The 'Knowledge Turn' in the UK National Curriculum


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A presentation for staff at The Coopers' Company and Coborn School on the 'Knowledge Turn' in the National Curriculum

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The 'Knowledge Turn' in the UK National Curriculum

  1. 1. The „Knowledge Turn‟ in theNational Curriculum. Paul Cornish February 2012
  2. 2. Skills or Knowledge?
  3. 3. Mick Waters, QCA (2010)“A school shouldnt start withcurriculum content. It should startwith designing a learningexperience and then check it hasmet national curriculumrequirements.” (Guardian)
  4. 4. Learning for what Purpose? Learning can be trivial, dangerous or wrong. It is essentially a technical process – it emphasises skills that can be honed and practised, and accelerated, as if this were an end in itself. Lambert (2010)
  5. 5. Destined to Fail• Equity: “Outside looking in” (Wheelahan)• Loss of traditional academic subjects- skills for a knowledge economy promoted• Playing exam system• Pupils „learning‟ without teaching
  6. 6. Return to Base Camp and tryagain?The current turn towardknowledge follows three decadesof the marginalisation or turningaway from knowledge in UKeducation. (Mitchell, 2011)
  7. 7. External Factors • Move to 2 year KS3. (Weeden& Lambert) • Focus on the „Pedagogic adventure‟ without knowing destination (Lambert) • Emphasize values over knowledge (Civitas) • Promote personal responsibility (Civitas) •Knowledge not high on Ofsted agenda • Exam league tables- playing the system. • Learning Pathways (Weeden) • Spatial distribution of outstanding teachers • Poor knowledge from Primary Schools
  8. 8. Internal Factors • Lack of subject specialists at KS3 • Poorly written curricula – lack of understanding of curriculum making • Move away from textbooks • Focus on teaching exam technique over acquisition of knowledge • Lack of understanding as to what is essential core knowledgein subject area • Move to sexy topics (amazing places,geography of extreme sport) without a knowledge base
  9. 9. Return to Base Camp and tryagain?The National Curriculum should set out clearlythe core knowledge and understanding that allchildren should be expected to acquire in thecourse of their schooling. It must embody theircultural and scientific inheritance, the best thatthe past and present generations have to pass onto the next. DfE The Importance of Teaching (2010)
  10. 10. Who‟s in the Team?Gove- Importance of Teaching (DfE 2010)Prince‟s Teaching InstituteHirsch- Core KnowledgeMichael Young- Bringing Knowledge Back InOfsted
  11. 11. Three FuturesFuture 1: Govian ElitismFuture 2: A Knowledge SocietyFuture 3: Objective Knowledge
  12. 12. Govian Elitism
  13. 13. A „Knowledge‟ Society
  14. 14. Objective Knowledge
  15. 15. Mere Facts?• Number of people to attempt to climb Mt. Everest: approximately 4,000.• Number of people to successfully climb Mt. Everest: 660.• Number of people who have died trying to climb Mt. Everest: 142.• Height: 29,028 feet, or 5 and a half miles above sea level. This is equivalent to the size of almost 20 Empire State Buildings.• Location: part of the Himalaya mountain range; straddles border of Nepal and Tibet.• Named for: Sir George Everest, a British surveyor-general of India.• Age: approximately 60 million years old.• Other names: called "Chomolungma" by Tibetans and Sherpas, which means "Mother Goddess of the Earth."
  16. 16. Mere Facts?The accumulation of fragmentary facts as an end toitself is like learning a language by simply learninglists of vocabulary: you may know lots of words butyou still cannot speak the language. For that youneed grammar. By the same token, you cannotspeak a language by only knowing some of thegrammar! You need some vocabulary.Lambert (2011)
  17. 17. Michael YoungI will argue… for a knowledge- based theoryof the curriculum that recognises thedistinction between the type of knowledgethat can be acquired at school, college oruniversity and the common sense or thepractical knowledge that we aquire in ourevery day lives.
  18. 18. Hirsch: Knowledge DeficitMutualistic relationship betweenliteracy and knowledge
  19. 19. Subject Knowledge Procedural • Kn1 Content • Kn2 Core • Kn3
  20. 20. Kn1 Core KnowledgeThe basic elements that studentsmust know to be acquainted with adiscipline or solve problems in it.a. Knowledge of terminologyb. Knowledge of specific details and elements
  21. 21. Kn2 Content KnowledgeThe interrelationships among the basicelements within a larger structure thatenable them to function together. a. Knowledge of classifications and categoriesb. Knowledge of principles and generalizationsc. Knowledge of theories, models, and structures
  22. 22. Kn3 Procedural KnowledgeHow to do something; methods of inquiry, and criteriafor using skills, algorithms, techniques, and methods.a. Knowledge of subject-specific skills and al- gorithmsb. Knowledge of subject-specific techniques and methodsc. Knowledge of criteria for determining when to use appropriate procedures
  23. 23. Implications: Ofsted…how well teachers use theirexpertise, including theirsubject knowledge, to developpupils‟ knowledge… (Ofsted 2012)
  24. 24. Implications: Literacy• Reading aloud in class• Reading subject specific material (reading lists forKS3/4/5)• Comprehension tasks
  25. 25. Implications: Assessment• In every major KS3 assessment include aspects Kn1, 2 and 3• New KS3 assessment (toreplace levels) will be designedaround knowledge• Kn1, 2 and 3 targets in books
  26. 26. Implications: Curriculum Making
  27. 27. Knowledge Focused Curriculum MakingHow does this take the Learning Activity- to Student Experiences assist in thelearner beyond what theyalready know? Not just acquisition ofevery day knowledge from knowledge. How doesthe world outside the this use proceduralclassroom (Young) knowledge? Teacher Choices Subject SpecialismUnderpinned by Subject- SpecificKey NC Subject Knowledge: Core- TheConcepts linked to Vocabulary. Content- TheContent knowledge Grammar. Procedural- Investigation/ enquiry
  28. 28. Implications: Curriculum Making
  29. 29. Implications: CPDInternal:Pedagogy, Skills, Data, L&MExternal:Subject Associations, PTIEvents, Universities, Subject SpecificMaster‟s Courses
  30. 30. Powerful Knowledge“Only when the knowledge you possesstransforms the mediocre into the excellentcan what you know truly become bothpowerful and insightful” (Charles Swindoll)“Not knowledge of the powerful” (Young)
  31. 31. The „Knowledge Turn‟ in theNational Curriculum. Paul Cornish February 2012