Yesterday I commented that A Curriculum for Excellence had united Chris Woodhead and Professor Lindsay Paterson. These two men, one progressive, one traditionalist, are both opposed to the curriculum's philosophy that "learning about leaning" is more important than knowledge itself.
It's not just an academic debate. The chatrooms for teachers on the Times Education Supplement are buzzing with comments from teachers who feel able to express their doubts very freely because the postings are anonymous. It's entertaining - and sometimes worrying stuff.
Because the Curriculum for Excellence doesn't really value content, it amalgamates subjects such as history, geography and modern studies into the group "social studies" Already teachers are under a great deal of pressure to work in a cross-curricular way, often at the expense of imparting knowledge. I was particularly struck by this comment from a teacher of history, my own subject.
Please explain to me how, in the curriculum for my city, I have 45 mins to teach the Holocaust and an hour to do a art lesson based on the Holocaust as well as 45 mins to look at how to write a newspaper article on one small aspect of it? I will never change my opinion that it would be better to have the time spent actually teaching what its about rather than using it to teach art and writing. Explain how 45 mins of core understanding on a subject like this can be effective...Pure history is about much more than dates and names