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Opening Minds Notes

Opening Minds

  • Redefining the curriculum- competence led curriculum p1.
  • March 1999- redefining the curriculum paper
  • Current curriculum can’t meet demands of future

The need for change

  • Accepted need mass high education for economic growth p2.
  • Social change e.g. family breakdown p3.
  • Old certainties disappearing
  • Problems

o   Remedial education for graduates

o   Failure to educate in a democratic society

  • People believe there should be a change

o   No consensus on strategy

o   Few competing visions to focus debate

  • Often underlying assumptions prevent discussion p4.

The impatience of curriculum

  • Need to meet demands of lives and work via education
  • Considering future curriculum

o   What kind would be right in the future

o   What we have now

o   How it works

o   How to meet challenges of the future without radical change

  • Gap between broad aims and process. No means to determine what people should be prepared for in adult life- or means to measure if this is met.  P5.
  • Curriculum focused on traditional subjects focused on content and info

o   Work on developing for adult life in margins not covered in assessment (until recently (even then in limited way))

  • Philosophy not transparent and its outdated p.6

o   Does it meet future needs?

o   Doesn’t provide a statement of purpose to  correct to- institutions expected to account for what they do

§  Little explanation of why following targets, and how to achieve

o   Too much information trying to be focused into curriculum

o   Limited “customer” focus- challenges assumptions of education process and relationship between teachers and young people

§  Teachers provider of service

§  Service needs to change over time

  • Industrial Society’s 1997 survey of 10,000 12-25 yr olds – 2020 Vision p7.

o   Most young people feel schooling should prepare them for the future- failing to do so

§  If don’t see school as valuable- difficult to transmit common values or meeting young people needs.

A curriculum strategy for the future   

  • RSA- competence based curriculum more effective at showing what students need to learn
  • Need to state what students should achieve and yardsticks p8.
  • Notion of reviewing ‘well-educated person’ attractive to many

o   Competence led curriculum faced scepticism to support

§  Questions of practicality and assessment

o   Many argued they were already doing what the RSA proposed

  • Challenge for educators- evaluating rationale of curriculum
  • Competence curriculum seen as important to engage actively in learning and reduce disaffection and clear sense of purpose
  • Many disagreed p9.
  • Many agreed not to tinker with national curriculum

Achieving Transformation

  • New elements

o   Overall vision with stakeholders- teachers, parents, students

o   Reorganisation of operations in schools- powerful!  p10.

§  Teacher and learner

  • Open and individual negotiation of targets
  • End of age and stage
  • New patterns of attendance

o   Professional demands on teachers greater than current system

§  Qs of training

§  Level of support

  • Long preparation times- 10 yrs
  • Key principles and issues p12.

o   Interests of students first

o   Adequate time for preparation

§  New support material

o   Investment

o   Professional teachers get prominent role

  • Barriers to change

o   Attitudes of teachers and politicians

§  Innate conservatism

§  Abused readiness to respond to govt demands

o   Politicians influence not likely to change

  • Much modern reform done in short-term little long-term strategy

Next Steps

  • Aim- develop every young g person to best of ability the competences needed to be a successful and active citizen

o   Understood aspect of education

o   Why being asked to prepare for adult life

o   Useful for developing capacity to enjoy life and value learning

  • Full integration of ICT- allow learning outside of conventional times and classrooms
  • Notion of accountability in respect to purpose
  • Need public debate on where things are going p14.
  • Independent report by “National Foundation for Educational Research”

o   12 effects from arts education

o   Can be linked with competence framework

o   Developed through arts AND help cultural awareness and perspective- multicultural and multi-ethnic society

o   Also seeking to give “hands-on” food education for primary and secondary

  • Also seeking to give “hands-on” food education for primary and secondary

o   Skills necessary to live lives

o   Practical food work and cross-curricular links

§  Exchange of ideas in discussion

§  Social activities of sharing a meal

§  Team work, problem solving

§  ICT-access information and present

  • Aware of other initiatives’

o   Catherine Williamson- Art Workshops

o   Feedback- self esteem, ability to articulate, sense of responsibility and self-confidence

From competence to curriculum p16.

