September 20, 2010

Discover first-hand and shape the RSA Opening Minds Curriculum

We all want a curriculum that ensures the key skills for tomorrow's entrepreneurs and employment are taught and caught, but which empowers children to direct their own learning, don't we?

For the past year I've been part of the Steering Group for the RSA's (Royal Society of the Art, Manufactures and Commerce) Opening Minds Curriculum, a competence-based curriculum that is perhaps finding its moment as "organised education", whereby big institutions that do things for people, are being replaced by organisations that empower people to do great things for themselves:

Opening Minds aims to help schools to provide young people with the real world skills or competencies they need to thrive in the real world. It is a broad framework through which schools can deliver the content of a national curriculum in a creative and flexible way so that young people leave school able to thrive in and to shape the real world.

Opening Minds was developed by the RSA at the turn of the millennium in response to a belief that the way young students were being educated was becoming increasingly detached from their needs as citizens of the 21st century.

It is based on five sets of competencies, including Citizenship, Learning, Managing Information, Managing Situations and Relating to People.

What is the impact of Opening Minds?

Opening Minds is now being used in over 200 schools across the country and is growing rapidly. In 2008 the RSA opened the RSA Academy in Tipton which is the first school to be designed around the principles of Opening Minds.

You can get more information on the impact of the RSA Opening Minds Curriculum in this pdf.

One of the reasons I'm particularly fond of this curriculum is its genesis, summed up in the introductory conference video from a couple of years ago by RSA Chief Executive, Matthew Taylor, above, who points out that parents, politicians and even teachers seem to be under the impression that a "bad" school will always be a school for which improvement can never happen.

There has also been a near worldwide acceptance, with the occasional ignorant backlash as yet another test or stricture is thrown in by the politicians, that learning competences is arguably more important than learning 'stuff', and the RSA Opening Minds Curriculum is all about learning the stuff through these very competences that make professionally and personally successful individuals thrive.

Find out more and shape the Opening Minds Curriculum at our October 19 Conference at the new RSA Academy

To help teachers, head teachers and those managing curriculum better understand the small revolution that's been happening over the past few years with this way of working, the RSA Academy in Tipton, near Birmingham, UK, is hosting in its new building a one-day conference. It's a superb opportunity to experience, at first-hand, how Opening Minds works at the RSA Academy and gives you a chance to help shape Opening Minds as it moves forward into its next phase of assuring quality and useful assessment in a school-owned curriculum.

It could be a first step towards having the support and mentorship from successful partner schools in rethinking curriculum and learning across your whole school. This is not an event for an individual maverick to go off and innovate on their own. This is a whole-school innovation process.

The morning will be classroom based, working directly with our Opening Minds Team Leaders and students. The afternoon will focus on how the RSA and the RSA Academy are working together to move Opening Minds forward.

We will be launching the Opening Minds accreditation system and the Opening Minds Award at this conference.  These are initiatives which are vital to the future of Opening Minds and we hope you will want to be part of these exciting developments.

The event will be useful for schools already developing their Opening Minds practice; those considering Opening Minds as a curriculum framework;  together with those schools who have built up a number of years of Opening Minds experience.

If you would like to attend then register your interest in advance.

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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is a teacher, speaker and investor, regarded as one of Europe’s foremost experts in digital media for public services.

His company, NoTosh Limited, invests in tech startups and film on behalf of public and private investors, works with those companies to build their creative businesses, and takes the lessons learnt from the way these people work back into schools and universities across the world.

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