Global learning in primary schools Feature Article
What groups have told us about the challenges for global learning in the context of the Primary Curriculum Review.
Sharing ideas and experience will be crucial. Curriculum innovation has already been going on in many schools, and the new curriculum model is not very different from how some schools are organising learning. Indeed, there is a possibility that in some instances it will be ‘business as usual’.
The proposed reduced content coverage and increased flexibility may allow teachers to do fewer things more effectively or ‘do less, better.’ It will help us offer real contexts for literacy and numeracy. There is a concern that the ongoing drive for literacy and numeracy standards, including SATS testing, is likely to inhibit a creative and connected approach.
Where is global learning best placed within a new curriculum? At heart, it is an essential context for personalised learning. However, if it is only specified in the core aims, it may mean that it gets overlooked. It should therefore be clearly present within each area of learning. The greatest risk is that it ends up being overly linked to only one area of learning [eg human, social and environmental understanding] … or that it is not made explicit at all.
It is not realistic to discuss substantive reaction or even potential reaction until the full document can be reviewed. However, it seems to us that If the assessment issue [SATS] is simply ignored, the rest of the Review will be deeply flawed.
The Review will also need to clearly address and enhance work relating to the Every Child Matters outcomes. This agenda continues to have an important place in its own right.
If there is an emphasis on curriculum refreshment being an on-going process this should be welcomed. But there should be questions about whether realistic thought is been given to what this means in terms of the demands of this process and the need for time/resources to be allocated to that as part of the core school dynamic.
There should be clear curriculum creativity strategies and resources to support them. There is scope for organisations like Tide~ to offer more in facilitating creative work and building confidence in team collective planning.
Where do heads and leaders get their support? There is a need for passion among school leaders about these issues: if heads are not supportive, then those teachers doing this work can be very isolated. However, many heads do drive these things forward and inspire teachers to take on roles.
If the Review legitimises the need to address issues relating to the broad global learning agenda, this will help those teachers who currently feel isolated in addressing them.
How can we help build on what schools are already doing about working in new ways? We would like to highlight the importance of space – for consultation, and for teachers to come together to explore the implications of new curriculum thinking and how they might be creative about it.
There may be scope to build on the idea of “compelling learning experiences” … what contribution can global learning make? What might it mean to bring a number of compelling learning experiences together over a period of time? How can they generate excitement about learning … and the issues?
Can we map global learning against the areas of learning? If we did this from the outset, would it help in how schools perceive them? What does global learning offer each area, including the core? What does each area, including the core, offer to global learning? What does it mean for the curriculum aims? Could we take this further and map against two yearly planning slots?
We ought to revisit some arguments about essential learning. Where do these arguments fit into new curriculum thinking? Where are these things which we think are important and value [eg a discussion about attitudes, values, dispositions]?
A greater emphasis on pedagogy in the new curriculum may provide opportunities. We could be collecting examples and re-presenting them in the context of the new curriculum proposals. What is already there? How can it help in building a curriculum that goes beyond content?