What does ongoing curriculum design and review look like?
This checklist helps leaders and the school community identify what curriculum design and review might look like at their school. It is not an exhaustive list of indicators, and not all of these things would be happening at the same time.
- Change is dynamic and responsive. The needs and interests of students and the local community, including whānau and iwi, drive it.
- The why, how, and what of teaching and learning are all considered in relation to each other.
- Curriculum development is linked with an existing focus, for example, inquiry learning, formative assessment, or Te Kotahitanga.
- Curriculum development is linked to professional learning, for example, in ICT, literacy, or numeracy.
- Earlier professional learning is revisted, adapted, and renewed.
- Professional learning encourages teachers to challenge and debate assumptions, come to new understandings, and build a shared view.
- Multiple changes to school curriculum are considered with an intention to align and streamline.
- Appraisal processes are aligned with curriculum design and review, helping teachers identify their own next learning steps.
- Change takes account of wider school processes and structures, not just classroom programmes.
"We have moved on from looking at the key competencies as separate entities ... the same with the values ... so we've gone from the principles, the values, the key competencies, to the learning statements, to actual planning and implementation of the curriculum. We are working very much now at integrating the two ends of the curriculum into actual learning experiences."
- The school develops, with its community, overarching policies and plans that set in place what is valued in the school. These larger policies and plans become a reference point for specific teaching, learning, and assessment.
- Schools make changes, bed them in, and build on them.
- Leaders sustain a strong focus on student learning, and on developing a shared vision for how that learning will be achieved.
- Leaders support risk taking in an environment based on trust.
- Leaders and teachers participate in ongoing dialogue about effective practice.
- Teachers are encouraged to think about themselves as learners, and to inquire into the impact of their teaching on their students. This inquiry could, in most cases, include insights from the students and/or their families and whānau.
- Processes for inquiring into classroom practice is based on knowledge about good practice and the evidence gathered by teachers and, in some cases, by students and/or their families and whānau.
- The focus is on 'improving the improvement' through reflective cycles of change and learning.
"The best thing we did was not say, "We're finished", as different aspects of practice were reviewed. Staff now see constantly evolving approaches as a hallmark of educational practice."
Change as a community endeavour
- Members of the school community are involved early in the design and review process and stay engaged.
- Everyone in the school is involved.
- Students are actively involved in curriculum decision making and help to engage their families and whānau, for example, by talking to parents about the school vision.
- Teachers and students work together to develop shared approaches to pedagogy and learning.
- Leadership is distributed across all those with expertise and enthusiasm (students, teachers, board, parents, whānau, iwi).
- The school community appreciates that curriculum design and review is a non-linear process with no end point.
- Local schools work together to discuss the intent of the curriculum, and the implications for their practice.
- Leaders build up strong networks and connections with other teachers, and with groups that provide professional and personal support.
"Our hui and fono in houses are informal and run by our community. Many of our families have expressed their feelings of being in control. They have also expressed a new found ownership with the school. As a school we feel we are hearing from more families and getting far better feedback and feed-forward than in the past."
Acknowledgement: These indicators have been adapted from NZC Update 1, an update that illustrates what we are seeing in schools when they are successfully implementing The New Zealand Curriculum. It is important to note that whilst this Update retains highly useful content, some of the references and links have been replaced with updated content.
Next – Setting the direction: Important considerations as you embark on curriculum design and review at your school.
Published on: 05 May 2014
Return to top