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Redesigning the English curriculum

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My thoughts on redesigning the English curriculum at Key Stages 3 & 4.

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Redesigning the English curriculum

  1. What if there was no Ofsted, no league tables, no SLT, just you and your class. What would you do to make your teaching great? Do that anyway… Tom Sherrington
  2. What should we include in an English curriculum?
  3. My underlying principles • Education should enrich students‟ cultural capital • Knowledge of grammar is foundational & transformative • Study of English should be based on the „threshold concepts‟ of the subject • Knowledge of literature should be sequentially introduced • Sustained progress is preferable to rapid progress
  4. Cultural capital • It‟s not subjective – “the best of what has been thought and known” • Knowledge is power • Teach the cannon, but also critique it
  5. Grammar • To be creative you have to know the rules – explicit knowledge of grammar matters • To think analytically you need to „think like an essay‟ – grammar is concerned with meaning • Deliberate practice (decontextualised drill) matters.
  6. JB Priestley also presents Mr Birling as confident he says to Gerald with no hesitation at all ‘But what I wanted to say is there’s a fair chance that I might find my way into the next Honours List’ he shows he’s confident in his business and in himself and he’s not telling Gerald he’s going to have a knighthood he’s boasting. Daisy Christodoulou http://thewingtoheaven.wordpress.com/2012/02/05/why-and-how-we-
  7. JB Priestley also presents Mr Birling as confident he says to Gerald with no hesitation at all ‘But what I wanted to say is there’s a fair chance that I might find my way into the next Honours List’ he shows he’s confident in his business and in himself and he’s not telling Gerald he’s going to have a knighthood he’s boasting. JB Priestley also presents Mr Birling as confident when he says to Gerald with no hesitation at all: „But what I wanted to say is there‟s a fair chance that I might find my way into the next Honours List‟. Here, he shows he‟s confident in his business and in himself. He‟s not just telling Gerald he‟s going to have a knighthood; he‟s boasting about it. Daisy Christodoulou http://thewingtoheaven.wordpress.com/2012/02/05/why-and-how-we-
  8. Uncovering the hidden body of knowledge • A: He’s not telling Gerald he’s going to have a knighthood he’s boasting. • B: He’s not telling Gerald he’s going to have a knighthood; he’s boasting. • What do you need to know to be able to turn sentence A into sentence B? • You need to know where to put a a semicolon. This means you need to know what an independent clause is. This means you need to know what a verb is. Daisy Christodoulou http://thewingtoheaven.wordpress.com/2012/02/05/why-and-how-we-
  9. Daisy Christodoulou http://thewingtoheaven.wordpress.com/2012/02/05/why-and-how-we-
  10. What is the best way to teach this knowledge? Separate lessons that involve deliberate practice • Activate prior knowledge • Teacher explanation • Guided practice • Feedback • Independent practice • More feedback Daisy Christodoulou http://thewingtoheaven.wordpress.com/2012/02/05/why-and-how-we-
  11. Threshold concepts Until you „get‟ them you struggle to understand, once you „get‟ them they are transformative and irreversible. Structure & coherence Spelling, punctuation & grammar Awareness of impact Understanding context Using evidence Analysing technique
  12. Sequencing • Our memories privilege stories • Learning is easier when it‟s in context • What is the story of English? – Classical – Early – Renaissance – Victorian – Modern
  13. What is „progress‟? • Performance vs learning • Introducing „desirable difficulties‟ • Spacing & interleaving
  14. 2. Why is difficulty desirable? • Rapid improvement (performance): predictability, cues, massed practice • Sustained improvement (learning): variability, spacing, interleaving These slow down performance but lead to long term retention & transfer of knowledge
  15. Storage strength The (New) Theory of Disuse Childhood address Old friend‟s address What you learn in this session New friend‟s address Retrieval strength
  16. Rapid progress prevents sustained progress • The higher the retrieval strength, the smaller the gains from additional study or practice • Forgetting creates the likelihood of increased learning • If learning is difficult, retrieval strength will decrease in the short term but will increase in the long term
  17. A challenge Everyone likes rapid progress But… The route to sustained progress is counter intuitive
  18. Desirable difficulties • Spacing & interleaving • Generation not reading • Testing not revising
  19. Hermann Ebbinghaus, 1885
  20. Topic 2 Topic 3 Topic 4 Topic 5 Topic 6 Topic 3 Topic 1 Topic 4 Topic 2 Topic 1 Topic 2 Topic 4 Topic 3 Topic 5 Topic 1 Topic 6 Topic 1 Topic 3 Topic 4 Topic 6 Topic 2 Topic 5 Blocking & interleaving Topic 5 Topic 6
  21. Understanding context Using evidence Spelling, punctuation & grammar Structure & coherence Reading Analysing technique Awareness of impact Understanding context Using evidence Spelling, punctuation & grammar Structure & coherence Writing Analysing technique Awareness of impact Understanding context Using evidence Spelling, punctuation & grammar Structure & coherence Analysing technique Awareness of impact Interleaving Writing
