Flat packed curriculum – David Didau


“It is so easy to be improper – and to persist in becoming erroneous – when the expenses of becoming completely wrong are paid by other individuals.”

Thomas Sowell

Why do we invest in so significantly flat pack furniture? Initial, it’s several situations extra economical than bespoke hand-created home furniture, and 2nd, it also saves us the not inconsiderable price tag of obtaining to make it ourselves from scratch. It also will allow to substitute outdated, unfashionable aged pieces handed down from our grandparents and apply our own style to the houses we reside in.

In utilizing the KS3 English curriculum we have formulated at Ormiston Academies Believe in (see listed here for aspects) we have found the flat pack metaphor a valuable a person for detailing to departments and lecturers what it is we intend them to do with it. Like IKEA, we’ve provided all the items essential to assemble a chest of drawers or a wardrobe, and all instructors need to have to do is thoroughly browse the recommendations, deliver together their own metaphorical equivalents of a screwdriver and a hammer, and begin turning the uncooked materials into lovely sequences of lessons.

This is meant to be an antidote to the ‘plug and play’ approach to English teaching characterised by Barbara Bleiman in this article:


Formerly, I’ve argued versus the use of PowerPoint as a implies for employing the curriculum and share some of Barbara’s worries at the way academics are increasingly anticipated to only supply a set of slides composed by someone else. But, as has been lifted by numerous English teacher responding to Barbara, the alternative looks pretty bleak. My educating career, which began in the late 1990s, was much from the halcyon idyll eulogised by some. My 1st head of division gave me a copy of 101 Purple Scorching Starters and explained to me to instruct whichever I fancied from the stock cupboard. I had no clue what I was accomplishing. Useless to say, the students I taught had been terribly allow down. Experienced another person been capable to give me a thoroughly resourced, sequenced curriculum I’d have bitten their arms off. Rather, I worked into the wee hours preparing pointless action pushed classes which – I desperately hoped – would enchantment to my learners ample that they’d sit in their seats and stop making an attempt to stab each other with scissors. This was extensive before lesson resources had been routinely uploaded onto the world wide web and my only option was to cobble collectively wonky strategies of function myself or wing it. This was what my much more expert colleagues appeared to do. They never seemed to publish anything at all down and just emptied the contents of the minds into the lecture rooms, normally to mesmerising outcome. It hardly ever worked that way for me though.

Sadly, it wasn’t until eventually a lot of years later that I was fortuitous plenty of to function in a section exactly where we worked collaboratively on schemes of function which we experienced collectively agreed on. But even then, lecturers would add their slides to the shared spot for other lecturers to use or adapt as they observed match with incredibly little comprehending of what the function of the curriculum was.

When, in 2015, Ofsted printed Important stage 3: the wasted several years? it was a really fair critique of almost everything I’d expert. Many years 7 to 9 was an interminable keeping floor exactly where little ones circled until eventually they were allowed to begin researching GCSE technical specs. No surprise so quite a few educational facilities selected to annex Year 9 into Important Stage 4.

Our curriculum is – we hope – far much better than some scuffed center floor of drained consensus. As a substitute, it will take the very best of the current and the earlier and offers instructors with every thing they require to train great, lively, enjoyable classes that induct children into the wonderful mysteries of language and literature. It took at workforce of 5 English guide practitioners hundreds of hours to build. Every single has then been piloted in at minimum just one of our schools and comments taken the place there are kinks to iron out and advancements that require to be created. This iterate procedure by no implies will make our curriculum perfect, but it has resulted in a high quality of means which number of college-centered teachers would be ready to match. The student anthologies and teacher guides we supply are mini masterpieces of layout, craft and assumed.

We are completely aware that whichever a central scheduling crew might conceive is often mediated (sometimes awesomely, sometimes disastrously) by instructors. So, we’ve embraced this inevitably and introduced instructors with everything they need to have to know and empower them to assemble it as they imagine most acceptable for their pupils.

This is all some academics need. But lots of many others want help placing into all into action. With this in head, we come up with 5 main pedagogies which we have observed to be easy to place into practice and extremely helpful at assisting college students make this means from their classes. These are:

  • Couch to 5k composing – this sentence stage approach combines ‘the deconstructed essay’ for analytical crafting and ‘slow writing’ for innovative and transactional producing. This features plenty of stealth grammar instructing, but it’s all in guidance of this means. There are 9 deconstructed essay sentences and 30 inventive crafting sentence forms that are specified throughout KS3.
  • Looking through fluency – a tactic not only for bettering students’ orthographic awareness but one particular which also has an impact on comprehension. It involves a lot of oral investigation which builds up to performances of quick sections of texts. It would make for some of the most fascinating lessons I have at any time taught or experienced and when it students make it operate, it is electrical! (See additional listed here.)
  • Structured dialogue – this is our oracy tactic which is also made to enable college students orally rehearse their concepts and consequently increase not only their ability to discussion but also to produce. (Here’s a site I wrote about this approach some several years in the past.)
  • Say it, Spell it, Know it – an approach to teaching subject terminology and subject vocabulary which does precisely what it suggests. It entails heaps of pleasurable with etymology and morphology.
  • Retrieval and hinge questions – we partnered with Carousel Discovering to make sure retrieval observe is rapid, enjoyment and successful and really encourage the use of mini white boards for hinge thoughts. I’ll publish more on this at a afterwards day.

Most of our colleges have adopted distinct approaches to lesson framework to which instructors are intended to adhere and these 5 pedagogical methods must be versatile enough to be made use of with any lesson composition. Of course, academics can decide on not to use any or all of these core pedagogies, but once they’ve seen them in motion, most academics hardly ever seem again. And, similarly naturally, there are a lot of other components to terrific English educating – we inspire academics to use whatever techniques they obtain fulfilling and productive – but these 5 offer a sound foundation for producing confident every thing else you could want to do is additional effective.

For individuals who have the time and talent to develop a curriculum that is as good or improved than the one we have made, they are welcomes to adapt any of our assets or are similarly welcome to ignore them. But if you are heading to argue what English training must be and hark back to a lost world of young children dancing fortunately via top secret gardens then you need to have to know that the past wasn’t like for most of us. It was challenging and bleak and frustrating. Try out to keep in mind what it was like to be a new trainer, caught in the headlights of alien routines and sullen students and take into consideration the likelihood that what you with all your decades of building knowledge may well favor is unlikely to work as nicely for the regular ECT.

Possibly they’d profit from a superior excellent, flat packed curriculum.

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