The media tsunami accompanying our CfE reserch was to be expected. The alarmist picture of CfE presented in some quarters has, as ever, some basis in the research – but (and this is a big ‘but’) we have seen substantial exaggeration and the inevitable use of the research to pursue political advantage. Indeed there has been some correspondence about this in the media – see http://tinyurl.com/7fyuk98/. The example from the Daily Telegraph cited below appears to be another case in point.
For me, a frustrating aspect of this has been an implication reported in some quarters of the media that the issues in the report apply mainly to the local authority, the Highland Council. I do not believe this to be the case. As I pointed out in a previous post, Highland has been in many ways ahead of the game in developing CfE. The development project that accompanied this research was aptly titled ‘Building upon success’, and we chose to work with Highland because it offered innovative approaches to CfE which could be adopted usefully elsewhere. (note ‘this does not mean, as stated by the Daily Telegraph, that the situation is worse than suggested in the report – headline: Report may downplay teachers’ worries over curriculum, says author‘. We absolutely refute such inferences, and have never stated anything like this.
Highland has a long tradition of developing active and participative pedagogy. It was at the forefront of AifL after 2002, moving quickly beyond the bog-standard tick-box approaches so common elsewhere (e.g. AifL techniques). The council developed a purposes-led approach to AifL in particular and pedagogy in general, articulating four key principles – participation; engagement; dialogue; and thinking. This framework for learning, available at http://tinyurl.com/77bhsxk, has been widely praised
Highland has also innovated in terms of teacher professional learning and curriculum development. A FLaT project in 2007 developed exemplary approaches to teacher learning communities well before they were adopted in many local authorities (see for example http://hdl.handle.net/1893/2123). I have been continually impressed with the very many innovative, skilled and dedicated teachers that I have encountered through my work in Highland.
Highland should be congratulated for participating in this much needed research – the point of which was to inform the future development of what most in educational circles agree is a necessary reform to update schooling in Scotland.