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Network of School Planners Conference Curriculum Planning . John Hammond, Deputy Chief Executive, NCCA. Structure of presentation: elements of Curriculum Planning. Initiation and scoping External context Organisational context Curriculum review/planning Making changes
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Network of School Planners Conference Curriculum Planning John Hammond, Deputy Chief Executive, NCCA
Structure of presentation: elements of Curriculum Planning • Initiation and scoping • External context • Organisational context • Curriculum review/planning • Making changes • Evaluation of change Collaboration and consultation at all stages
ESRI Research: A good teacher is someone… • Who explains things well and encourages questions • Who enjoys teaching • Who likes their subject • Who relates the subject to life • Who you can talk to • Who has a good sense of humour and ‘doesn’t give out all the time
ESRI Research: Good learning happens when… • It’s clear what you’re supposed to be learning • You’re having fun • When it’s being done in different ways, through different activities • When the subject is practical (or the teaching methods are practical) • When the pace is right – not too much expected, not too little
ESRI Research: Learning It’s hard to concentrate because all we do is read from the book…there’s no fun stuff…. If the class is boring you just cannot concentrate, even how much you want to take it in and everything, I think if it’s boring it just won’t stay in your head, you just want the class to end.
ESRI Research: Alarm bells… • Transition remains very difficult for some students • Students ‘engage’ with or ‘disengage’ from learning in second year • Negative effects of streaming intensify year to year • The Junior Certificate can feature too large in the educational experience • Subjects students enjoy most they have least access to • Suitability of curriculum for a minority is questioned • Gender and social class differences emerge along predicable lines
ESRI Research: Streaming, class allocation, subject levels, underperformance I have to say I think this was the stupidest thing they could ever have done, was to decide before you even come into the school. I cam into the school and I know I wasn’t brilliant at Irish but I wasn’t terrible and I was put in one of the low pass classes. And I was sitting there and everybody was learning cad is ainm duit and I’m like oh my god this is stupid…and now…like I’m like…sort of not learning it or something. They are clever and we are dumb
ESRI Research: Good news for schools… • Schools do make curriculum choices • Positive interactions and informal school atmosphere really do count! • School policy in areas of curriculum planning can have a real effect
Key questions for NCCA… • Effectiveness of rebalancing JC syllabuses? • Should the number of (core) subjects be specified? • Should the number of exam subjects be limited? • Should more concrete advice be generated on suggested programmes of study? More autonomy for schools? • How best to support mixed-ability settings and differentiated teaching and learning? • Introduce a wider range of possibilities in summative assessment? • Review and revise least popular courses – Maths and Gaeilge
Key questions for schools… Whether to/how to • encourage within-class differentiation over streaming? • control the impact of the exam on student engagement and teaching methods? • provide more access to practical subjects and adopt the pedagogy in other subjects? • promote access to higher level subjects? • promote a positive social and extra-curricular climate?
Planning: Internal school factors • School tradition • School culture • Staffing • Facilities • Resources • Views of Board of Management and Trustees • Relationship with other schools • Potential for outreach
Planning: Organisational context • The inclusive school • International learners • Special educational needs • Educational disadvantage • Changing lives of students / student behaviour • Schools as changing organisations • Developments in curriculum and assessment • Responding to research findings
Planning: External context • The speed of globalisation and its twin demands – ‘difference’ and ‘complexity’ • Individualisation and education – the individual or the common good? • Marketisation of education • Inequality and the lack of a strong commitment to addressing it • Accountability, responding to ‘imperatives’ • Challenges facing children and young people From NCCA Strategic Plan 2006-2008
Planning: Initiation and scoping • Why is planning being initiated? • What is the essential purpose of the planning? • Aligning planning with key contexts • What scale and quality of review/planning is envisaged? • What are the intended outcomes? • What timescale and costs are involved?
Some thoughts on curriculum • Curriculum is not ‘neutral’ • It is a social, cultural and political construction • It is usually - and should be - contested • Direct influence of the NCCA is on the curriculum as envisaged • Direct influence of schools/teachers on the curriculum as realised • Curriculum – the full range of learning experiences the learner encounters
Resources NCCA Website - www.ncca.ie School Development Planning: Curriculum Review at Junior Cycle ESRI Research – 3 NCCA summaries/commentaries firstname.lastname@example.org