A curriculum can sometimes seem like one damn thing after another, especially if taught in blocks or thought of as a journey connecting different topics as you go from A to Y with Z being an exam. In an A level course with a syllabus demanding certain topics be studied, end of term exams, a … More Organising Knowledge: On Triangles and Ts and Russian Dolls.
Here is a video of a talk I gave in the Netherlands, and the accompanying slides should you wish to follow the fun. You can download a pdf of the slides below… (might take a bit of time to download… Hopefully not too long)
The curriculum as journey, has a destination. After-all destination is often the point of a journey and one usually makes decisions in the light of where we wish to arrive rather than the possibilities afforded en-route. This goal-directed approach absolutely has its strengths, especially in travel, but in curriculum design and delivery it can result … More Curriculum is Not a Journey. An Argument Against an Aims-Led Approach.
Today’s identity politics has another interesting feature: it teaches students to think in a way antithetical to what a liberal arts education should do. When I was at Yale in the 1980s, I was given so many tools for understanding the world. By the time I graduated, I could think about things as a Utilitarian … More The Narrowing Curriculum
Angela Rayner’s speech to the Labour Party conference contained many interesting ideas. The National Education Service, of course, echoes the UK’s beloved NHS: The next Labour Government will create a National Education Service, a cradle-to-grave system supporting everyone throughout their lives. It would start in the early years, where we know it has the most … More Knowledge Belongs to the Many, Not the Few
In her thoughtful essay ‘The Crisis in Education’, Hannah Arendt addresses the difficulty of teaching in the modern world. If you go into teaching with the sole purpose of making a real difference, changing the world one child at a time, you might end up doing nothing of the sort. A revolutionary or radical attitude … More The Need for a Progressive Attitude
Trying to fit a personalised curriculum around the desires of a child is a dangerous idea. If we only ever follow the extreme individualisation where the child’s own innate tastes are paramount we might never move out of McDonalds. The argument for personalisation goes hand in hand with the idea that much that is studied … More The Dangers of a Personalised Curriculum
A level results day is always a bittersweet day for me, school left me when I was sixteen and by the time many of my friends were getting their A level results I was working on a market stall selling, amongst other things, whoopee cushions and fart powder. Both products with clear results. But I … More A Level Results Day and the Polymathic Adventurer!
An article in Schools Week reports: A free school in Newcastle that does not teach humanities, arts or foreign languages has been branded ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted in its first inspection. The education watchdog singled out the “unacceptable” absence of subjects at Discovery School, which also omits physical education, … More STEM and the Narrow Curriculum
In these days of very little time or space on a timetable it is still heartening to know that some schools are trying to make a space where children can be taught in a way that celebrates education for its own sake. Paradoxically this approach might have benefits beyond education, as Stefan Collini puts it: … More History of Thought