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Discussion in 'Education news' started by msuxg, Feb 2, 2016.
Kristy Turner asks if it should be independent experts.
Any article referring to 'stakeholders' is intrinsically untrustworthy.
Independent of what?
Since becoming a teacher in 1997, I've often wondered who wrote the National Curriculum, and whether things like "levels" had been designed properly, with cognitive psychologists employed to rate the relative cognitive load of different skills/tasks.
While I quite like the new Computing curriculum (inclusion of e-safety aside), I am quite irritated by the fact that CAS (run by the BCS, effectively the trade body for the software industry) was given money to promote it. I think that school is for education and not for vocational training, and this seems to be a typical Tory pro-business move.
Surely the curriculum should be written by academics with expertise in learning and/or the subject involved in order for it to be structured properly and contain content that is generally useful and not only related to a specific job. Universities would seem to be the ideal candidates. I think that some educational input from someone who's recently met a child would be important so that the level can be pitched correctly.
That said, it wouldn't hurt for current students to be stretched quite a lot than they are currently. Standards have dropped a lot since I was at school - there are things on current A levels that were on CSE papers in the 80s. Presumably this is due to the involvement of exam boards in setting the curriculum and the pressure of market forces (i.e. the need to make your course easier than the competition's).
I think many if the bad ideas that polluted education during my career came from 'independent experts'!!
The problem is what body of knowledge do we impart and what learning statagies do we employ?
When i entered teaching In 1978 the body of Knowledge in secondary was fixed to exam results.Study this and learn that and pass an exam.The exam took you on to A levels and then to university,or to a trade. The choices where open and you didn't need to have 'five' of anything for trades,In those days there was more around to chose.You just needed to show you where interested and had a general standard of education. The push then started for all children to gain a standard and from then on all changed in the follow through of this method.The assumption seemingly being that a university educated work force was the best for the country.
Because of this trend and the drive for academical std raising of pupils instead of equipping for life I left teaching.
I came back to Primary in the late 80's and there practice was stil geared to teachers choosing the areas that children need to learn, based upon approval in the school by the head and staff We could spend time drilling and reinforcing and even changing the layout of the day.So if pupils got absorbed in say a piece of work we could carry on and then catch up the other work the following day.Planning was made but a degree of flexibility was there, but you were in charge of the planning.and there where no testing and no assessment(other than teacher views and log writing).
Then came NC and the whole world changed.Huge bodies of knowledge demanded by experts.Science alone13 strands.later reduced to 7 and then to 4 as the experts ideas became unworkable .Similar for other subjects. You had to teach all the subjects decreed in the week ,meaning they were reduced to 40 minute slots with some subject reduced.such as PE and Art and D&T.
What went most was flexibility,,no longer a choice of where and when but aformatting of a fixed timetable..English /maths had to be taught and you couldnt wander. You were expected to be doing that when the head arrived in your class.....combined to the arrival of Ofsted.
Out went joint timetables and in came lack of time and inability to revisit areas to check reinforcement and understanding....In came new text books..later out went text books,In came computing in the class..later in came computer suites..........all of this dictated from above and most due to 'experts' who supposedly informed those who directed teachers/
So who write the curriculum? Not a clue..but the present one is still changing and mainly due to politicians pursuing a view and I assume a way to save money,allied to trying to get the country to look good, based upon standards in other parts of the world,in which the social criteria is ignored by the those who want to reach such standards.
The NC for A&D, and also for DT, was written by knobheads, who preceded Gove.
It was then followed to the letter by further HOD knobheads who should've known better.
I came into teaching from industry and still have many friends in industry. A common belief in industry. both when I left and currently, is that those leaving education (from all levels) do not have the skills and knowledge needed by employers.
I therefore think that a major contribution towards the curriculum should be made by those who will need the skills of todays students in the future, ie industry and business experts and the appropiate professional bodies. For example the Royal Society of Chemistry must have a major say in an A-level Chemistry course. Higher and further education bodies should also have an input so that future students can access further courses. These groups are the customers of the product that schools have to provide.
Of course teachers will have an input since they will know what is possible to achieve in schools and society in general will also have a view (although I'm not sure how you actually ask "society in general").
Ofsted need have no say since they know nothing of value.
Education should be more than providing a 'product' for industry. Education should provide pupils with a range of life skills, adequate basic skills to enable communication (spoken & written), some understanding of the world, exposure to & experience of a range of creative & cultural expressions, an enjoyment of physical activity, and the ability to live in a cosmopolitan society.
Maybe industry should be more prepared to provide the kind of training specific to their needs (decent apprenticeships?), rather than expecting schools to focus on industry's needs.
I agree with you chelsa2 to great extent.
One of the great problems was the dubbing down of apprenticeships in the Thatcher era i th4 belief you could save money by taking on 'trained' worker.something which has become a disaster for industry,alongside that is the 'belief' that the only good jobs are in professions, such as computing,or medicine, etc...and other so called menial tasks are demeaned and to low for folks to chose as an occupation.
Teachers work is not to just skill for work...there are specialist trainers for that, but to educate the whole person for life and their place in society.We fail in schools when we do not teach self respect, the value of work ethic and taking self responsibility for our actions.Ee live in a blame some one else society rather than accepting the cause is ourselves.
Yes, we do have an under skilled work force in some area....more important we do have a workforce which basically doesn't believe in hard work or goal attaining unless it suits them. I see it in my grandchildren in their lack lustre efforts to tackle work in favour of the entertaining of computer games and the ilk.
This doesn't solve who should write the curriculum......but if we decide what we want to achieve first hen the rest might follow......IF you aim at nothing you will certainly hit it.
I know that a lot of people struggle to find a good cleaner - should we have cleaning lessons in school? We also struggled to get a builder to come and give us a quote for work - should we teach building in schools?
I was involved in writing Science syllabuses for the NC when it first came in. The original NC (for Science anyway) was a collaboration between teachers and subject groups such as IoP. I met with some of the teachers involved who complained bitterly at the time scale involved.
The original NC had 17 ATs and the programme of study was just a long list with no connection to the ATs. So the first job was to link the programme of study with the ATs so we could make sense of the whole thing enough to write an exam paper for. Just as the first syllabuses were ready to be submitted the whole thing changed to become 4 ATs thus wiping out all the work done. The change, I was told , was done by HMIs.
Whole new syllabuses had to be written and several big names fell by the wayside. The schedule was mad. I sometimes still wince at the fact that the reason why 70 odd thousand candidates taking one Science syllabus studied a particular bit of physics was because it was 11 o'clock at night and I just couldn't think of anything else to write. The deadline was the following morning.
I suppose it depends what outcomes you want at 16, 18 and where vocational training sits in the mix.
Employers would rig it towards employment skills in the industry they know about or general key skills.
Teachers will lean towards what all students at differing levels of abilty could achieve.
Universities towards the demands of HE.
Politicians towards the varying social demands of society.
So a horse designed by a committee finishes up as a Camel as the old saying goes.
As the lead teacher in Primary for science I can say what a pain it was for schools.It took me a lot of graft to write new schemes and planning for the school...but thank you for the input.It wasn't an attack on you but on an example i personally had to deal with i school.
it stil proves the point that even experts and the experience can not agree as to what is best..and even then its over ruled by other masters/
The suitableness for the task is seen in the result........and even there folk argue over the interpretation.
I wish the government would just leave me alone to get on with it. English will always be English, maths will always be maths and science will always be science.
There. I feel better now!