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.