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A curriculum for teaching and learning: an alternative roadmap

Most aspects of school are built around a timed curriculum that specifies what should be taught and learned in each school year, but there is a problem with this approach.

Not all students of a particular age or year level in their schooling are equally ready for the same learning experiences at the same time, ACER Chief Executive Prof Geoff Masters AO and Director of ACER’s Centre for Global Education Monitoring Prof Ray Adams write in Teacher.

‘Teachers often see themselves as teachers of particular year levels; textbooks are written for each year of school and encourage timed, lock-step progression through curriculum content; and all students are assessed at the same time to establish how much of the delivered curriculum they have mastered. Traditional ways of organising schools reflect and reinforce timed curriculum delivery,’ Profs Masters and Adams write.

‘Too often in our schools, the time-bound curriculum does not deliver learning experiences matched to individuals’ present levels of achievement and learning needs.’

An alternative, as Profs Masters and Adams propose, is a curriculum that describes the progression of learning. A ‘roadmap’ of this kind, they write, would make clear how current learning builds on prior learning and lays the foundations for future learning, would be informed by typical sequences of learning and would make clear the role of prerequisites in learning success.

‘In a time-free curriculum, the primary focus is on a student’s progress through a learning domain and what they are taught is determined by the point they have reached, regardless of when they reach that point,’ they observe. ■

Read the full article:

‘The school curriculum: about time’ by Geoff Masters and Ray Adams, is published in Teacher. https://www.teachermagazine.com.au/geoff-masters/article/the-school-curriculum-about-time

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