Monday, 12 October 2009

The Blogster's Primary Curriculum

When embarking on this task my initial thoughts were of my own primary experiences. My memories of good teachers and what made them good, lessons that I could remember and what made them so memorable and also the flip side of that, which was the teachers and lessons that had completely departed my mind. The main, most vivid recollections were down to the pedagogy and the delivery of the subject content, so personally an affective primary curriculum for me would be one that was delivered in a lively, fun manner by a person with whom children can relate to and feel at total ease with. If you are able to build a rapport between teacher and child you are instantly going to see an increase in interest, behaviour and ultimately results. Personal and emotional development is very important because if a child is unhappy or has a low self esteem they are not going to perform their best. A holistic approach is affective for helping children to to find their identity and purpose in life, my curriculum would support this by encouraging children's involvement in community projects e.g growing vegetables, caring for animals and getting involved in activities with elderly people. Research shows that if children enjoy something and have fun doing it then they will remember it. Skills learned through the community and surrounding environment can be carried with the child throughout life making a valuable life skill that many adolescents of today are lacking. If you spent a lot of time nurturing a garden and have sensed the satisfaction of tasting your home grown vegetables you might think twice about vandalising somebody else's garden.Similarly if you get to build a relationship with an elderly person you may learn to respect them rather than seeing them as easy targets for crime. These life skills when learned early on can be a foundation for a law abiding adult. If children are offered opportunities and shown things which are different to the "norms " of their society aspirations can be raised. I feel it is also important that children are aware of the environment around them and going back to basics with growing your own food because it promotes healthy eating and in today's financial climate is a money saver that they could perhaps teach their parents.
Children learn best through self chosen and hands on play experiences and with many young children being denied this opportunity at home by modern technology and computer games consoles it is vital that the primary curriculum offers meaningful and relevant experiences with adult support which takes into account the child's earlier experiences and existing understanding. Research shows that children benefit from co-constructing knowledge with other children and adults that scaffold. Children are independent learners and learn better if the teacher is a facilitator and guides the learning rather than controlling the experience. A good primary curriculum is greatly dependent on the teacher, their aspirations, their subject knowledge, their flexibility and ability to work with others ideas and the promotion of change. It is imperative that children learn at their own pace, pushing them to reach targets and complete "stages" e.g EYFS and the primary curriculum is puttig too much pressure on individuals, children develop at different rates (maturation) it is not set in stone so why the pressure? Abolish sats in the primary curriculum and concentrate on instilling a life long love of learning. If children are losing interest take the classroom outside, eradicate the confinements of the classroom and teach the lesson outside. Be spontaneous appeal to all your students not just the good ones.
A good primary curriculum conflates subjects and can be flexible and allow for spontaneity there is not the pressure of sats results for league tables, allowing the teacher to seize any learning opportunity they can. It is also important that everybody is striving for the same goals e.g Governors ,teachers and parents. It is vital to engage parents support both in the education of their children and the parental aspirations and their input and ideas on future learning. Particularly in today's multi-cultural society, diversity would be more successfully addressed and promoted by the diverse.
Finally I have no crystal ball for the educational aims for the future, and can only surmise from the changes in my "educational" life time. I have seen vast technological break throughs in the sixteen years since I have left school. Technology is here to stay and is going to play a big part in our children's future. At present due to the economic down turn we see most opportunities of employment being for the more skilled or better qualified and our manual jobs being lost to closure or computers so ict is a major and large component in the primary curriculum of the 21st century.