How do we plan with Curriculum for Excellence?

Many teachers and other practitioners involved in the education of young people in Scotland are currently giving a lot of thought to how best to plan their lessons. It is important to stress that Curriculum for Excellence does not intend to dramatically increase the volume or complexity of planning learning. As can be seen from the ‘Wordle’ of Building the Curriculum 3 above, the focus of the curriculum is on young people’s learning.

Although there is no set planning format as such associated with Curriculum for Excellence, there are a number of principles which one would expect to see applied in classrooms and should therefore be evident in the planning.

The questions you could therefore ask of your current approach to planning learning and teaching include:

  • Which specific experiences and outcomes, or parts of experiences and outcomes, will the young people be learning? These could be bundles of curricular and literacy, numeracy and/or health & wellbeing.
  • What content will be learnt?
  • What skills will be developed?
  • How will you and the young people know what that they have learned and how well they have learned it?
  • What opportunities are there for interdisciplinary learning?
  • What is the relevance? How does this relate to life?
  • What opportunities will the young people have in shaping what they learn, how they learn and how they will be assessed?

Much of this is not new. However, some of this is not common practice. The final bullet point in particular may pose a particular challenge to some practitioners. Curriculum for Excellence places a strong emphasis on the need for young people to play a greater role in their own learning. A quote from the recent Summary of Building the Curriculum 5 makes this point strongly [emphasis added]:

“At its most basic, learner engagement requires teachers to share learning intentions and indicate what would constitute good measures of success. Learners also need to receive early and accurate feedback and should be given the opportunity to discuss the teacher’s assessments and their implications for future progress.

However, learner engagement should move beyond these basic requirements. Sound approaches to assessment will help learners to demonstrate what they can do. Therefore, it is appropriate to involve them in choosing and developing assessment approaches and in selecting and summarising the evidence that emerges.

So perhaps it is worth considering the extent to which your current planning allows for genuine pupil involvement in the processes of learning, teaching and assessment and when they make the learning relevant to their lives.

You can download this post as a word document by clicking here.