A lot easier said, than done. I hope one Michael Gove comes to realise this at some point, although I realise that this will probably not be before his time is up in the Department of Education.
It is not science alone. It is not just a process, or even a set of processes. Sometimes it might be called an art. And an intuition, a value, a judgement…
Despite Mr Gove’s best efforts towards reductionism, it is not just about a curriculum on paper either, but rather one defined such as this:
Anything and everything that teaches a lesson, planned or otherwise. Humans are born learning, thus the learned curriculum actually encompasses a combination of all of the below — the hidden, null, written, political and societal etc.. Since students learn all the time through exposure and modeled behaviors, this means that they learn important social and emotional lessons from everyone who inhabits a school — from the janitorial staff, the secretary, the cafeteria workers, their peers, as well as from the deportment, conduct and attitudes expressed and modeled by their teachers. Many educators are unaware of the strong lessons imparted to youth by these everyday contacts. (Wilson, 1990)
So when I met a lady I am acquainted with in school today, who said her job was ‘only’ cleaning – I said not ‘only’. And when I recently met another man I am also acquainted with, who also cleans in a different school, who picks up on a academic hierarchy with his cleaning colleagues at the bottom of it, I was glad to hear him say that there wouldn’t be much teaching and learning without the cleaners…
So it seems that we all can teach lessons, but perhaps it’s the unassuming ones that are delivered with quiet dignity that are the most powerful. I am going to try and remember that for this year. And the next, etc. Like I said, easy to say, harder to do.
But you just never know.