Monday, November 07, 2005

More of the same but less

 The New Zealand Curriculum is being revised but who will really care - or understand it all?

We are losing an opportunity to develop a true 21st Century Curriculum.

The 1990s NZCF curriculum is not working now and, while primary schools are getting on with their own creative ideas, the technocrats in Wellington just won't admit to a wrong model.

Worldwide these imposed hyper rational standardized curriculums are failing and, bar for the technocrats, we might have had a chance to develop a real futures curriculum!

If you have a chance take quick read of the October 2005 Ministry of Education’s ‘Setting Directions for Learning’.

The words that come to mind are timid fine tuning. But then why would you expect from contractual workers doing their best to tart up a model that was never any good in the first place.

Clarifying and refining are the words they use. Trying to save their buts come to my mind! Sure they suggest focusing on ‘effective teaching’ and focusing on ‘school ownership of curriculum’ but for God’s sake why has it taken them so long to state the obvious.

For all that the document says little about either.

At least we will get a single document which should be easier to lose! 15000 students, academics, teachers, principals, advisers and academics have contributed to the ‘refocusing’. All I can say is there is consultation and there is listening.

We are going to have researched (cosmetic) alteration of the strands and a reduction of the learning objectives – now that must have taken some real thinking!

But for all that the model stays in place to confuse teachers. School based technocratic managers will have their time extended. It will be more 'rule by clearfolders and graphs'! Real creative leaders/teachers need to have their say.

Do principals believe in all this rubbish?

What about these ‘school based curriculums’ – are they to be the Henry Ford equivalent of, ‘you can any colour you like as long as it is black?’

And what of the Queensland ‘Rich Topics’ idea – this is an idea that resonated with creative schools? And what of the push towards personalized learning and talent development – how is this to be reconciled with the refocused draft?

Their next issue will be an update on values and their highly unoriginal ‘key competencies’

I can hardly wait

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Anonymous said...

Yes, sounds like more of the 'too much of nothing' syndrome. Time for some original thinking and appreciation of what education and learning is all about-the voice of learners! Not teams of consultants, strands and objectives, or pawns contracted in ministry games.

Bruce said...

I didn't agree with the National Party but I did agree with their intention to clean out all the 'no it alls' at the Ministry who suck off 'our' money perpetrating their own jobs and implying their vital importance in the process. Such 'elites' are dangerous in a democracy.

Anonymous said...

You didn't think the Ministry would really do some revolutionary thinking did you?

Bruce said...

I live in hope - failure is endemic in our current school system. We need new ideas from somewhere.The troops in the field are to exhausted to lead the charge; too busy coping with all they are being complied to do!

Anonymous said...

The illustration is a good example of rationalism gone mad! A good metaphor for our current curriculum statements - they look like sense until you try to implement them! Then you realize they are impossible

Bruce said...

I have always admired Escher because he really plays with your perception - as a good teacher should. And it is a great mix of art and logic/maths/science.

Anonymous said...

Simplicity creates focus - complexity confusion ( de Bono) .The Ministry is slowly realizing this.

As it turns out with 'their' curriculum revision project, to slowly.To little to late.