An overview of a philosophy on curriculum delivery
The philosophy that sits behind our curriculum is inspired by the principles of
Teaching for Understanding
; made practical by using
Understanding by Design(UBD)
ideas including the notion of
Backward Design (BD)
Teaching for Understanding asks that instead of aiming to ‘cover’ the curriculum, thatwe instead
big ideas that are important for children to know or learn about.These principles fit well within the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) framework thatsets out some important obligations we have towards our students.
We should have a
of what we want our students to be and that we havea plan to achieve that vision. The NZC provides some ideas of what a visionfor students might include. There is room for schools to add to that list.
The NZC sets out some
that we should encourage and support amongstour children. There is room for schools to add to that list.
The NZC sets out some key
that we are required to operate by.
The NZC sets out some
that we should encourage, supportand plan for within our school.
The NZC also sets out
that provide curriculum content thatteachers are expected to use in their teaching programmes.The NZC is reasonably flexible and gives schools scope to design and develop their own curriculum. We have chosen to do that within a framework offered by theconcept of transdisciplinary learning as exemplified by schools working under theInternational Baccalaureate Organisation.Each year we decide upon a big idea -
2009 Theme: "Citizenship is Everybody's Business!"
- that we want children to know about and to develop someunderstanding of what that idea means for them and for humanity.In the case of 2009 we consider that citizenship is such an important concept that wedon’t want children to leave school with some understanding of what that means andwhy it is so important.We then use six transdisciplinary themes to develop that understanding.
Who we areWhere weare in timeand placeHow weexpressourselvesHow theworld worksHow weorganiseourselvesSharing theplanet
The transdisciplinary ideas are important enough in themselves for children to‘uncover’. Within each theme there is a very wide range of optionsTeams of teachers use a particular framework to guide their teaching efforts. Thisframework is inspired by the
Understanding by Design (UBD)
processes. UBD says that understanding is best gained throughfollowing a plan - we should map out the main stages in the learning journey beforewe start.