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Curriculum for Excellence

Discussion in 'Scotland - education news' started by flamencodancer, Mar 7, 2012.

  1. Despite all of the current TV interviews, newspaper articles and Mike Russell's offers of help, I still don't understand what the damned thing is about ,let alone the new exams which are being hidden from us. Can anyone explain it all to me?

  2. morrisseyritual

    morrisseyritual Occasional commenter

    Mike Russell was asked "what would this look like" in 2010, he evaded answering the question and has continued so to do. I'll have a go.
    It copies the Finnish "egaliterian" school model where there are rarely final exams. Overall performance in a given subject is judged and if there is any streaming it is into areas of aptitude, rtaher than one's aptitude in a given area. Finland, being the highest per capita education performer in Europe, was sought out to provide the basis for the CfE model.
    From Wikipedia:
    The basic compulsory educational system in Finland is the nine-year comprehensive school (Finnish peruskoulu, Swedish grundskola, "basic school"), for which school attendance is mandatory (homeschooling is allowed, but rare). There are no "gifted" programs, and the more able children are expected to help those who are slower to catch on.
    Schools up to university level are almost exclusively funded and administered by municipalities of Finland (local government). There are few private schools. The founding of a new private comprehensive school requires a political decision by the Council of State. When founded, private schools are given a state grant comparable to that given to a municipal school of the same size. However, even in private schools, the use of tuition fees is strictly prohibited, and selective admission is prohibited, as well: private schools must admit all its pupils on the same basis as the corresponding municipal school. In addition, private schools are required to give their students all the social entitlements that are offered to the students of municipal schools. Because of this, existing private schools are mostly faith-based or Steiner schools, which are comprehensive by definition.
    Teachers, who are fully unionized, follow state curriculum guidelines but are accorded a great deal of autonomy as to methods of instruction and are even allowed to choose their own textbooks. Classes are small, seldom more than twenty.<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-9">[10] From the outset pupils are expected to learn two languages in addition to the language of the school (usually Finnish or Swedish), and students in grades one through nine spend from four to eleven periods each week taking classes in art, music, cooking, carpentry, metalwork, and textiles.<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-10">[11] Small classes, insisted upon by the teachers' union, appear to be associated with student achievement, especially in science.<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-11">[12] Inside the school, the atmosphere is relaxed and informal, and the buildings are so clean that students often wear socks and no shoes. Outdoor activities are stressed, even in the coldest weather; and homework is minimal to leave room for extra-curricular activities.<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-12">[13] In addition to taking music in school, for example, many students attend the numerous state-subsidized specialized music schools after class<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-13">[14] where for a small fee they learn to play an instrument as a hobby and study basic solf&egrave;ge and music theory using methods originated in Hungary by Kod&aacute;ly and further developed by the Hungarian-born Finn Csaba Szilvay and others.<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-14">[15]
    Reading for pleasure is actively encouraged (Finland publishes more children's books than any other country). Television stations show foreign programs in the original languages with subtitles, so that in Finland children even read while watching TV.<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-15">[16]
    During the first years of comprehensive school, grading may be limited to verbal assessments rather than formal grades. The start of numerical grading is decided locally. Most commonly, pupils are issued a report card twice a year: at the ends of the autumn and spring terms. There are no high-stakes tests."

    CFE has grafted onto this the four capacities and the effectiveness of outcomes and experiences of pupils in a given subject.
  3. As stated above, there are (rarely) final exams- schools assess pupils themselves. More pertinently, however, there are no HMIE equivalents, and no league tables. League tables and internal assessment do not go together- the pressure from above to cheat becomes intolerable, whatever "rigorous moderation procedures" are put in place (and the rigorous moderation procedures in place at the moment are laughably easy to circumvent).

    In reply to the question asked by the OP, the answer is "no".
  4. And in regard to MR's offers of help, or more accurately "support", I would trust them as I would an adder fanged. A hanged man is being supported.
  5. Effinbankers

    Effinbankers Lead commenter

    Where's the NEGATIVES?? Don't tell me you've read the shiny green folder and can't find any.
    There is no curriculum and what we've seen so far is not excellent.
    When I was at school I think this was called an oxymoron, although English teachers plese feel free to correct me.
    Unfortunately for our young people they don't have to know what an oxymoron is, as long as they can google it or make it look nice and pretty on a powerpoint presentation then that will suffice
  6. Ermmm... once they've googled it and used it in a PowerPoint, won't they know what an oxymoron is? [​IMG]

  7. Effinbankers

    Effinbankers Lead commenter

    CFE is all about flowery things and lacks substance
    Erosion of knowledge = erosion of standards
    It requires pupils to know less = dumbing down of our curriculum
    Some of the proposed new Higher papers have only 30% of themarks of the current exam system. Can't see how this leads to excellence.
    I would like propspective lawyers and doctors to actually know things and those foundations should be laid in school

  8. I repeat: after pupils have sourced knowledge (google) and used
    that knowledge correctly in a context (PowerPoint), they know
    what they have discovered (what an oxymoron is).