  22. Generation Generating information is more memorable than just reading it Apple Pear Or_____ Ra______
  23. Retrieval induced forgetting Items we‟ve not practised retrieving are more likely to be forgotten in the short term But, forgetting increases chances of retaining information that is represented
  24. Testing • Which study pattern will result in the best test results? 1. 2. 3. 4. STUDY STUDY STUDY STUDY – TEST STUDY STUDY STUDY TEST – TEST STUDY STUDY TEST TEST – TEST STUDY TEST TEST TEST - TEST
  25. Tests don’t have to be dull
  26. My underlying principles • Education should enrich students‟ cultural capital • Knowledge of grammar is foundational & transformative • Study of English should be based on the „threshold concepts‟ of the subject • Knowledge of literature should be sequentially introduced • Sustained progress is preferable to rapid progress
  27. KS3 programme of study
  28. Sequenced version
  29. Alex Quigley‟s POS
  30. Changes to English GCSEs • Grading will be numerical, with 9 being the highest score and 1 the lowest. • English will be examined as „English Language‟ and „English Literature‟. Literature is not compulsory. • Both specifications will be linear with assessment in the Summer. November resit opportunities for English language only. • Both English specifications will be assessed by untiered, external exam only.
  31. English Language • There are no set texts • Reading is broken down into: critical reading and comprehension; summary and synthesis; evaluation of a writer‟s choice of vocabulary, form and structural features. • Writing is broken down into: producing clear and coherent text; writing for impact. • Spoken language is broken down into: presenting information and ideas; responding to spoken language (listening and responding appropriately to any questions and feedback); spoken standard English. • There will be a speaking assessment, which will be reported separately. • 20% of the marks are allocated to spelling, punctuation and grammar.
  32. English language content • Unseen high-quality, challenging texts from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries • Texts must include literature and extended literary non- fiction (essays, reviews and journalism). • Texts that are essentially transient must not be included.
  33. English Literature • Emphasis on „classic literature‟ & „substantial whole texts in detail‟. • The exam must include unseen texts. • Reading broken down into: literal and inferential comprehension; critical reading; evaluation of the writer‟s choice of vocabulary, grammatical and structural features; comparing texts. • Writing about literature is described as „writing effectively about literature for a range of purposes‟. However, the AO spells out that students should be able to „maintain a critical style‟ so it doesn‟t look as if creative responses are a possibility. • 5% of the marks are allocated to spelling, punctuation and grammar.
  34. Literature content • At least one play by Shakespeare • At least one 19th century novel (no short stories!) • A selection of poetry since 1789, including representative Romantic poetry Fiction or drama from the British Isles from 1914 onwards.
  35. Overall • Speaking & listening component no longer counts towards GCSE grade • Media & the digital world do not feature • No spoken language component • SPaG and standard English account for a large part of what is assessed.
  36. Proposed KS4 curriculum
  37. Should all students study English Literature? • Morality vs practicality “English will not count unless students study both English Language and English Literature and the English Baccalaureate will only be conferred on students who study both English Language and English Literature.” Michael Gove
  38. Should all students study English Literature? At present, pupils must study some English Literature for any English grades to count in performance tables, and we want to retain a similar incentive for schools to offer English Literature courses in future. Requiring pupils to enter English Literature for the Language score to be double weighted retains the incentive to enter English Literature, without making this subject a requirement of the Progress 8 measure. Reforming the accountability system for secondary schools
  39. Should all students study English Literature? The eight subjects against which students will be measured include] a double weighted English element (the English Language qualification will count for this element, but will only be double weighted if the pupil has also taken English Literature. Reforming the accountability system for secondary schools
  40. „Progress 8‟ • Best 8 GCSEs count towards students‟ progress • Maths is worth double = 9 slots • English language is worth double if students have studied literature = 10 slots
  41. Key messages • Decide on your values before deciding on your curriculum • Assess what you value • Teachers mediate dictats – what is your „enacted curriculum‟? • Literature is an entitlement
  42. There‟s nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so. David Didau @LearningSpy learningspy.co.uk ddidau@gmail.com

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