Friday, April 1, 2011

Is it time to innovate your curriculum? Part 1

In today’s post I want to address a topic that I am approached with the most in emails which is dealing with “how to innovate and structure a new curriculum”. Now by this I am not suggesting a rotating curriculum, which is roughly translated as broader base of ranks being taught the same techniques in no particular order but all achieved in a certain amount of time. I am also not necessarily specifying a linear form of curriculum. Many of us started our schools years ago and as creatures of habit have replicated the exact same class structure and testing procedures (or in some cases, the lack of).

To begin this exercise, here are some self reflecting questions:

Most schools have a 1 year basic program. Why? What significance is the one year?

There is nothing wrong with a 1 year program as long as there is a purpose to that course. In college, we do not join for 4 years. We don’t even enroll for 1 year. We are paying for a semester. Let us say that that your Beginner ranks are white and yellow. Your intermediate ranks are Orange, Green and Blue. If it takes you say 6 months to get to orange and you graduate into an Intermediate class, why did you enroll them for a year and not a 6 month course since the Beginner course took 6 months to complete? Again, I am simply putting out there questions for you to fill in the answers. Some may say they enroll the, for one year with the intent to approach them in 2 months anyway and upgrade them. In that case, you could have still enrolled them in a 6 month Beginner program and upgraded them. Actually it may be easier since there is no fear of long term commitment with a business they are not yet familiar with.
Suggestion: Create true courses just like in college. A defined amount of time of requirements that must be met in a time period.) If a majority of students “fail” with this strategy, it may either be the teacher that is not directing well or there is way too much material to be covered to gain competence with.

Do you have a program where the student can train “2 or 3 times a week”?

When was the last time you heard a college offer their English classes “2 or 3 times per week”? Since when do students have the knowledge of when they should be taking classes? 2 or 3 suggests that some students are training 33% more than the next one. How about when they miss a class? What class topics are they actually missing? Are they aware by being able to look it up since you are on a strict class planner?
Suggestion: Utilize an “A” and “B” class structure of delivering material. Example, Let’s say that a school has beginner classes Monday to Thursday. For a sensible split in curriculum, the student may choose either Monday or Tuesday (A class) and Wednesday or Thursday (B class). So whether it was Monday and Wednesday or Monday and Thursday will give them the exact same training. In my KRU Muay Thai curriculum, my class planner is actually laid out as Week 1 Class 1, week 1 Class 2, etc. The instructor knows as well as the student what is happening and what they may be missing. This helps when a student truly chooses their “make up” classes in preparation of upcoming tests (Or as I call them “evaluations”. In my opinion, the word tests scare people, but through evaluations they feel they are acquiring where they are at since they first joined my school.

I hope I have not offended anyone in the way they currently run their school. There are many more questions I would like to address since I have barely scratched the surface of innovating your curriculum. We are not being style specific since we all have the same goals in mind. So stay tuned for the continuation of this subject. In the meantime if you have any questions please post them below.

If you would like more information on my KRU Muay Thai affiliation which will revolutionize your teaching methodology, please email me at and visit

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