This is a joint post- much of the thinking was done between @Oliverquinlan and I during the most productive time of the day, when everyone else has left the office and we can debate ideas loudly.
It is my suggestion that the National Curriculum has failed and the disciplines need to be sold better to the profession. It was Oliver’s suggestion that the National Curriculum was a perfectly sensible articulation of the disciplines. So we bickered a while and then OQ reached into his mind (a macbook pro 13″ pimped with a solid state hard drive) and pulled out the National Curriculum document. And damn me, he’s right. But as luck would have it so was I.
Allow me to explain: Quinlan is always right. I forgive him for this every day and have come to accept it.
Here’s why I am right:
Let me summarise the National Curriculum document for you – all 192 pages of it.
- Page 1 – 40 blah blah blah
- Page 40 -43 Picture & English blah blah
- Page 44 – 59 – What I need to do in English, but only the key stage relevant to me
- Page 59 – 61 – Pictures & Maths blah blah
- Page 62 – 75 – What I need to do in Maths, but only the key stage relevant to me.
And so it goes on – and herein lies the problem. The National Curriculum 2000 is an appallingly designed document. Its size encourages a reductionist attitude…..”where is the bit i need to know”
There is a beautiful and clear articulation of each of the disciplines in the National Curriculum, but it is hidden in plain sight.
These little dense paragraphs are the WHY its whats missing from a curriculum of WHAT.
Here is my summary of the WHY of each subject, the summary of the discipline, the reason for studying and mastering the discipline.
Being a Wordsmith (English)
Wordsmiths use English way of communicating in public life and internationally. Wordsmiths are influenced by Literature, reflecting the experience of people from many countries and times. Wordsmiths are skilled in speaking, listening, reading and writing. They express themselves creatively and imaginatively and communicate with others effectively. Wordsmiths understand how language works by looking at its patterns, structures and origins. Using this knowledge wordsmiths choose and adapt what they say and write in different situations.
Being a Mathematician
Mathematicians have a uniquely powerful set of tools to understand and change the world. These tools include logical reasoning, problem-solving skills, and the ability to think in abstract ways. Mathematicians are needed in science and technology, medicine, the economy, the environment and development, and in public decision-making. Different cultures have contributed to the development and application of mathematics. Today, mathematicians transcend cultural boundaries. Mathematicians are creative they achieve moments of pleasure and wonder when they solve a problem for the first time, discover a more elegant solution to that problem, or suddenly see hidden connections.
Being a Scientist
Scientists have insatiable curiosity about phenomena and events in the world around them. A scientist’s discipline is about developing and evaluating explanations through experimental evidence and modelling. This is a spur to critical and creative thought. Major scientific ideas contribute to technological change – impacting on industry, business and medicine and improving quality of life.
Being a Designer
Designers are create and develop rapidly changing technologies. They learn to think and intervene creatively to improve quality of life. Designers are autonomous and creative problem solvers, as individuals and members of a team. They look for needs, wants and opportunities and respond to them by developing a range of ideas and making products and systems. They combine practical skills with an understanding of aesthetics, social and environmental issues, function and industrial practices.
Being a Information Technologist
Technologists participate in a rapidly changing world. Technologists find, explore, analyse, exchange and present information responsibly, creatively and with discrimination. They enable rapid access to ideas and experiences from a wide range of people, communities and cultures. Technologists have initiative and independence, they self teach and are able to make informed judgements about what tool is best and are strategic enough to think through the future consequences of their products.
Being an Historian
Historians seek to understand how the past influences the present, what past societies were like, how these societies organised their politics, and what beliefs and cultures influenced people’s actions. Historians see the diversity of human experience, and understand more about themselves as individuals and members of society. They find evidence, weigh it up and reach their own conclusions through research, sifting through evidence, and arguing for their point of view.
Being a Geographer
Geographers find answers to questions about the natural and human worlds, using different scales of enquiry to view them from different perspectives. They have knowledge of places and environments throughout the world, an understanding of maps, and a range of investigative and problem-solving skills. Geographers seek to understand and resolve issues about the environment and sustainable development. They explore how nations rely on each other.
Being an Artist
Artists work with visual, tactile and sensory experiences to express their unique way of understanding and responding to the world.
They use colour, form, texture, pattern and different materials and processes to communicate what they see, feel and think. They make aesthetic and practical decisions ad are actively involved in shaping environments. They understand and value the ideas and meanings in the work of artists, craftspeople and designers. They are masters of their craft.
Being a Musician
Music is a powerful, unique form of communication that can change the way pupils feel, think and act. It brings together intellect and feeling and enables personal expression, reflection and emotional development. As an integral part of culture, past and present, it helps pupils understand themselves and relate to others, forging important links between the home, school and the wider world. The teaching of music develops pupils’ ability to listen and appreciate a wide variety of music and to make judgements about musical quality. It encourages active involvement in different forms of amateur music making, both individual and communal, developing a sense of group identity and togetherness. It also increases self-discipline and creativity, aesthetic sensitivity and fulfilment.
Being an Athlete
Athletes have physical competence and confidence, they are physically skillful and a have a deep knowledge of their body in action. Athletes are competitive and to face up to different challenges as individuals and in groups and teams. They have a healthy lifestyle. Athletes plan, perform and evaluate actions, ideas and performances to improve their quality and effectiveness. Athletes are perfectionists.
Being a citizen
Citizens contribute fully to the life of their communities. They recognise their own worth, work well with others and are responsible for themselves. Citizens know about the political and social institutions that affect their lives and about their responsibilities, rights and duties as individuals and members of communities. They understand and respect our common humanity, diversity and differences and form the effective, fulfilling relationships that are an essential part of life.
Having a Foreign Language
Having a Foreign Language develops linguistic competence, extends knowledge of how language works and explores differences and similarities between the foreign language and English. Learning another language raises awareness of the multi- lingual and multi-cultural world and introduces an international dimension to pupils’ learning, giving them an insight into their own culture and those of others.
This is the hidden curriculum: