As part of my contribution to the ADES network for A Curriculum for Excellence I have been working with some colleagues to begin to explore a possible a rationale for its implementation across Scotland.
Perhaps any such rationale needs to takes its lead from the new HMIe inspection regime, which could be described as a heroic leap into a new world of dialogue, professional trust and engagement?
In such a world the starting point for professional development and curricular development needs to reorient itself from assumptions where it is implicit that teachers are resistant to change, need to be “fixed” and are essentially passive receivers of information.
My colleagues today were adamant that if we are to match the aspirations of ACfE then a similar transformation, as that demonstrated by HMIe, needs to take place in how we conceptualise the development of teachers’ professional craft and associated curricular content. The following rationale begins to set out some possible building blocks for such a transformation:
Outcome: Our implementation strategy will result in an improvement in the educational progression of Scottish children and young people.
In other words ACfE and associated Continuous Professional Development will not be effective unless the above outcome can be demonstrated. All too often in the past huge investments in curricular and professional development have not led to any positive impact on the lives of children.
The implementation of A Curriculum for Excellence will be based upon the following assumptions:
- Teachers are professionals who want to make a positive difference to children’s lives;
- Where teachers are empowered to work together they can create outstanding learning environments for children and young people;
- Teachers have an intellectual commitment to developing knowledge about their craft;
- Teachers naturally want to talk and learn from each other about their practice;
- Teachers want to engage in dialogue about their own educational practice with a view to improving their craft.
- The school is a key unit of curricular creation and professional development.
- School leaders can create environments where teachers want to learn.
- Teams of teachers working collectively towards a common purpose can have a more positive impact upon practice than any other strategy.
- Parents relate best to their local school and communication about ACfE should come through that route.
Where the curriculum is co-created between
- Scottish Teachers are amongst the world’s most highly qualified professionals and already have sophisticated skills sets and related knowledge.
- There is a place for directed learning but it will not be the dominant continuous professional development strategy.
- Teachers learn best when they are enabled to network and share ideas and resources with colleagues.
More to follow……………………