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NZC as a driver for curriculum change at St Hilda's Collegiate

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Judy Maw, assistant principal and network learning facilitator, discusses the importance of looking at the curriculum as a holistic document. In this video she explores the New Zealand Curriculum as a driver for curriculum change.

Transcript

I think a key message with the new curriculum when we’re talking to HODs, curriculum leaders, is the importance of looking as a holistic document. In past times the curriculum document has been very subject specific, whereas the new curriculum is much more about the teaching and the learning and then your subject grows from that. And I think that’s probably been the key message that has been a message of change for us.

The beauty of it is you can’t pinpoint an exact look in the classroom because it allows schools to have a lot more autonomy in how they put their curriculum together and a lot more freedom - inserting the needs of the individual students. So that sounds like it’s not answering the question but in actual fact I think if you went into a classroom what you should see is a curriculum that is suited to the actual students in that class.

What we’ve spent a lot of time looking at, I think, are the principles and I think the principles are the underlying part of the new curriculum. And I think it’s very easy to go straight to the back end and go well these are our achievement standards these are what I’m going to teach, how are we going to put them together? So what we’ve spent a lot of time going over when we have our cluster meetings is we’ve looked at the underlying principles:

  • so how you’re going to create coherence?
  • How you’re going to connect the children to what they see in the outside world?
  • How is your programme inclusive or catering for differences?

Looking at that front end and unpacking it again with a specific English lens. I know most of our schools have unpacked it in their schools but we go back and say we’re now teaching English, how do these things relate?

Change is always hard and change takes time, change takes energy and we’re already juggling a lot of other things. The other challenge I think we face is that we can present the very aspirational ‘this is what you could do, this is the wonderful new world of the new curriculum’ but then they go back to schools and they’re constrained by timetable restraints, they have demands from the senior leadership team who require them to meet assessment deadlines and they are the challenges I think. The spirit of the new curriculum and making it work in the practicalities of everyday school life.

It’s always easy to advise when you’re not having to put it into practice all the time but I do to a certain extent anyway in my position of senior leadership. I think the advice is to remain open to being flexible. To resist the pressure to put more and more assessment into the programme. To look at smart ways to combine assessment and teaching and learning and to realise which one should be the driving force and that the teaching and learning programme will generate good assessment.


Published on: 15 Jul 2011


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