Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The Definite Article

A Curriculum for Excellence.
What can I say?
I like it.
There. I've said it.

In the OECD report of 2015, it was advised that the Scottish Government needed to continue to be bold and to strive for the "full conclusion of a curriculum that is to be built by teachers, schools and communities."
How awesome does that sound? A curriculum built by teachers, schools and communities. Not a constant storm of excrement from On High but a curriculum tailored, by teachers, to the needs, interests, aspirations of the community it serves. What's not to like?

I first engaged with A Curriculum for Excellence in 2014, full of enthusiasm and excitement. It took about a term before I'd been told by almost everyone that, and I paraphrase, most people wanted to go back to the old 5-14 curriculum. They wanted their hands held. To be told what to teach and how to teach it.

Four years later, the naysayers are still braying for the "good old days" when teaching was a "turn to page 17" type of affair. When the diligent did and the disenchanted didn't. When children were angels to a person and a stern look and a talking to from the head teacher was all it took. When handwriting was immaculate and everyone knew their times tables to 29 by the age of 8.

The cynicism that greets the arrival of anything new is understandable. Most people don't like change. Most people like the status quo. Most people like the comfort of the unbroken. Particularly if you've only got a few more years before you can retire ... what's the point in changing?

Well, the world has changed and education needs to move on.

I like A Curriculum for Excellence. I like its promise and the trust and opportunities it affords me as a teacher. I like that it treats me as a professional with an opinion. I like its flexibility.

What I don't like is how its been constrained by well-meaning but ultimately misguided attempts to, er, guide it. What I don't like is the fact that, despite the promise it appears to show, it's being coralled into a one size fits all box.

Let's embrace THE Curriculum for Excellence. Let's revolt and bring it back under the control of those who are at the coal face.

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