  • Create framework by consulting interested individuals
  • 1st Round Consultations “Redefining the curriculum”

o   Not arguments making team feel mistaken

o   Strong support

  • Latest consultations- Issues raised

o   Earlier too focused on process and not outcomes

o   Needs to be presented in understandable way to parents etc

o   Derive visibly from RSA’s competencies

o   Present project not tried to create a framework of programmes of study and assessment which differentiates age,  stage of education and ability levels

  • Felt importance of competences varied in importance

o   Argued of order should be

o   Competence for learning accepted as founding block

o   Ranking not seen as feasible or appropriate. Each child entitled to develop competencies in each group- strong arguments each should be taken forward for all students

o   Each should not be pursued simultaneously p17.

§  Management of progression and curriculum loading needed

§  Each student would not reach the same level of attainment-other factors

  • Third

o   Framework should reflect different ways students learn- not just what they are expected to learn

o   Emphasis on what should be learnt (unlike National Curriculum), not teaching

o   Nothing to prescribe any style of teaching or learning, leaving to professional judgement

  • 4th

o   Contentious-relationship between competence- led curriculum and subject content

§  Use subject content to develop competencies

§  Accumulation of competencies; not subject knowledge, assessed

o   Many argue need to have traditional subject basis- RSA model impractical or unacceptable to them

§  Subject orientation of teachers

§  Difficulty in delivery

§  Public familiarity with subject organisation

o   Argued not principles reasons- not strong

§  Developed over decades- could address issues

o   Principled objection

§  Education a transmission of corpus of knowledge- not inculcation of particular attitudes or behaviours

  • But schools practice the latter- seen in their statement of values
  • Other options- London Enterprise Agency’s Pathways Project

o   Set of student outcomes- what pupils should know and understand to be prepared effectively for working life- to show these could be organised in the current curriculum

o   Structure for organising teaching and learning p18.

§  Curriculum management tool, not a curriculum

o   Extended in TITLE- Towards Improved Learning for Employment

o   Go as far as specifying competencies as possible within constraints of the current curriculum

§  Do so within philosophy

  • Support for new curriculum

o   Disillusion with ability of present curriculum to engage students

o   Declining relevance and usefulness to the world beyond education

o   Difficulty in convincing students value of education as employers voice disillusion in the quality and nature of educational attainments

o   Domination of traditional subject content so strong- could not graft competence outcomes onto curriculum- need new curriculum philosophy

Making the Model Work

  • Much work needed to be done before RSA could replace current curriculum
  • Didn’t create full curriculum for all competences

o   Developed and consulted on 2

§  Competences for Managing People- communications

§  Managing Situations-risk

o   Work on IT- part of competences for learning

  • Those consultations basis for conclusions of structuring and operation of curriculum
  • This section reflects those points
  • To set out RSA curriculum

o   See categories with competencies

§  Statement of student entitlement underpinning the compulsory stages of schooling

o   Statement of rationale for each competence-purpose explicit

§  Help informed debate about curriculum priorities and loading- “help those charged with responsibility for devising, and maintaining the framework with those tasks.”

§  Practical aid for teachers p21.

§  Motivational tool for teachers

§  Public documents

  • Debate
  • accountability
  • Learning Outcomes

o   Each student aims to complete at some point in compulsory schooling- expressed as elements of individual competence

o   Basis of assessment system

o   Progression and differentiation by ability, age, stage

o   Literacy, numeracy, ICT would feature, at increasingly high levels, throughout school- more elements added in at different points

o   Each competence has contexts- act as framework for teaching and learning

o   National guidelines to link competences, contexts and content- to ensure coverage of subject material and competences across school as a whole

o   E.g. Management of Risk

§  Contexts-

  • Changing world
  • Personal and social safety
  • Safety and health at work
  • Environmental safety
  • Food safety
  • Financial risk and uncertainty

