study in that particular area. Or if they were interested in how they utilized water, they can completely study that.
The product, again, is often a test, or a paper of some sort, and what you want to do is understand that there are many many many many ways to create a product. If you’re a parent advocating for your child and you know that they will learn the content but they’re not able to show it on the test effectively, but you know they’ve learned it or that they’re capable of learning it, then you want to advocate for them to be able to show their learning in different ways. You can really think outside the box. This video you’re watching right now is a product. My outline is three words long, the rest of it’s coming from my head. This is my guide right here, that’s my product. The blog post that goes with this could be a product. Creating a model could be a product. Singing could be a product, any form of art to be a product. If you are looking at the armor from the Roman era, for example, if the child created a drawing of that armor, or created the armor and taught about it to people, teaching that to the other students would be a product. Anything that shows the learning that has taken place can be the products. So there are hundreds of types of products that you could use. Anyhow, if you’re a teacher, this can help you to really look at ‘What am I teaching them and why?‘ Why am I teaching the content? Really question yourself and check yourself, and ask how valuable is this for the long-term for the child. There could be many reasons for this, but you want to have clarity about it. You don’t want to just follow the prescription of the curriculum and just regurgitated. You really want to think, ‘How does it matter? Why does this matter? And how can I enhance this?‘ When you’re looking at process, you want to look at all these different ways that kids process, the differentiation, and giving kids opportunities to process in many different ways. And then the product I think is the real key here. Give them as much choice as humanly possible in terms of how they’re going to show their learning. So, that’s all I got, a real quick one. I hope you have an awesome day and I’ll see you soon. Take care.