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What is essential learning?

Apparently Westminster School is setting up 5 schools in China. They will be teaching the Chinese curriculum. Now that's a challenge. A real challenge. I got the impression that English teachers will be delivering it. Harder by the second.

Teaching the English curriculum presents enough challenges. I've often spoken and written about relevance. It's not easy to set a curriculum that includes the knowledge that an education person "should have" and the knowledge that a person needs to move successfully through "real life". This week I was in a class in which some Year 9 pupils were finding out about Macbeth and his motivations. They weren't the best readers and were struggling to grasp the nuances. It isn't easy of course. Please rest assured that I'm not saying we shouldn't teach Shakespeare. Of course we should. My concern is that sometimes we attempt it when the pupils aren't ready and that can put them off forever.

And perhaps the system does overvalue the merits of the Bard and undervalues the challenge of cooking a good meal, joining 2 pieces of wood, doing exercise, singing a song..... You get my point.

Who decides what matters? They don't always get it right. Best of luck in teaching the Chinese curriculum. Hope it's more logical.

Phil Crompton