I wrote a couple of days ago about my dislike of and reluctance to use the National Curriculum. One of my problems with it is that it attempts to predict what the effect will be of its content upon the children being taught. This seems to me an almost impossible task. I certainly could, and did, plan a year in advance what I would be teaching my daughter. As to what the outcomes of that teaching would be upon her developing mind; I did not even try and guess this! She might have closed her ears entirely to my wise and good educational provision, she might have been voraciously interested and asked to do a bunch of extension work on the subject, perhaps she would have learnt it by rote in an unenthusiastic fashion or maybe it would turn out to be what she wished to devote her life to in the future. If not even a loving father can predict these outcomes, I am not at all sure how worthwhile it is for teachers to attempt to do so!
A curriculum is really nothing more than a plan of teaching. In its simplest form it could be as brief as; 2011/2012 English, science and mathematics. It is enough to know that those subjects will actually be taught, never mind fooling around trying to guess what the kid will make of them! This is reason number two thousand and ninety seven why I never touched the National Curriculum with the proverbial bargepole.
I simply must draw my readers attention to the latest piece of foolishness connected with the National Curriculum; something so bizarre that it will have them choking into their morning coffee. One of the bits of jargon of which nobody but teachers are likely to be aware are the so-called PLTs. This stands for personal learning and thinking skills. These are things that the Department for Education feel are vital for children to acquire in order to cope with life in the twenty first century. They are probably right, but I am not at all sure that schools are the best places to pick up these skills. The hope is that pupils will become; independent enquirers, creative thinkers, reflective learners and self managers. Hands up everybody who thinks that sitting through the National Curriculum in a maintained school is the best way to encourage a child to become those things?