What are they learning?

What are they learning?

Another excellent post by David Didau. Didau argues in favour of a knowledge-rich curriculum and offers strong reasons why:

Whether or not students are learning is, largely, irrelevant. The important question to ask is, what are they learning?

I’m in full agreement with Didau here. My experience is that schools over-emphasise the mechanics of teaching (including what gets called the “toolkit” – though classroom craft is important). Teachers’ subject knowledge is known to be one of the strongest – if not the strongest – influences on student progress but tends to get downplayed in the practices used to make marginal examination improvements. Certainly being an ex-head of English, I’ve been astonished how reluctant departments to engage with questions like “Is what we’re teaching right for our students?” It’s far too often left up to the exam boards, publishers or off-the-shelf schemes of work found on the internet. I also wonder if the trouble we have with post-16 education because KS3 and KS4 aren’t knowledge-rich enough.

His most persuasive argument is time. He believes that there isn’t enough time to encourage the student-centred “21st Century skills”. (I’m actually in less agreement here but, bearing in mind the latest research in Project-based Learning, he may be right.)

Didau – who has good track record in terms of predictions about OFSTED – believes that:

within the next two years Ofsted will stop grading the quality of teaching, learning and assessment as part of their overall judgement on schools’ effectiveness. This will probably be replaced with a judgement on a school’s curriculum and assessment policies and practices. If I’m right, how a teacher teaches will become less and less important, instead, schools will be increasingly held to account for what they teach.

Read the whole post here.