12. Deep Curriculum

Rather than starting from a preconceived theory of learning, the teacher establishes a principle of instructional relevance. S/he looks to the necessary correspondence of connected units in task domains.

Here are some steps that teachers can use to help their students build the curriculum for the semester…

Know your students.

Ask about their interests and their lives. Create a personal connection with students. Ask for their input and situate them as curriculum builders. Work on team building and their sense of ownership of the curriculum. Indicate what are the broad lines of what is possible and appropriate for their level in terms of curriculum development. Help them specify Agreements with the Self that support successful learning and language proficiency. Release their anxieties related to language learning. Do not be judgmental.

Encourage active participation of the students.

Explore themes that meet both academic goals and students’ personal aims. Help them transpose the study plan into task domains by pre-setting certain bridges across domains. They should choose themes, operations and actions that match their interests and motivations, and circle the academic topics that could be linked into whole projects. Help them build individual projects, small group projects, or whole class projects.

Establish together.

Establish together core projects with Access and Voice joining the IAPI task domains according to a common guideline (thematic, instrumental, or experiential). Projects are broad activities that embed a variety of tasks within the four language modalities.


Negotiate a group plan or individual plans, and create instructional contracts. For a project to be successful, it must integrate the project of the Self of the students. If the projects of the Self of students differ, then they should be gathered in subgroups that form their own projects. Thus, the role of the teacher shifts towards the facilitation of students’ project achievement that leads to proficiency.

Detail what will be done.

In a collaborative effort, establish detailed instructions for the plan or plans chosen. Model them according to the 8 aforementioned principles of the deep approach. As a guide, detail what will be done in the four task-models and propose an embedment map of instructional organizers with a thematic, strategic, or experiential pivot.

deep language curriculum

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The deep approach is about mindset and embodied action. It is about persons, humans, in the dynamics of living. It is something people want to live and work for. It is never fully achieved, it is always in the making, and depends upon situations.


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