David Leat Keynote - Back to the future
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David Leat Keynote - Back to the future



Everywhere in Education we see curriculum change and renewal, change responding to external policy, responding to our desire to refresh our Education programmes and sometimes responding to internal ...

Everywhere in Education we see curriculum change and renewal, change responding to external policy, responding to our desire to refresh our Education programmes and sometimes responding to internal institutional requirements but as academics working in Education departments we always seek to develop our curricula by being informed by what we know about effective learning.

This keynote will look at the implications for curriculum development and teacher development of a number of emerging trends in curriculum, which include:

• Authentic learning (e.g. Project Based Learning);

• Inter-disciplinary learning;

• Collaborative learning;

• Local curriculum making and curriculum partnerships;

• Divergent learning (as well as convergent learning);

• Holistic assessment.

As Director for the Research Centre for Learning and Teaching (CfLaT), David Leat has been researching the difficulties in sustaining whole institution curriculum change, which has led to an equal focus on professional learning and organisational/cultural change.

Keynote presentation by David Leech given at the HEA 'Curriculum Challenge: Being a curriculum thinker' event on 7 April 2014.



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David Leat Keynote - Back to the future David Leat Keynote - Back to the future Presentation Transcript

  • Back to the Future – Curriculum Development in a Digital Age Professor David Leat Research Centre for Learning and Teaching, Newcastle University HEA Back to the Future 1
  • Curriculum questions (Dillon 2009) 1. Nature of curriculum – what is it, what is it for? (for citizenship, for moral development, for delivery of vocational skills, for preparation for HE, for healthy lives, to pass exams!) 2. Elements of the curriculum – what is it composed of? • Who teaches it? • What is taught? • Where and when? • Why? • How? • What are the outcomes? Who learns what? • How is it assessed? • 3. How you think when you teach and assess. HEA Back to the Future 2 We have become very unimaginative about these questions
  • Curriculum changes in England in schools, 1988 to 2013 • In 1988 England introduced its first National Curriculum with a great deal of content specified to be taught in the subjects; • As the content specification has been reduced, England has gradually moved from ‘input’ regulation (content) to ‘output’ regulation (exams). HEA Back to the Future 3
  • Performativity (Stephen Ball, 2003) • As a policy, standards ‘works’ through a very simple but effective and very public technology of performance – made up of league tables, national averages, comparative and progress indicators, Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education) assessments and benchmarks. These together are intended to instill into schools what is called a ‘performance culture’. HEA Back to the Future 4
  • Rumblings of discontent (3) HEA Back to the Future 5
  • Lack of engagement (1) HEA Back to the Future 6
  • A stitch in time: tackling educational disengagement (Demos 2009, Sonia Sodha & Silvia Guglielmi) • Almost one in ten 16—18 year-olds were not engaged in education, employment or training (NEET) in late 2007 — a status associated with huge costs both in terms of later life outcomes for these young people and for society. • Serious levels of lack of engagement. • (Strong evidence in Canada – lack of intellectual engagement in secondary school). HEA Back to the Future 7
  • A stitch in time • England has some of the poorest attitudes towards learning and enjoyment of learning internationally, with one of the highest proportions of children with poor attitudes towards reading in the developed world, and four in ten children partly or mostly agreeing with the statement ‘I hate school/college’. HEA Back to the Future 8
  • The world of work (2) HEA Back to the Future 9
  • HE & CBI: Making Education Work • England must … formally adopt … key competences guided by recent international developments : • communication in English and in foreign languages, competence in mathematics; • science and technology and digital competence; • learning to learn individually and as part of a team; • personal, interpersonal and intercultural competence, including an understanding of codes of conduct and the importance of business ethics, a sense of initiative and entrepreneurship, creativity and cultural awareness. HEA Back to the Future 10
