Finishing up an assignment, I went back through some of the recommended texts for the Curriculum Studies unit, and got fixated on the role of the teacher and coordinator in the curriculum. As it says in Kelly (2004) we are the “agents of change“, not only in the students we teach, but in the way we teach them; in the curriculum we design and assess. Although adopting a new curriculum framework (or updates during a curriculum review cycle) may give the feeling of the curriculum ‘being done to teachers’, we are fortunate that in the MYP we have great freedom in the content and the learning experiences we create. Although we do have to contend with some issues of backwash from universities and therefore the IB Diploma, we are allowed to put concepts first and move away from strict adherence to content – to make learning engaging and relevant if it is not already. Content does not have to be king – syllabus is not curriculum. But it does take work.
A new initiative at our school is to develop student learning goals – team or department goals for the year based on data. As a science department we have chosen to analyse student achievement in Criterion E: Processing Data – a fundamental skill for success in any of the Diploma sciences (and for cutting through the crud of much modern ‘science’ or health reporting). I’m excited about this idea – about initiating a culture of inquiry in the faculty and making us all action researchers. I would love to see it develop over time into curriculum design and content selection, to show, through ‘empirical-rational‘ strategies that the MYP is adaptive and will work well.
I would really love for the IB to negotiate university library access for teachers and students in their schools in the interests of PD and the occasional Extended Essay. By engaging in academic studies, I can see the value of access to journals and papers as a great personal PD tool, and it would be great for that to be open to all IB teachers. Our school has access to QuestiaSchool, which is another great service that the IB could work with.
Right, got to go. Taking a break from studies for a wee while to focus on the new MYPCo role and my family – but I’ll likely be on the uni library on weekly basis. There is just too much to read!
AV Kelly. 2004. p116+. The Curriculum: Theory and Practice.