My role today is to touch base with the messages and key principles that are coming through in the curriculum that, whenever you design your school curriculum, they are the ones you come back to. The way you pull those together will be informed by the work you are doing with your communities, which will be vastly different.
Our curriculum is not new as such.
| Literacy and numeracy
|| Worthwhile qualifications
|| Clear standards
|| Assessment to drive improvements
|| Supporting parents
| Strong learning foundations
|| Participation, engagement, achievement
|| Māori language education
|| Contribute to economic performance
The curriculum sets the direction. It is linking in the key principles and most important things we cannot leave to chance.
Reasons for change:
- Society has changed ...
- Notions of knowledge have changed - whose, what and how it is used
- Workplace requirements are different
- Globalisation - society and workplace
- Diversity and citizenship
- Emphasis on effective pedagog(ies) and differentiated instruction
What are the significant shifts in NZ's 2007 curriculum?
This curriculum is the first time we have had statements about pedagogy and assessment. It is coming from a new place. It is very learner centered. Teaching as inquiry is also new within the document.
ERO has reported when looking at school readiness to implement the curriculum that most schools:
- have begun or are well under way
- have reviewed vision and values
- are integrating key competencies
- are aligning school curriculum statements and practice with the learning areas and principles of the NZC
- Visible leadership
- shared understanding
- planned approach
- using professional development and materials
This curriculum is bringing about deep changes:
- engaging teachers
- engaging students
- engaging communities
In the next ERO report what they are looking for are changes of curriculum in action. This is a shift from what do you know about the curriculum, to what are you seeing of curriculum in action; how are teaching and learning practices changing; what do you see of 'teachers inquiring into the impact of their teaching?
At the heart of a school curriculum is teachers making and acting on decisions, based on evidence about what to teach and how to teach it.
Curriculum design and review is an ongoing and continuous process. For some schools it makes sense to approach it via the key competencies, learning areas, vision or values. Whatever way you choose it is the principles of the curriculum that need to be embedded in the centre. Consideration should also be with future focus themes.
If you are looking at curriculum integration and wondering how to fit it all together and ensure that all the learning areas are sitting in there in a cohesive way you may consider a curriculum mapping approach to curriculum design:
- identify key concepts and processes
- subject maps are laid over each other
- identify commonality and difference
- adjust each level to focus on unique concepts and processes
- develop a common process for covering shared concepts or processes
Move from the statements first, get the big sense of the learning area and then the AOs come into play later.
Use of central themes:
- What are the most powerful themes?
- Develop criteria based on NZC principles for distinguishing the most productive or powerful themes
- Develop units of work that match the criteria and principles for powerful learning.
Example of criteria to identify powerful themes
- It will offer broad understanding across a number of learning areas
- It will encourage students to look to the future as a member of the local community, or a contributor to the well-being of Aotearoa/NZ or an international citizen
- It will engage students' interests, needs, identities, language and abilities
- It will actively encourage the development of student creativity, inquiry, enterprise and talent.
Whatever way you develop in your school you can review in a review process. The four previous criteria are straight from the principles of the curriculum.
"The fact that the national curriculum specifies only general outcome goals, rather than the path by which to attain them, means that teachers in schools have to work together to develop the curriculum and instructional strategies tailored to the needs of their school (students)." (McKinsey, 2007)
A good education system will enhance the capacity to learn.
Pedagogy at its best should be about what teachers and schools do that not only helps students to learn but actively strengthens their capacity to learn.
Published on: 03 Feb 2010
Return to top