Here’s another excellent talk from TED. This one from 2010 and the Oxford TEDGlobal. It features Stephen Wolfram who gave us the Mathematica computer program I used to play with in the 90s and Wolfram Alpha which is the best (only) computational search engine. His huge brain is also behind Siri on the iPhone.
He’s a bit of a maths genius and this talk, I think, is pretty crucial for maths teachers and those re-writing the maths curriculum. It is yet another great mind pointing out that the curriculum is way out of date, a turn off, irrelevant and wasting talent.
The Framework for the National Curriculum was published on the first Monday of the Christmas Holidays and might not have the happy Christmas cheer teachers were hoping for. You can find the document by clicking here. It does two things, firstly it sets out the work done so far and confirms our fears that Thomas Gradgrind has an office in the Department for Education.
“Now, what I want is, facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else. You can only form the minds of reasoning animals upon Facts: nothing else will ever be of any service to them. This is the principle on which I bring up my own children, and this is the principle on which I bring up these children. Stick to Facts, sir!” – Hard Times, Charles Dickens 1854
Steven Twigg has offered cross party support on the curriculum, which is deeply troubling.
On a plus side this is great news for Academies, who are in the best position to truly provide their learners with an education for the future by having nothing to do with the National Curriculum. 40% of schools are already academies, perhaps a few more will cross the floor if these suggestions become the basis of the next education act.
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I hope I’m just getting paranoid. The national curriculum review only refers to “key knowledge” which might be fine, but might mean the end of “understanding” and “skills” in the UK curriculum. Hmmm. I hope I’m just being paranoid.