Leading Curriculum Change Professor Mark Hadfield University of Wolverhampton Email firstname.lastname@example.org
From focus to action Purpose What are our purposes? What are we trying to achieve and sustain? Agency What kind of individual and collective agency needs to be developed and expended to fulfil our purposes? Process What processes are needed to develop and focus this agency? Structure What structures must be in place to underpin the implementation of these processes?
What knowledge do I need to select a ‘good’ curriculum focus? • Not just ‘what works’ • Need to know ‘why it works’ and ‘how to make it work’ • Through inquiry and research you can then find out if it works and how to make it work ‘with my pupils and staff in my school’
The Current Knowledge Base • What does research say about curricula that impact on pupils? (Why it works) • What emergent practices and new curricula are school leaders putting their efforts into? (How to make it work)
Map of Research Reviews (Bell et al 2008) • The synthesis draws together material from 64 research reviews. • Thirty-six of the reviews mapped the full studies which they reviewed and across these the total number of studies mapped was 5,488. • Two high-level categories of foci emerged – those focused on curriculum content and structure (9) and those focused on teaching and learning processes (28).
Perhaps the most striking feature of these reviews from the point of view of curriculum reformers was the consistency with which evidence from a range of different curriculum areas or from different reviewers in the same curriculum area and (in one case) the same review team approaching science research from three different angles - found common ground. We would conclude from this that the evidence base in these areas is relatively mature.
Cross-curricular pedagogies • the effectiveness of learning that is “context based” (dealing with ideas and phenomena in real or simulated practical situations) most notably in reviews of studies in science and maths; • the importance of connecting the curriculum with young people’s experiences of home and community and the related, but also distinctive theme of parental involvement in children’s learning in the home; • the impact on pupil motivation and learning of structured dialogue in group work and of collaborative learning; • the need to create opportunities to identify and build on pupils’ existing conceptual understandings – again, notably in science and maths. Several reviewers also found evidence of unexplored poor understanding or misunderstandings arising from “teaching to the test”; • the need to remove rigidity in the approach to the curriculum – to allow time and space for conceptual development, to encourage integration of cross-curricular learning; • the need for excellence and professional development in subject knowledge – without which teachers would be unable to seize opportunities for curriculum innovation, particularly in relation to context-based learning.
Subject/strategy specific findings Thinking Skills (TS) • TS interventions have the potential to enable students to achieve greater understanding, engagement and higher achievement. • Effective processes teachers can use to develop pupils’ learning abilities include: • structured tasks focusing on specific metacognitive strategies; • more explicit transactions between teacher and learner about purpose of lessons; • small group interventions promoting articulation of the strategies; • mechanisms to check mutual understanding of goals. • There is evidence of positive impact of TS on pupils’ attainment across a range of non-curriculum measures (e.g. reasoning, problem-solving.) Half of the studies [in the review] show immediate positive impact on learning on curricular measures of attainment; there is some evidence that there may be greater impact on low-attaining pupils, particularly when using metacognitive strategies. The role of the teacher is important in establishing collaborative group work, effective patterns of talk and in eliciting pupils’ responses.
What emergent practices and new curricula are school leaders putting their efforts into?
Learning Futures: Next Practice in Learning and teaching(Hadfield and Jopling, 2008) Four areas identified through horizon-scanning: • Relevance • Co-construction • In/out of school • Learner-teacher mix
Methodological framework Who, What, Where, When, Why? • Who leads the learners in their learning? • What the young people are engaged in, and directed towards, in their learning? • Where and when are young people involved in learning processes? • Why this approach was being adopted?
Example: Kunskapsskolan Schools (Sweden) Who leads the learners in their learning? Responsibility in the hands of the learner by removing classrooms and, within limits and in a highly sequenced curriculum, allowing learners to choose when, where, and what to participate in during the school day. What are the young people engaged in, and directed towards, in their learning? Learners plan their own days, recorded in logbooks, as they progress through a range of subject broken into a series of up to 35 steps and cross-curricular themes, which they might work on in groups. Where are young people involved in learning processes? Open plan, flexible accommodation without corridors and with multi-functional circulation areas, private study booths, tables for group work and tutorials, and social areas.
Kunskapsskolan When are young people involved in learning processes? School time but with blended learning Why has this approach been adopted? The school aims to equip each learner with the skills needed to be able to thrive in a future characterised by vast quantities of free-flowing information and a rapid rate of change
Engagement through Relevance Pedagogies which focus on relevance emphasise the learner’s own current interests and future aspirations. They create a sense of relevance for the learner by linking new learning, in terms of both focus and process, to the learner’s context. They therefore enable the learner to connect with real world learning experiences, opportunities and processes through enquiry, enterprise or learning by doing. In practice, these approaches are intended to make learning meaningful and authentic to the learner. Innovations where such pedagogies might be found include: • Enterprise and enquiry-led models • Partnerships and mentoring relationships with businesses • Simulations and virtual scenarios.
Levels of relevance • High The learning foci are real world topics and issues and adopt approaches to learning akin to those which would be used in such situations. This would include simulations and games-based approaches. • Medium Learners are presented with learning foci that they, or others, see as having real world relevance. They tend to learn about these areas using generic approaches, such as enquiry-based learning, that are not in themselves intended to give a ‘real world’ learning experience. • Low Learners are presented with adaptations of existing curricula which are brought up to date or made relevant by the inclusion of current topics and issues.
Relevance: Enterprise & enquiry led; learning through doing; thematic and project-rather than subject - driven In/Out of School Contexts: Informal /formal & virtual learning, personalised timetabling, business/community partnerships Borderless Learning Learning Futures driven by: Engagement & Integration New Relationships Learner-Teacher Mix: Peer tutors, teachers as learners, external experts, mentoring, coaching, learning communities Inclusive Delivery Model of next practice pedagogy Integration (of) Engagement (through) Democratic Curriculum Co-construction: Negotiation of curriculum - delivery modes, location, timetabling & content
Two tasks to structure your discussions • Backward mapping from an agreed curriculum focus • Profiling your actual and preferred curriculum focus
Backward mapping Improving AFL Post 16 AS Level Having a shared language: thinking skills Utilising thinking skills Transferring thinking skills Teachers: Use a common language that promotes thinking skills in their own AS subject as well asother subjects Students: Recognise that the same thinking skills are used in all AS subjects Teachers: Use a developed model to demonstrate how to develop thinking skills within own and other subjects Teachers: Have a clear understanding of the skills being taught in other subjects and how these linked to their own subject Students: Have a clear understanding of the skills used in subjects and be able to transfer the skills from one subject to another Students: Use a developed model to develop own thinking skills within AS subjects taught
Low Med High Actual v Ideal Engagement (through) Integration (of) Relevance: Enterprise & Enquiry led; learning through doing In/Out of School: Informal and social learning, virtual learning contexts Not Present Co-construction: Negotiation of curriculum - delivery modes, location, timetabling Learner-Teacher Mix: Peer tutors, teachers as learners, external experts Actual Ideal
Profiling your curriculum Strong links between in and out of school learning Highly Relevant Highly Co-constructed Learner teacher mix. Wide range of Learning Relationships Actual Ideal