    Where has the erosion of knowledge taken place?

    Whether a doctor is told by someone else (your model of education)
    or finds out about a medical condition by a supervised process of
    discovery (the new model), what does it matter if they then are able
    to treat their patients successfully?

    I suspect what you actually mean is that pupils will be learning
    in ways that you aren&rsquo;t acquainted with and don't particularly like
    because it means you'll have to change what you've been doing for
    yonks. That's a completely different thing.

  9. issor2

    issor2 New commenter

    In my experience, most of those who are banging the drum for CFE are those whose job prospects depend upon it. So essentially, probationers, job seekers and those seeking management positions. It is debatable if most of these believe in what they are having to say.
  10. catmother

    catmother Star commenter

    Have you ever seen kids Googling and cutting and pasting whatever answer comes first?
  11. Is this a serious question? Please tell me you are just taking this pis* with this.
  12. You know, I hear this time and time again. Remind me of what we are again? Teachers?
    Then we should be teaching them how to use the information. Teaching them how to research. Teaching them how to rewrite what they've learned in their own words. It can be done. I have a low ability S1 class, and, with guidance, they managed to do this in a recent task I set them. One pupil needed no guidance whatsoever - not a single cut/paste.
    It's time to stop making excuses for their poor skills and start rectifying the problem.
  13. Don't know about you, but most of the knowledge I have gained over the last 15 years has been through reading, watching and listening to information from the internet. It's a vast resource mixed with **** and good stuff. I taught myself how to ensure the validity of what I was reading (wasn't taught as part of the curriculum I went through as a pupil) and I figured out how to apply what I'd learned.
    The stuff I learned from teachers at school is, in the grand scheme of my lifetime of learning, a very tiny amount.

  14. In Finland, as in private schools here. And where I taught in Canada, 22 was considered a big class. Finland, Canada, and private schools here routinely top out state schools in attainment.
    Penny dropping yet, Mike?
  15. Exactly, and have seen plenty of kids google/cut and paste without even reading what they're pasting, leading to some very interesting/bizarre pieces of work.
    Looking into the future, if I collapse in a shop and someone shouts for a doctor, it will therefore be competely dependent on them having internet access whether I live or die? Great :(
    Now for CfE we are being expected to be able to judge where a child is 'at' in CfE without benefit of any guidelines as to where the cut-off is? So, best guess then? Are all teachers equally good at 'guessing'? What about the teachers whose pupils 'achieve' levels as guessed by 1 teacher, only for them to be handed on to the next who finds them woefully lacking? First teacher (on paper) shows their kids making fabulous progress, 2nd teacher looks ****? Could make for an interesting system which wouldn't stand up to external verification.

  16. Thank God for the internet then. Without it you'd be an i.d.i.o.t.
  17. Of course it can be done, and teachers have always done it. I don't know anyone on my staff who doesn't teach their pupils how to take notes and write reports in their own words. The thing is, as soon as you set children a research task to do on their own, many if not most will merrily cut-and-paste. It's just easier, and they're just human beings, after all.
  18. You have to remember that not everyone has to think the same as you. Based on personal experience, I think I would have been a much more confident child had I experienced something like what CFE has to offer - my confidence did not really come until I started teacher training, which is very "CFE" in nature. For that reason alone, I want it to work. You, along with others, obviously think differently.
  19. Not only in Finland, but in Canada too. Both countries routinely top out the UK in whatever measures of educational achievement you care to mention.
    So here's another penny that really needs to drop: external inspection is not only not fit for purpose, it could be argued that its effects on educational attainment are wholly negative and that it is in every respect a complete waste of taxpayers' money.
  20. huh? If they cut n paste, give them it back with feedback on how to write it in their own words. It's all part of the learning process - Do, Assess, feedback, do ,assess, feedback.. Until they've learned how to do it.

    Unless of course, you just accept that they've done it wrong and leave it at that? :confused:

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