May 30, 2008

Don't let the Empire strike back on our curriculum


"In the end, the debates about structures and tests are a sideshow. The challenge is to enable young people to develop the characteristics, motivation and attitudes necessary to support lifelong learning. Those who succeed in the labour market of the future will be those with a self-development mindset and character. Three attributes are critical: autonomy, open-mindedness and application."

Richard Reeves sums up exactly the biggest challenge for the teaching profession in Scotland as they grapple with the Curriculum for Excellence. It's not going to be detailed guidelines, ready-made microwaveable lessons plans or death-by-exemplar that's going to make the curriculum become a reality and Scotland a lifelong learning nation, whatever the Scotsman says. It's going to be the teachers' ability, as well as the students', to be autonomous, open-minded and able to apply the abstract in the concrete world of learning. This is a case of removing a few walls in order to let in more light.

The future of learning will probably have less and less to do with being taught.


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Its a "wetware" problem - thinking outside the discourse of 20th Century paradigms - it's a paradigm change and people either just can't "get it" or feel very uncomfortable.

The new paradigm is all about uncertainty and soft issues - being able to learn.

The many complaints about lack of resources is telling.

20th century "industrial" education is built around resources - install e-boards and IT suites everywhere - education sorted - we can count the IT suites and theor rows of computers.

21st century methods are smarter - they don't require the large scale resources of old but smaller more discrete and less obvious resourcing. In a sense it's about "naked education".

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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

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Module Masterclass

School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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