Mr Kemp NZ

School Curriculum – is it still relevant?

Following up from the honor of being selected in Huffington Posts Top 12 Global Education Blogs of 2014/2015/2016 I have been chosen again in this amazing group and for 2017 will be contributing to Huffington Post’s Education blog once a month. This month we look at the following highly controversial topic “Do you believe curriculum needs to be more relevant for a 21st-century world?  If you had the power to change the school curriculum, what would you change?” – here is my response:

Pedagogy First, Technology Second” – this is always the catch phrase that plays in my head when I enter a school. My role is Head of Educational Technology so I am immersed in best practices of tech every day – this has become my world. Student Learning is important and should ALWAYS come first.

I am lucky enough to work in an incredibly well-resourced school which provides opportunities and resources for teachers to integrate technology effectively and truly lead the way in the ed-tech game. Outside of my work at school, I am lucky enough to travel the world and experience various curriculum in action and support schools in the implementation of educational technology to add value to learning. With this experience, I write my response to the question: Do you believe curriculum needs to be more relevant for a 21st-century world?  If you had the power to change the school curriculum, what would you change?

Curriculum around the world really isn’t that different. Teaching and Learning typically happens in the same way and the content varies only slightly. However, what does change is the way learning happens and the physical learning environment that is present.

Image Source: https://www.engagingscience.eu/en/2016/01/26/reduce-your-11-16-science-curriculum-to-4-years/

One thing is clear – learning matters. In the 21st-century world that we live in, change is constant and the world is fast-paced. The concept of ‘instant-everything’ is a reality! So when asked the question do I believe that curriculum needs to be more relevant for a 21st-century world I say “yes, but ………”.

Why the “but” you ask? Well, it is simple, a curriculum is important but HOW and WHY students learn (in my opinion) is far more important. Are we giving our learners an environment that meets their changing needs? Do we provide a tech savvy world for our learners (like they experience the moment they walk out of our school doors)? Are we actively teaching life skills like communication, collaboration, and questioning/inquiry skills that in my opinion are more important for students to survive in the fast paced world we live in? I am not convinced we are.

Image Source: http://womenonthefence.com/2014/10/09/the-instant-gratification-generation/

In my opinion, we need to put more emphasis on life-long learning skills than on curriculum content. We need to teach our students HOW to learn and HOW to adapt to change. We need to teach them how to be empathetic in a world that is often negative and judgmental. So many real-life skills that as teachers we just “don’t have time for”.

STOP trying to fit more into your curriculum and think about HOW and WHY you are teaching content.

Learning matters, but are we putting the best foot forward and giving our learners the best first step into the world that they will live?

Something to think about ….

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Craig Kemp

Craig Kemp

I am a passionate Head of Educational Technology at a large International School in Singapore. I am a lifelong learner, dream creator and thought leader. I love to inspire others and find inspiration. Co-founder of #whatisschool, #asiaED edchats and #pubPD.

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Hi Craig, it is wonderful to see this mindset and mentality in the schools. Coming from the tech industry, understanding the “why” and “how” is so important!

    Do you see any differences with how Asia (for example) tackles this compared to other regions in the world?

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