o   Each competence has a mandatory core of contexts

§  Could introduce others- need to consider overall weight of content

§  Schools could add contexts to mandatory core

  • National guidelines to ensure proper breadth of coverage for all students
  • Context specifics content to draw from e.g. communication

o   Personal world context

§  English literature and language

§  Religious education

§  Science

  • Use professional judgement of teachers to select subject material

o   Not specified for them

o   Required (by broad national guidelines) to draw on full range of subjects specified for each context

o   E.g. communications- history and performing arts

§  Decide how to use- not whether to use them

o   Illustrative material/ programmes of work

§  Not mandatory

§  Available in such quantities- teachers use professional judgement rather than covering all

§  Use for students at different stages of development

§  Model specifications- how selections could be made to cover all content of compulsory stages

§  Improve curriculum planning and management of transition

  • Range of RSA material wider than current subject base

Assessing a competence-led curriculum p23.

  • Assessment principles unlikely to differ from those already understood

o   Professional judgement

o   Transparency of standards

o   Arrangements for moderation and consistency

  • Qs asked

o   New principles to be made explicit

o   New techniques of assessment

o   Place for ICT?

o   Experience- use of records of achievement

o   Implications of change for teachers

  • Purpose of assessment

o   Different ends- means of recognising individual achievement

§  Of school

§  Of teachers

§  Direct aid of teaching and learning

o   1st accepted all as very desirable. Last necessary- inevitable in properly managed systems

o   Many saw assessment as a means to motivate students and teachers- genuine developmental progress

o   Lay foundations for recognition of achievement of teachers and school as a whole

  • Consensus of principles of above
  • “the absolute need for trust in the system,”
  • Maintenance of respect for intrinsic value of education
  • Sense of ownership on part of all stakeholders
  • Those consulted- focus on what students are able to do, not what they cannot

o   Tests what students can do and  what they can understand

o   Move from sifting process which impedes progression

  • Reform of qualifications structure

o   Provides students with something of progress

o   “currency”- recognition beyond the world of education

§  (int. dimension- too much divergence- currency reduced) other countries incorporating competence development into education systems- RSA Curriculum not unique

  • “The system must assess what is valued, rather than what can be assessed.”

o   Matrix approach to balance competence and subject content

  • Formative assessment major principle

o   Some said only- only means to assess competence

o   Some summative assessment needed- for progress with subject content

  • Written tests have place

o   Emphasis on value of collecting, reviewing and reflecting on evidence

o   Project- work important

o   Assessing competence- needs observation and assessment of behaviour

§  Not new- been informed

§  Larger part

§  “no difficulty for good teacher in creating opportunities in school to do this”

  • Rest on professional judgement

o   No different from current system in this regard

o   Arguments

§  Teachers at lvl of school and wider education system

  • Create criteria
  • Other interests of external stakeholders accepted

§  RSA and others

  • Great external element- alongside specification and maintenance of competence framework
  • Essential- national framework of standards

o   Nationally based research necessary for a well-funded approach

  • More to German system- based on professional judgement
  • Avoid “bogus” objectivity – assessment by checklist

o   Variety of techniques

o   Collection of evidence

o   Value of reflection- use by students and teachers- use systematically

o   Collective approach of overall assessments

o   This and internal and external moderation- provide objectivity

o   Peer assessment (harder on selves and peers than their teachers are- not easily recognising progression)

o   Parental involvement should also be considered

  • Use of special action plans for students with special educational needs for all p25.

o   Capture of evidence of progress in formats which could be used by teachers and students

o   Better use of non-school activity (e.g. work experience- wasted before in assessment)

  • For some

o   Substitute for existing assessment and exams

§  Need sufficient investment

§  Introduce individual target setting- useful as a motivational tool, especially for boys

  • Clarify what was to be learnt
  • Greater individualisation of curriculum overcome issue where students demanded to progress at the same rates
  • Some students make little progress until leave

o   Issue of progression, not success/ failure