Endeavour School

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Written by Marcus Freke

A 21st Century Curriculum

Posted on 28 June 2017

With the proliferation of technology, teaching and learning has been forced to change.  The industrial, teacher-centric deconstruction  / reconstruction of knowledge approach to teaching and learning is no longer appropriate for 21st Century students. 

Stephen Heppel stated "we have spent the 20th Century perfecting a 19th Century model”, a model that requires learners to memorise and replicate information, that is extrinsically motivated and has an attitude of compliance and is dependent on the teacher to direct learning.  These are not the skills and dispositions we need for the 21 st Century.

Page 12 of the New Zeland Curriculum describes the ‘Key Competencies’ New Zealand students need to have to be confident, connected, actively involved life-long learners. These competencies need to remain central to any school curriculum.

At Endeavour School we have developed the ‘Key Competencies’ into our Signature Practices. Our Signature Practices underpin all teaching and learning at Endeavour School, they are; Collaboration, Ubiquity, Thinking and the Environment, underpinned by ‘personal excellence’. 

The content of the curriculum also must align with 21 st Century needs, it must start with being personalised and authentic.  There is no longer a place for a ‘one size fit’s all’ approach to teaching and learning.  Learning in the priority learning areas of Reading, Writing and Mathematics is targetted to meet individual needs through small workshops. The workshops are based on individual needs and are fluid in terms of who is in what group. This means we move away from low, medium and high groups.  No matter how groups are labelled the students very quickly work out who the ‘brainy’ ones and who the ‘struggling’ learners are.  This has a huge impact on the student's self-esteem and self-efficacy, particularly for the ‘struggling’ learners.

As a student, I used to frequently ask ‘why am I learning this’?  If there didn’t appear to be a good reason my motivation to engage and do my best was reduced.  The same is true of students today hence the need for an authentic purpose to the content of the curriculum.  Students don’t need to learn facts, they can Google those.  They need to develop knowledge and wisdom ideally with a moral purpose or social outcome.  Current educational rhetoric suggests developing Entripenunerual skills as one of the key skills sets students are going to need for the 21st Century.  Endeavour School uses an integrated curriculum based on an Inquiry model as its approach to personalising the curriculum and creating an authentic purpose for the learning they do.

Einstein is credited with saying ‘education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school’.  After living and learning at Endeavour School a great deal will remain to prepare our learners for their time after school.

 

 

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