  • Aka Pearson Independent Advisory Group • Project work (Extended Project Qualification) should become a key requirement for university entrance. • Non-cognitive skills and attributes such as team working, emotional maturity, empathy, and other interpersonal skills are as important as proficiency in English and mathematics in ensuring young people’s employment prospects. Assessment should reflect this .. • Access to high quality teaching and learning is currently unequal – technology offers a way to resolve this – at least in part. Government should investigate virtual learning as a way to improve the quality of provision HEA Back to the Future 11
  • Technology (3) HEA Back to the Future 12
  • • Students self organise – groups of 3-4 with one computer; • Learning occurs through much collaboration & discussion; • Teachers transfer the power to learn to students; • Students are free to observe what other groups are doing and share information with each other • Students present their research to the class at the end of the session The five principles of a SOLE session 13HEA Back to the Future
  • Skype Seniors HEA Back to the Future 14
  • Armathwaite School - Cumbria • http://www.armathwaite.cumbria.sch.uk/index.p hp?category_id=18 • School used a grant to appoint a part time community development officer; • She found and developed ‘enquiry’ partners in the community for curriculum making; • The pupils researched, designed and made new sandwiches at the village bakery, weekend packages at the local dog hotel, and a wedding and reception at the local church. Pupils reported and reviewed their weekly progress. HEA Back to the Future 15
  • BUT … Michael Young & Johann Muller 2010 • Future 1 — Subject boundaries are given and fixed (powerful knowledge) — there are elites, streaming and a lack of innovation; • Future 2 — The end of boundaries – integration of subjects, skills focus, ‘concept light’ and facilitative teaching; • Future 3 – A hybrid with boundary maintenance as prior to boundary crossing and the dynamic relation between the two is the fountain of new knowledge. HEA Back to the Future 16
  • James & Brown ‘Grasping the TLRP nettle’ ‘Learning’ in the Teaching and Learning Research Programme projects included: • Attainments; • Understanding; • Cognitive and creative; • Using; • Higher Order Learning; • Dispositions; • Membership, inclusion & self-worth. 17HEA Back to the Future
  • Convergent and divergent approaches Torrance & Prior 1999 • a. precise planning by the teacher and an intention to stick to it; • c. closed or pseudo-open teacher questioning and tasks; • e. authoritative, judgmental or quantitative feedback; • f. feedback focussed on performance and the successful completion of the task in hand; • a. flexible planning or complex planning which incorporates alternatives; • c. mainly open tasks with mediating questions aimed at finding connections & making sense; • e. exploratory, provisional or provocative descriptive feedback aimed at prompting further engagement from the learners; • f. discussion prompting reflection on the task with a view to wider application; 18 Convergent pedagogy Divergent pedagogy HEA Back to the Future
  • Basil Bernstein’s concept of framing Framing refers to the strength of the social rules in place in the educational settings such as classrooms and involves a ‘pedagogic discourse’ which helps define how students see themselves as a result of the classroom experiences. Instructional discourses reflect the selection of knowledge for teaching, such as its sequencing and criteria for assessment, while regulative discourses concern the social relations in the classroom, with regard to expectations of conduct and manner. Moving from convergent to divergent approaches disrupts the pedagogic discourse (big time). 19HEA Back to the Future
  • Partial reframing • When my Year 8 did that enquiry project – they asked their peers who were taking the lesson when they needed help and not me, that’s when I started to think yes this could work really well. 20HEA Back to the Future
  • The tension for teachers • One astute teacher recognised that there are clear limits to the spread of a new ‘discourse’ as the beliefs and pedagogical knowledge of some teachers currently preclude such communication: • When you include the ‘habits of mind’ it becomes easier for the students and teachers to have a learning dialogue. When that culture is set up it changes the atmosphere in the school … But a lot of teachers can’t talk to students as equals, or as learning partners … HEA Back to the Future 21
