16 July 2007

Every child shall ... be creative

The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority:

QCA is pleased to be launching the new secondary curriculum. The consultation was widely supported by education professionals, parents, employers, industry experts — in fact, anyone with an interest in education. The opportunity to create an exciting and stimulating curriculum that includes classroom activities and out-of-hours learning, as well as a solid foundation in the basic subjects, has been greeted enthusiastically. ["Oh no it hasn't." — "Oh yes it has."]

Our aim has been to increase flexibility. The new curriculum builds on the best of the past by maintaining the discipline of subjects, but at the same time offering greater opportunities for personalised learning, addressing the major challenges that face society and equipping young people with the skills for life and work in the 21st Century. By mixing tradition with a more creative approach to the curriculum, we will achieve our objective of producing successful learners, confident individuals and responsible citizens.
Andrew Motion (Poet Laureate):
One of the several heartening things about the revised Secondary Curriculum is the way it creates more space and provides more encouragement for pupils to discover the value of contributing to a creative culture of learning. Just as importantly, it spreads the benefits of this approach across all subjects and disciplines. It is a very welcome development.
Professor John Mullan:
Arguing for the changes on Radio 4's Today programme, [the Chief Executive of QCA] revealed a philosophical shift of a different kind. The key thing, he suggested, was to address the "needs of the time". By "needs" he seemed to mean "social ills", for he immediately began talking of obesity among youngsters and the rate of teenage pregnancies. You wondered whether the vaunted "flexibility" was going to be so desirable for the teachers. It sounded as if they would now have to teach not just how to draw a graph or use commas, but how to live. What is a curriculum for? Providing fundamental academic knowledge and skills, you might think, but Dr Boston wants you to think more flexibly. "Instead of teaching the Battle of Malplaquet, you teach them how to cook food".
(Emphasis mine.)

Further to the theme of "every child shall [be offered state-approved goodies]":

  • Every child shall have ... five hours of sport per week, the government has announced.

  • Every child shall have ... one free piece of fruit or vegetable per day — and has had for some time. But it appears the effects so far are minimal, though this conclusion is denied by the government.

    Saltburn subversives said...

    I was just reading the introduction to Bertrand Russell's 'The New Generation' wherein he gives his definition of sin:

    "sin is what is disliked by those who control education."

    Would you agree?

    Fabian Tassano said...

    I'd prefer to say, those who control education also determine what is to be regarded as socially taboo.

    The quote sounds a bit too much like modern ideas of education for my taste. Russell can be regarded as a pioneer of "child-centred" education - which isn't child-centred at all, just another form of oughtism. A rebellion against what you feel you were overexposed to can easily lead to an alternative form of educational authoritarianism which is just as bad - or worse because it pretends to be freer. Schools like Summerhill and Beacon Hill sound pretty dreadful, and about as "libertarian" as Lord of the Flies.

    Saltburn subversives said...

    Russell's ideas on education were pretty batty, as were his ideas on criminal justice, it seems to me. No doubt he has a lot to answer for. It just struck me as ironic that his own opinions on the educational system of his own day could so easily be turned on the present system.

    The idea that children should be taught 'how to live' by teachers is terrifying, in view of how little they seem to know about real life. I think it's a kind of 'Marxism writ small' as I read somewhere recently regarding political correctness.

    The question still remains as to how you change the present system without again ending up with something worse?

    Peter Horne

    Lord Straf-Bilderberg said...

    I'm afraid the tick box responses had me reaching for a paper bag.