Curriculum, concepts and competencies- connect the dots!

Mark Treadwell (Whatever next? marktreadwell.com ) NZ educator, consultant, researcher, keynote speaker, businessman and author, has been working with a group of educators from Catholic Education SA on leading our schools (baby steps) toward whole school change. In workshops over the past two days we have been looking at the concepts and competencies that students and teachers need to engage in quality learning and how we can map these to the Australian Curriculum. Some great readings on Mark’s website, and if you are really interested in Concept Based Curriculum, instruction and learning, Lynn Erickson has some fantastic, teacher friendly books.

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We have been challenged to take a closer look at the General Capabilities within the Australian Curriculum, link these to the competencies and concepts we have looked at in Mark’s valuable work (Whatever school 2.0, Whatever next- The Concept Curriculum, and Whatever were we thinking?) over the past 18 months , and try to implement 1 or 2 of these into our practice.

The participants in these workshops, and indeed the project itself, are at various stages in their journey of change. The value has really been that we have all been challenged to think, reflect and share our understandings, highlight our confusion and concerns, and move forward in a safe and professional learning environment. We have also been given the precious luxury of time to be able to do this. Perhaps we need to give our students that same ‘luxury’.

We ask our students to be critical thinkers, reflective learners, learn from failure, be innovators, be creators, be self directed life long learners; but when do we give them the skills or opportunities to practise and utilise these skills?  We need to stop feeding them a curriculum that lets them robotically  move through a series of topics and subjects that simply requires them to fill out a bi annual standardised test of multiple choice questions and de contextualised texts that supposedly is the true measure of a student’s (and school’s)success. Perhaps it is time that we expected, advocated, and provided an education system that values more than ‘I choose C’.

What are your thoughts?

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