Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Connected Curriculum

Lester Flockton (
Ellerslie Convention Centre
Wednesday 3 June 2009

There is no holy grail.
The thicker the plan, the less it is likely to be a reality in practice.
The time taken for this is time taken from that.

Directions for Assessment in NZ (

Curriculum - a plan for learning? Lester believes it is what happens in classrooms. Everyone has their own interpretation of a curriculum. Documentation vs what is happening in the classrooms. Is there space for teachers to add their own flavour?

Educare Educarus - to educate to be educated

Four directions:
Rationalisation of learning outcomes
Agreed criteria for quality teaching
School ownership of its curriculum consistent with NZC obligations and opportunities
Strengthened engagement among those who share responsibility for the student's learning and achievement.

Moves beyond the so-called integrated curriculum. Brings together vision, values, learning areas, key competencies. Incorporates approaches such as enquiry learning.

Phaseology of NZC
Whole - intentions, directions, obligations
Parts - clarifications, explorations
Whole - rationalisation, alignment, design, implementation with illustrated metaphors


The 5th Discipline by Senge 1990
A learning organisation is an organisation
- where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire
- where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured
- where collective aspiration is set free
- where people are continually learning how to learn together

- expertise
- altruism
- autonomy

Learners need - interest, relevance, engagement

Two intentions
- Learning for Knowledge and Skills (learning areas) - substance
- Learning for Learning and Living (Key Competencies, Values) - process

Curriculum Time average
1.5 Literacy
1.0 Numeracy
2.0 Other (art, dance, drama, music, science, health, PE, social sciences, technology, languages)
0.5 Various

In other countries national standards tend to take over the curriculum. Literacy and numeracy become the "evil twins". A well rounded curriculum needs more than the 3Rs.

Dubious of Adrienne Alton-Lee's Best Evidence Synthesis.
Dubious of John Hattie's Visible Learning.
Research deals in probabilities not absolutes. We must all foster a healthy scepticism of absolutes. Research for improving teaching and learning is limited. It has a high level of abstraction.
Often data cannot be replicated (Nuthall, 2002) in subsequent studies.
The relationship of research to practice is not linear (Snook, 2001).

Stoll, Fink, Earl (2003) have a list of 10 characteristics.
Learning is change.

3 Conditions necessary for learning to have happened (Sadler, 2007)
- must be able to do something, on demand, that couldn't be done before
- must be able to do it independently of others
- must be able to do it well

Teachers Learning to Learn
Mary James & Robert McCormick (2009)

Improved learning and achievement requires:
- rich classroom dialogue and questioning to elicit student's understandings
- feedback that helps students know how to improve
- sharing learning objective, criteria and exemplars of what counts as quality learning
- peer and self-assessment

Some teachers feel more able to promote student autonomy in their classrooms.

When there is a difference between what a teacher says and what a teacher does possibly due to:
Pressures of curriculum coverage
PRessures of national testing
Pressures of a tick-box culture

Mechanistic and ritualistic use of WALTS and next steps can happen if teachers are not encouraged to think about the principles of learning that underpin them.

John Hattie - 30% of all learning is attributed to school, 70% to home and natural assets.

Some common tendences for differences in academic differences (Conroy, 2008):

- less time using tv and computers
- more time spent on reading with and to children
- greater emphasis on the life of the imagination
- closer relationships between teacher and student

Effective teachers have goals and ideals that go beyond raising test scores.

Technical - rational, managerial
Intuitive - expressive, creative

Learning intentions - walts - next steps - scaffolds - evidence - data - improvement

What about joy and passion?

Effective Pedagogy
Setion on pedagogy not mandated
- advice and guidance
- NZC provides one theory based on Alton-Lee's research

- multi-lingual - multiple and competing discourses.

Humourless people are dangerous!

Purpose and Direction
NZC document is the most liberal national curriculum document in the western world.
- rationalisation of LOs
- quality teaching
- school ownership
- community engagement

Curriculum Design and Review
- clarifications
- decisions
- explorations

Curriculum Fluency
Teachers need to see the big picture
- can we give a statement that encapsulates each learning area?

NZC principles are mandatory.

School, Community and NZC
Three levels of interaction:
- information (tell)
- consultation (ask)
- engagement (involve)

Lifelong learners necessary conditions:
- skills and dispositions (eg literacy)
- motivation
- opportunity

Enjoy the learning you are doing now!

Vision - think in terms of:
- learning to do
- learning to be
- learning to know
- learning to get along with others

Inspirational? Aspirational? Achievable?

Find out from the kids how they think the school is achieving their vision for students.

Successful organisations are led by a strong sense of vision.

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