Curriculum, corsets and a vintage education

Is it just me or does anyone else think that we have a bit of a vintage approach to our kids learning?

Have you read recently what they’re doing to curriculum now? Read it here.

We stopped using slates in schools for the kids to chalk on, graduated from pen and inkwell to Gels, but some still think it’s more important that kids can write than use a keyboard, when almost everything they do in life beyond school requires keyboard skills.

We might have stopped using an abacus yet we’re still teaching the laborious and lengthy approach to long multiplication by hand and now fractions to four year olds, according to the new curriculum plans, when in employment we need to be able to use all kinds of electronic devices to do quick calculations. And out in the real world we need to know how to handle our mortgages, understand percentages, phone contracts and loan repayments. Far more important than algebra or fractions, unless you’re specifically heading in a direction that requires that sort of maths.

The curriculum also suggests teaching all kinds of ridiculous English grammar which is as useful to kids as corsets, yet we have children who cannot string a sentence together for an application or a personal statement. Or talk to one another without “yea but…no but…yea but…like…” in the style of a certain caricature we all know and love – but laugh at!

We are coaching kids in test passing skills but they don’t seem to have the skills of conversation, opinion, deliberation, personal presentation and assertiveness needed for interviews and in the workplace. Neither do many seem able to form judgements about what’s appropriate, be adaptable and flexible within an ever changing working and living climate.

They have the skills required to survive in a school culture where everyone in their group’s the same age as them and has the same underdeveloped social skills, but seem to have no idea how to interact with adults on a professional and personal level with the confidence required to be outside their own age group. Like in work.

What use is this?

I’m not saying we shouldn’t be able to write longhand or understand the concept and application of number or use language effectively. But you can use language and maths effectively without knowing grammatical rules and all that other outdated rubbish which is putting kids off because of its irrelevance.

We need to face it – life is progressing! Schooling and curriculum seem stuck in those antiquated corsets.

We don’t need a curriculum that delivers this kind of stuff any more. We need an educative experience that develops skills and understanding, increases a broader intelligence and confidence and sense of self discovery.

We don’t need a style of learning that so suppresses our kids they never get the chance to develop the ability to think personally, to grow as a person and find their real strengths. We need an approach that allows kids opportunities to make decisions, blossom and develop character and individuality. Individuality will win jobs over others who are all the same. Strength of character will find other forms of purposeful work when jobs are scarce.

We need a learning environment, not a curricula imprisonment. We need an educative process which reignites children’s natural passion for learning, experimenting and discovery rather than kills it with rules. We need kids to practise talking and questioning not be told to shut up and sit still. We need teachers who are free from the rack of Ofsted to inspire kids to want to know more and go further, not train them to stay in the education-numbing confines of curricula outcomes.

We need to move on.

Vintage may be fashionable in some walks of life. But surely this vintage style curriculum is suffocating our children’s potential for progression into this progressive world.

(If you want more on curriculum check out another post I did on the Tutorhub blog; http://blog.tutorhub.com/2013/07/09/another-view-of-curriculum-do-we-need-it-anyway/)

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4 thoughts on “Curriculum, corsets and a vintage education

  1. Thanks Ross, I enjoyed this – we stepped out of school because of a Feeling that it wasn’t right for us, I absolutely love reading just some of the many Rational reasons why we got that feeling (if you see what I mean!!!) A

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