I saw this the other day and can only surmise that the individual concerned was quite happy with ‘5-to-14’. When I was in industry if something was not Fit-For-Purpose it was changed or discarded and ‘5-to-14’ was not Fit-For-Purpose, it was decades old, a 20th Century concept being clung to by 20th Century teachers. I remember being given a piece of ‘advice’ by one such individual “…you tell them (pupils) what they need to know, they write it down …that’s it”.
Whether we like it or not CfE is here to stay. It’s really not that new or radical, John Dewey wrote a similar curricular review at the turn of the 20th Century. But for us it is the foundation on which we are to build a 21st Century education in Scotland. From what I can see (and read) CfE is an initiative to improve education from a pedagogical and professionalization viewpoint. There are many facets to it, but ultimately it comes down to making education child centred.What strikes me is that it’s not about resources or budget, nor is it about what we teach, but about an educational philosophy – a new paradigm, a new way of thinking about how we educate our young. I say “new”, but judging from some famous educational quotes maybe it should be “rediscovered”:
“I cannot teach anybody anything; I can only make them think.” – Socrates.
“You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself” –Galileo.
Finally, “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire” – William Butler Yeats.
So much for the advice given earlier!
So what is the problem? Within the text of parts 1 & 2 of the Journey to Excellence the narrative states for teachers that, “…each should contribute to the highest quality outcomes for all learners… It is up to you to decide which ones you focus on and in what order.” (HMIe, 2006: 21). This last sentence appears to be handing “professional” responsibility to the educationalists and appears to be veering away from the past’s oversubscribed methods emanating from government. Could this be what scares them?
The expressed intention of CfE, as stated in building the curriculum 3 (2008), is to “…avoid driving young people through the levels as fast as possible…is intended to give teachers and other staff the flexibility and scope to follow issues through…” (CfE, 2008: 5). Here the professionalism of the teacher is being recognised, giving a legitimate mandate to transform the educational experience of the pupils and change our teaching to enable the pupils to construct their own learning. Surely no professional would argue against this? Would they?
The documentation goes on to encourage us to be creative in planning pupils’ learning, providing activities that will take our pupils to the next level or “ZPD”. To facilitate this we will have to engage them in self and peer-assessment to enable them to identify “next steps”. For good teachers there’s nothing very radical here, just a mandate to lighting a fire (metaphorically) that will hopefully burst into an inferno of enthusiasm for education.
So, to answer my question – there is no problem. Maybe its best that the individual anonymously mentioned at the start has retired, now perhaps we can “rediscover” the truths of Socrates’ and Galileo’s observations and follow Butler Yeats and light some fires.