I made a short presentation on "Aims and the Curriculum" at the recent South West Learning for Sustainability Coalition seminar which focused on forthcoming changes to national and school curriculums. The meeting looked in particular at the recent expert panel report and drew on the recent SEEd / SA consultation on all this.
Here are my main points:
Deciding what to teach implies choosing – but who is to choose, and how, and what is to guide choice?
Curriculum is concerned with how we think about the social purposes of education, and always involves a selecting from culture (Lawton) – and hence is political, contested and labile
Methodology is to method as curriculum is to what is taught– a conceptual frame that guides (and restricts) choice
High-level aim statements can provide such a conceptual frame – and the 5 aims set out by the expert panel are examples of this
Having aims such as the expert panel's 5th one: to promote understanding of sustainability in the stewardship of resources locally, nationally and globally
... confers three possible benefits:
- for those who are already convinced, they serve as extra validation;
- for the uncertain, they provide permission; and
- for the unaware, they are an alert
It remains to be seen what Mr Gove and his advisors make of all this. Decisions shortly, it seems.