PARADIGMS AND CfE IN ACTION

Sir Ken Robinson believes that we are in need of a change of educational paradigms and some of his assertions relate to the ‘antiquated’ nature of our education systems-‘education modelled on the interests of industrialisation, and in the image of it’. Are our systems of timetabling, teaching periods, term times and curricular boundaries stifling our children’s ability to learn effectively? I’ll let you watch Sir Ken’s entire presentation to see how far it resonates.

Our Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) has evolved mainly from the anxieties associated with the notion of ‘Teaching in the 21st Century’, indeed the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), has had a significant role in shaping what it believes our young people will need to flourish in the future-‘Skills have become the global currency of the 21st century. Without proper investment in skills, people languish on the margins of society’.-and so we are presented with the skills versus knowledge debate-is knowledge disappearing from education?

In my blog the other day, I argued that that it is acquired through a purposeful process and that we should not merely be transmitters of content. I was, in pedagogical terms, referring to a constructivist approach. Perhaps then, our fears and anxieties regarding the new curriculum are a manifestation of how to truly embrace interdisciplinary learning and experiences within our existing structures. I am having such an experience!

In the last academic session I became involved in a partnership with the local credit union and was lucky enough to see how such a partnership operates within a local primary school. I was thrilled to see children as young as 5 and 6 engaging in real life financial learning within the early broad general education stage of the curriculum. However, I am charged with implementation at post 16 and this provides me with a different set of challenges. There are amazing opportunities to meet the four capacities and even more means to achieve experiences and outcomes across health and wellbeing, social studies and technologies. The constraints that I am faced with are not the same as the ones that exist within the compulsory sector, however, I do wish to embrace the curriculum in a way that provides the seamless transitions expected within its core. To what extent my own institutional and sectoral imperatives either help or hinder-well that remains to be seen.

I would heartily recommend that anyone interested in leading such a credit union initiatve search out their local provider.

I will blog on my progress in the new term.

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