  • HE Curriculum: Barnett & Coate 2005. • The domain of ‘knowing’ refers to the core knowledge of the discipline (threshold concepts). ‘Acting’ emphasizes skills and actions that students are expected to acquire and refers to how a student’s expertise grows and develops through activity. The domain of ‘being’ denotes the formation of student’s personality and identity. HEA Back to the Future 22
  • Makinen and Annala 2010 HEA Back to the Future 23
  • REMAKING CURRICULUM SUBJECTS ENQUIRY COMMUNITY Dialogue - where different voices are heard and listened to. Meaning is not given but contested and explored. HEA Back to the Future 24 About, for and by a place
  • Manchester Area-Based Curriculum http://www.thersa.org/projects/area-based-curriculum/manchester- curriculum • A shift towards an area-based curriculum implies a re-introduction of local contexts into curriculum making and therefore implies a re- organisation of the relationships between knowledge within the curriculum. HEA Back to the Future 25
  • Six key themes in curriculum for C21st research reviews • 1. The effectiveness of learning that is ‘context based’ (dealing with ideas and phenomena in real or simulated practical situations) most notably in reviews of science and maths; • 2. The importance of connecting the curriculum with young people’s experiences of home and community and the related, but also distinctive theme of parental involvement in children’s learning in the home. 26HEA Back to the Future
  • Six key themes in curriculum for C21st research reviews • 3. The impact on pupil motivation and learning of structured dialogue in group work and of collaborative learning; • 4. The need to create opportunities to identify and build on pupils’ existing conceptual understandings – again notably in science and maths. Several reviewers also found evidence of unexplored poor misunderstandings arising from ‘teaching to the test’; 27HEA Back to the Future
  • Six key themes in curriculum for C21st research reviews • 5. The need to remove rigidity in the approach to the curriculum - to allow time and space for conceptual development, to encourage integration of cross-curricular learning; and • 6. The need for excellence and professional development in subject knowledge – without which teachers would be unable to seize opportunities for curriculum innovation, particularly in relation to context-based learning. 28HEA Back to the Future
  • H. Timperley, A. Wilson, H. Barrar & I. Fung (2007). Teacher professional Learning and Development: Best evidence Synthesis Iteration. Wellington, New Zealand: Ministry of Education Teacher inquiry and knowledge-building cycle to promote valued student outcomes. HEA Back to the Future 29
  • Teachers and curriculum making • Teachers, at all levels, need more experience of designing curriculum from scratch for a wider variety of learning outcomes; • They need more experience of involving others in curriculum making and of inquiring into the outcomes of their efforts (Stenhouse); • They need more experience and support for operating a more contingent curriculum, still strongly rooted in subjects. HEA Back to the Future 30
  • References • Anderson, R. (2014) Careers 2020, Making Education Work, A report from an Independent Advisory Group chaired by Professor Roy Anderson, London: Pearson. • Ball, S., (2003) The teachers’ soul and the terrors of performativity. Journal of Educational Policy, Vol. 18, 215-228. • Barnett, R. and Coate, K. (2005) Engaging the curriculum in higher education, Berkshire, GBR: McGraw-Hill Education. • Dillon, J. T. (2009) 'The questions of curriculum‘ , Journal of Curriculum Studies, Vol. 41 (3), pp. 343-359. • James, M. & Brown, S. (2005) Grasping the TLRP nettle: preliminary analysis and some enduring issues surrounding the improvement of learning outcomes, Curriculum Journal, Vol. 16 (1), pp. 7-30. • Mäkinen, M. & Annala, J. (2010) Meanings behind curriculum development in higher education, Prime, Vol. 4 (2). HEA Back to the Future 31
  • References • Sodha, S. & Guglielmi, S. (2009) A Stitch in Time: Tackling Disengagement, London: Demos. • Stenhouse, L. (1976) An introduction to curriculum research and development, London: Heinemann. • Timperley, H., Wilson, A., Barrar, H., & Fung, I., 2007. Teacher professional learning and development: Best evidence synthesis iteration. Wellington, New Zealand: Ministry of Education. Available from http://www.minedu.govt.nz/goto/bestevidencesynthesis. • Torrance, H. & Pryor, J. (1998) Investigating Formative Assessment. Teaching, Learning and Assessment in the Classroom (Buckingham, Open University Press). • Young, M. & Muller, J. (2010) Three Educational Scenarios for the Future: lessons from the sociology of knowledge, European Journal of Education, Vol. 45 (1) Part I, pp. 11-27. HEA Back to the Future 32