It’s All Curricular

I get apprehensive whenever I hear educators referring to anything to do with the ‘Arts’ as co-curricular, representing a need they feel to separate it from what they perceive the be curricular, namely all things which are purely and inherently academic. Apart from anything else, such ideas have their genesis in an unhealthy focus on only the bottom level(s) of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning – the obsession with the accumulation of “stuff”/ knowledge as the be all and end all of learning and the primary purpose of school.

I therefore found this article very refreshing, as it explores concrete ways in which arts and academic learning can be interwoven in a cross-curricular approach, tailored to the age and learning level of the pupils in ways which are deeply meaningful and can lead to very high quality learning:

ASCD Article

When we read a piece like this and contrast it to the blog posting I did earlier this week about the extent to which lessons in UK schools are ‘dull and boring’ we realize the gulf between good quality education and the average. I remain a firm believer that the most significant differences are related to teacher motivation and there are a number of causes behind lower levels of motivation. These include;

  1. quality of leadership,
  2. the ‘tussle’ between teachers’ innate conservatism and resistance to change and society’s pressures to see education change to reflect a changed world,
  3. the reasons why people choose the profession, and
  4. how teachers are prepared for their roles, both pre- and in-service.
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