Set Your Compass: Share Your Direction

  • Anonymous

    Reading articles like this gives me hope that we will produce self-motivated young adults who have the knowledge and skills to keep learning throughout their careers. I also hear a lot about how enthusiastic youngsters are turned off education as they get to GCSEs and A levels.
    It strikes me that the models for learning described here and in books such as “The Lazy Teacher” are great for students – until exams are looming, and then we go back to the teacher directed approach, with the intention of maximising exam success.
    I would love to have my A level Chemistry students discussing the skills they need to understand a curriculum that they have agreed upon as being educationally important and culturally relevant. Sadly, the reality is that I have something less than two academic years to do this, and many of my students want to get A and A* grades in an imposed syllabus simply to allow them to progress to their chosen medical school.

  • Janet Abercrombie

    I’m not sure it’s the fault of the curriculum as much as it is the fault in instructional practice. I can allow students to do open-ended projects that include diverse thinking. In the process of doing projects, students learn speaking skills, organization, presentation, sentence structure, and more specifically-stated standards and benchmarks. 

    Curriculum states what students should know and be able to do when they leave school. Tragedy happens when teachers believe there is one “right” way of content delivery and when they force all students to work at the same pace.

    Janet |

  • Stephen Lockyer

    As a teacher I totally agree. I am far more interested in the journey than the destination, and as Director of Studies at my school, I also have a large amount of control in what our curriculum both is and represents. This has involved a lot more careful study of the way our Kindergarten children are taught, using child-initiated activities seems to be one of the most logical steps forward. If we are professional teachers, our unique pedagogy should be to guide these intiations into something valuable and special for the children. Around 10% of our curriculum in Infants and Juniors is now child-initiated, and our recent Inspection praised this. It is brave, and risky, but incredibly worthwhile. I am certain that my pupils last year will remember our topic on Japan, initiated by both a Japanese student in the class and the Tsunamis, far more than any geography topic I would repeat endlessly every year. More importantly, it stretched me as a teacher too.