It’s more than the national curriculum, more than lesson planning and bigger than building knowledge! Let’s design a curriculum by first asking Why…
The first pilot day of Grand Curriculum Designs kicks-off tomorrow – Friday! On board are representatives from twenty schools anxious to participate in a three-month pilot programme, which aims to develop their confidence and leadership skills to lead curriculum design within their own schools.
A rather groundbreaking CPD programme that fundamentally challenges ‘teaching for transmission’ and focuses on schools/teachers as the active shapers of curriculum and student experiences, the GCD is a partnership between the RSA and the curriculum experts - Institute of Education & Curriculum Foundation. Over the past few months, we have worked to combine expertise and to design holistic seminar series that will fundamentally challenge educators in their thinking and approach to working with the national curriculum. The time and space could not be better to develop a ‘whole curriculum’ outside the murky future of the National Curriculum. As the rules, accountability structures and space for innovation are becoming clearer, the changing role of teachers presents opportunity for greater responsibility and creative leadership.
Informed mainly by the principles and approaches set out in Opening Minds, Area Based Curriculum and the Curriculum Foundation’s World Class Curriculum Mark, the programme digs deeper to enable understanding and thinking around all three levels of the curriculum:
- the curriculum set out by the nation,
- the teacher/school’s mediation of national expectations,
- and the curriculum experienced by the students
(B. Male and M. Waters, The Secondary Curriculum Design Handbook)
The national curriculum prescribes a common set of learning, the teacher/school interprets it, though success really depends on what students experience and absorb.
It’s a matter of a good design! The mediator paints the setting… and this is what GCD is after – to empower the artist, the educator!
GCD programme is designed to improve learning opportunities for young people by building the capacity of individual teachers and other education professionals, to design relevant and innovative curricula for their schools. The participants in the pilot programme will attend four face-to-face learning seminars, spread-out over a three-month period, during which they will actively participate in a dynamic online learning community and apply their learning through a curriculum change project undertaken within their own school contexts.
Even before its start, the GCD has already attracted international interest from schools and teaching associations in the US and Eastern Europe, who are hoping to engage in the later stages of the programme, as it expands nationally from September 2013.