In recent months there has been a lot of concern and ambiguity over the current educational context, particularly in England. The introduction of free schools, academies and abolishment of BECTA have caused debate within the educational sector. We no longer have a new primary curriculum and the Primary National Strategies are practically no longer acknowledged. We are currently in a state of flux in education, of which I have had moments of concern and apprehension.

From a different perspective the current situation could be seen as a stage of excitement and innovation. While there are many inspiring teachers across the globe really pushing the boundaries on how they organise learning in (and out) of their classrooms it is now easier than ever for every teacher to do so. We are no longer tied to the national strategies and are being told to follow the guidance in the National Curriculum. While the statutory curriculum does have many flaws, the objectives can be interpreted in a very liberal way and allow for the development of many cross-curricular and projects that promote creative learning, collaboration and innovation. Set units of work are no more and the freedom to develop open-ended cross-curricular learning opportunities are now easier (and justifiable) as ever. That is, if we choose to. Over recent years I have felt that I have had to justify such projects and their educational worth – although this is always evident throughout the projects. Hopefully, this will no longer be the case.

Of course, researchers such as Crawford (2004) have highlighed that some teachers can become highly reliant on packaged curricular and that the technical control encoded within such curricula can de-skill teachers and result in changes in the way they interpret, plan and ‘deliver’ lessons. I hope that as educators, we embrace the current educational context with a renewed focus on classroom innovation. After all, it’s the choices that we make in the classroom which affects the futures of the children that we teach. There are no longer suggested pre-defined ways that requires us to teach in a certain way or indeed interpret curricula. We cannot change the past, but we can make a difference for the future with the decisions and choices that we make today. Hence, there is no fate, but what we make.

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2 thoughts on “No fate but what we make…

  • August 16, 2010 at 2:53 pm
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    As a primary teacher I have never felt as excited about the planning possibilities that are in front of us this year compared with the tightly controlled National Strategies. For one year at least we are in a fantastic position to be as creative with the curriculum as we deem fit for our classes and schools. This is a wonderful opportunity for teachers to grab those objectives and unleash their imaginations upon them. In really looking forward to planning this year!

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    • August 16, 2010 at 2:45 pm
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      Although I have been very liberal in my interpretation and implementation of the National Strategies I am excited about what can be done this year. I think we can learn a lot from the way the Foundation Stage integrate their areas of learning into the school day. As a Y2 teacher I have tried to organise our curriculum in such a way but tightly focused success criteria and assessment practices have always been at the back of my mind. Hopefully this year will lead to more creative, collaborative and context-driven learning which will really engage learners (and teachers).

      Who knows what the future brings but if we can show the government what can be done with more time and freedom to innovate then maybe they will listen?

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