I hear a lot of talk about skills-based curricula in Scotland these days, with the general vibe being that skills-based curricula are a Good Thing™. I'm not entirely clear what people mean by a skills-based curriculum, because it is one of those phrases which has slipped into the common parlance of educators without any clear definition (see also "learner conversations"). Try searching on the Education Scotland website for "skill based curriculum" and you'll draw a blank. I guess it means a curriculum defined in terms of the competencies being developed by our learners: a curriculum defined in terms of the things we want our learners to be able to do, rather than what they know.
I can see the appeal of this, but I am wary. Here are a couple of things which would worry me if they were true:
1. Is this curriculum seeking to develop generic, transferable skills?
If so, we really need to distinguish between actual skills which are applicable in a range of conte…
I have volunteered to "share my leadership journey" for ten minutes before leading a discussion with other middle leaders at a SCEL event in Edinburgh. This blog post is a rehearsal of those ten minutes, and I would gratefully appreciate any constructive feedback. I have a leadership story rather than a leadership journey to share. This is the story I tell myself about how I got to where I am now as a leader, and about where I might go next. It is very subjective and selective. Nonetheless I think it is worth sharing, because this is the truth I inhabit. You also have stories you tell yourself, and you inhabit your stories every day of your professional life. It is sometimes easy to recognise these stories in others - the colleague who sees themselves as the victim of unreasonable burdens regardless of changing circumstances or another who sees themselves as blessed and lucky no matter what misfortunes befall them. It is much harder to identify the stories we tell ourselves,…
In order to investigate the current debate about knowing and understanding sparked by David Didau's post, I want to examine one small part of mathematics, which I happen to be teaching to a Higher maths class at the moment: finding the point which divides a line segment in a given ratio.
One way to approach this is to teach a formula:
The position vector of P, where P divides AB in the ratio m:n, is given by p=(na+mb)/(m+n)
If you know how to convert a position vector to a coordinatethe convention that capital letters represents points and bold lower case letters represent corresponding position vectorshow to multiply or divide a vector by a scalarhow to add vectors together
then can probably now solve a problem such as:
Given that the point P divides S(3,4,-1) and T(5,8,11) in the ratio 3:1, find P.
At this point, a student knows how to find a point which divides a line segment in a given ratio. They may have no idea why this rule works. They may have no idea what a position vector …