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Binge Thinking!

September 20, 2007

Is irresistible learning the holy grail of Education? Mick Waters is the man trying to make it so in England…

How does the map know where we are? On a children’s trip, the child who asked that question unknowingly illuminated one of the key problems that educators have faced. Educator’s have been following someone else’s map, and just maybe the map needs to know where we are.

We have to develop the curriculum as we move forward:

A pupil example:
I’ve been sitting and wondering what the future will be like.
It took me quite a long while.
When I finished I realised a lot of the future was gone.
So a lot of the future is in the past.

Mick Waters FutureWe need to see the way that the world is changing and be ready to react to it. Everyone is aware of the changes in the physical world, but the web changes everything… The notion of authority is being, not undermined, but changed. Our changing world is as David Weinberger says, miscellaneous.

We are trying to work a curriculum for ‘all children’ when the diversity of children means there is no such thing as ‘all children’. This means listening to children. When we have pupils sitting side by side who have such disparate experiences (see photos)

Is extra-curricular really extra-curricular?

If we take time to consider it, many of the skills seen as being desirable by employers are the skills that are really developed outside the artificial place we call the classroom.

The current timetable probably involves about an hour of dressing and undressing for PE…. which might be more than some people spend in Geography. There are many such anomalies in the timetable, so what are we really teaching the pupils?

Curriculum Planning

Mick Waters LetterA big picture of the curriculum – Working draft…

The planning has been predicated on the idea that we need to look at the outcomes we desire, and then start looking at how we can get there…

One thing that becomes very clear from Waters presentation is that he can see through a lot of the FUD to the heart of what is important and is clever enough to know what the curriculum can and can’t do. As he recounted, he had a Kennedy-esque moment when someone said: ‘It’s not what the curriculum can do for your subject, it’s what your subject can do for the curriculum!’

Collections As Learning
Waters asserts that we need to understand the nature of collections. He sees there being three types of collections.
1 – Collections that can be completed. Sets of cards…
2 – Collections that can’t be finished – eg: stamps… they are organised into sub-sets, yellow, Asian, old…
3 – Personal, eg shells or stones….

The collections are a metaphor for our knowledge and experiences. How we approach the act of collecting is dictated by our education.

There is just so much to take away from Mick’s keynote… this is one to digest at leisure. I’m too busy trying to watch his videos and slides and take in what he’s saying… I’m going to return to his words later, but I highly recommend you check out the session when it goes online at LTS!

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