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Your discussion has just reminded me of a project that has been underway in the UK over recent years called 'Opening Minds'. It involved a complete abandonment of the some of the National Curriculum in its present form. Instead it involves working with students in a cross curricular way, building 'competencies'.

If anyone is interested in reading about this the link is here

Opening Minds

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Thank you for that link. This is almost exactly the same as we are doing here. However, my worry is that we are not doing it as a trial in a limited number of schools, and with evaluation. It is mandated for every government school here and will remain in force regardless of its success or otherwise. The other thing i worry about, is that even when these new methods are evaluated, there is almost a built in expectation that it WILL succeed. I noticed the comment in this document that although it is "early days", teachers and students are already excited and keen. They may be, but how do we know that the eventual long-term outcomes will be better?

These trial schools in England are now coming to the end of the trial. I would like to talk to all the teachers who took part, not just the initiators of the project.

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  • 2 weeks later...

What a great way to learn about "things". I noticed that many of the Opening Minds students were either aged 11-14 ish or "disinclined". What happens in the senior years of schooling and how do these students compete for tertiary entrance. Is there a separate pathway for tertiary bound students?

Oops still logged on as a teacher from another thread.

Pauline

Edited by Ms Crawford
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That's a very good question and one which worries many of our secondary teachers. There will not be a separate pathway for our students until Yr11/12. Then what happens will be interesting to see. One of our local high schools has no compulsory subjects and if students don't like what they've chosen, they can choose again. That should help prepare them for the realities of life!! Another problem with it, is that here the emphasis in our new curriculum is on high level thinking skills applied to cross-curricular "rich task" or "big questions". Wonderful for average and above kids, but will those without the skills required for such a task, fit in? We are being told that it will by its very nature "engage" disengaged students but teachers are already saying that it doesn't, yet we are to go blithely on with it. Many older teachers (of which we have many) feel they are being treated as if everything they did in the past was wrong and of no value, and the hierarchy are talking openly of the "problems" and difficulties of dealing with what they perceive as dinosaurs and anti-change. It is causing a great deal of angst and stress amongst our teachers at a time in their career when they need it least.

I have to admit that I am more than happy to be out of it myself.

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