The value teachers place on the activities children engage in outside of school. In Lawrence Stenhouse’s wonderful book ‘An Introduction to Curriculum Research and Development’ there is a list of pupils’ interests and activities ranked by how their teachers approved/disapproved of them. It is quite an interesting, in some cases extraordinary, list. It was part … More Cultural Capital
Initially appealing, at least to me, the idea of cultural capital has begun to worry me. Though not coined by someone who admitted to being a Marxist, Pierre Bourdieu did draw quite heavily on Marxist thinking when it came to expounding his thesis. It is about power. Simply put, if you speak posh, go on … More Some Problems with Cultural Capital and Social Mobility
The aim of education is the knowledge, not of facts, but of values. – William Ralph Inge “The Training of the Reason” Do we know that torturing or killing a person for entertainment is wrong? Or is it that we just find it unpalatable? Is it merely guesswork on our part, is truth, outside of … More On A Knowledge-Rich Curriculum
In a piece for the TES Bernard Trafford wrote that: Assessment is linked, of course, to the whole question of reporting. Many parents still love nice, simple effort and attainment grades: they feel they know how their child is getting on. The message that such judgements are both arbitrary and unscientific is only now starting … More In Defence of the Graded Report Card
A striking conclusion that we have drawn from the findings is that, despite the fact that the curriculum is what is taught, there is little debate or reflection about it… there is a lack of clarity around the language of the curriculum. It is certainly possible that this ambiguity and lack of shared understanding expose … More Curriculum Series Number One: Curriculum Chaos
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!
Ron Berger’s famous ‘Austin’s Butterfly’ is a great lesson about how redrafting and feedback can help a child create a more accurate ‘scientific’ drawing of a butterfly. In the context of the task picture six is clearly the ‘best’ depiction of the butterfly. If one removes the context and no longer looks for accuracy … More The Problem With Austin’s Butterfly
Perhaps I had a bit of sunstroke but it seemed to me that what the new OFSTED supremo, Amanda Spielman had to say was a ‘game’ changer. In her gloriously uplifting speech at the, equally gloriously uplifting, Wellington Festival of Education she said that: One of the areas that I think we sometimes lose sight … More Spielman’s OFSTED Game Changer: The Importance of the Curriculum.
The anti-Ken Robinson Robinson talks about cognitive dualism, the need for the subjective and the problems that creates for schools in a high stakes assessment and accountability system. If the arts are subjective how can they be measured fairly? If they are assessed more objectively can they be considered to be worthwhile subjects of study?