The New Schools Curriculum   - 


    One of the most fundamental principles of teaching is what teachers believe they are taught is not necessarily what they believe they have taught. The fundamental principles of curriculum development theory that it is a continuing reappraisal and improvement. The National curriculum created a flat in the tyre of the curriculum development cycle, because the curriculum content, what legal had to be taught was fixed in time.

      Dylan Wiliam, a recognised world authority on education, has advocated that a bottom curriculum needs to be created by schools. They are being created in Wales, England and Scotland.  The recent Times Educational Supplement review of curriculum theory has illustrated that the issue is extremely complex. There are no simple answers to what is an ideal curriculum.

     Research clearly suggests that working memory capacity, which is fixed, has a very strong influence on children's attainment in the basic skills. Garthcole et al. in the Cambridge Institute of the Brain has has contended that there are so many cocktail of genes in the brain that the influence working memory capacity that it unlikely there will ever be a means of generally improving it.

      The fact that children pass summative assessments does not necessarily mean that they possess the capability the assessment pass implies. Most of what children revise for their examinations will not be retained on a longer term learning basis. There is evidence that children with higher working memory, who will be generally be more intelligence, will tend to be more literate and they will be able to revise more effectively for them.

       The harsh reality is that learning will always be more difficult for certain children to achieve that others. This will be dictated by working memory and other factors. We cannot no longer view children, who are doing their best, and reaching their learning potential as failures.  

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       The problem with all change is that is that it is a journey into your unknown. There is the risk that the new curriculums can become a window dressing exercise with appealing new terms being used. The knowledge based curriculum may sound impressive, for instance, but what is less clear is what it really means.