The first question we should be asking of our curriculum is why? Why do we want children to learn that?
I’ve seen loads of great curriculum resources shared on twitter many of which have made me question and think. I’ve also seen some that have made me flinch many of these being delivered in schools, full of fact without purpose or reason. Children learning piles of fact, knowledge organisers seen as the end of the learning not the start, knowing without reason. Curriculum for the head but not for the heart.
I want our curriculum to do more. A curriculum that gives children the knowledge and then the room to think. A curriculum that encourages children to view the facts through a range of perspectives. The more I think about curriculum the more I want it to do. I want the young people that leave our school to be questioning, curious and thoughtful. I want them to take evidence and apply their knowledge. We run the risk of over-stuffing our curriculum and not really getting to the point of it, a curriculum where loads is learnt but little is signified. A curriculum without soul.
Curriculum isn’t just facts it’s the lifeblood of how we teach the young people in our school to be people. What kind of young people do we want our school to produce
A great curriculum is one that is full of stories. Story in my opinion should run through a curriculum. Curriculum is a narrative, both in its small stories but also in its huge sweeping arcs. Story is threaded through our curriculum but the curriculum isn’t completely set in stone, a curriculum requires flexibility to embrace the world around it, history is important not because they know the past but because it truly helps children think about the now.
A curriculum should also be one that asks young people to think deeply about the things they know and apply that knowledge to their understanding. A great curriculum is about perspectives it’s about how we ask children to think about what they know, its about creating a lens to look at what they’ve learnt but also to look at the world around them. Curriculum isn’t black and white, its about creating nuance and seeing the stories within the facts.
Increasingly I’ve seen curriculum that ask children to be timid receivers of knowledge, to take our word for it, not to question but to regurgitate it like some overstuffed baby-bird.
If you looked at what we teach ( the knowledge ) it’s pretty similar to everyone else, it is however only the start. We look for the stories hidden in the facts, the perspectives with which to explore. Key Questions lead our thinking and provide angle they ultimately bring the purpose increasingly they don’t have one answer. Key threads run through our curriculum and these are broader than the curriculum area they are about the things we think are important for our young people.
It’s not perfect and it’s very much an ongoing work in progress, but when it works it truly sings.
Sat listening to children discuss a question and argue their point sums up what we’re trying to do.
Sorry for the waffling…I’m not sure what I’m getting at but just that curriculum needs to be needs to be more not less and we need a reason for it being.