Global Crisis, Local Impact (COVID -19)
The Need for a Global Curriculum in Schools
Four years ago we embarked on a mission to change the focus of curriculum design from national to global. No longer would coverage of the National Curriculum be the overbearing master but would serve the needs of schools, as required. Whilst coverage can be guaranteed for those schools needing that assurance, it no longer drives the curriculum design.
In 2019, after a lengthy period of development, we launched the culmination of our efforts: our transformational ‘Learning Means the World’ Curriculum, an ambitious global curriculum that is helping to change, not just minds, but hearts too!
We often hear talk of preparing young people for life in this rapidly changing 21st century landscape, but what is actually prioritised in primary schools is irrelevant propositional knowledge, with a mere nod to the real-world issues directly affecting our children’s lives.
We are currently in the grip of a worldwide health crisis that requires skills, attitudes and traits that none of us imagined would be necessary to teach in schools, in order to help us withstand this test.
Instead of the odd resilience theme day here, the one-off problem-solving workshop there, schools using the ‘Learning Means the World’ Curriculum are systematically, and with clearly mapped progression, raising up responsible, educated citizens of the future. They are taught how to rise up to challenges, are better able to cope with uncertainty and change, and learn the importance of showing respect for others.
‘Learning Means the World’ is a curriculum driven by 4Cs – Communication, Culture, Conflict and Conservation – and the importance of building a global curriculum around world issues has become even clearer over these last few months.
The need for clear communication has been evident, as authorities in countries worldwide have sought to get across their individual messages, focused on saving lives. Communication is really THAT important and, we believe, should be central to any curriculum model. Cultural blame, stigmatisation and conflict have been evident when, instead, we should be pulling together as a global community. Teaching children to respect, understand and be tolerant of other cultures is a vital role of schools and should not just be tokenistic. Interestingly, we are hearing about the clean water of the Venetian canals and the pure air of Wuhan as a conservation by-product of COVID-19. ‘Learning Means the World’ students are all too aware of the environmental threats we face.
In order to rise to this and other worldwide challenges, information needs to be shared globally to have a local impact. What a doctor discovers in Italy about this virus one day may well save lives in the US the next day. We need our children to understand and value the importance of global co-operation and trust; to choose unity and solidarity to help tackle this and inevitable future crises.
To sum up, children should be taught to value international mindedness and see the importance of global purpose, by schools putting it at the centre of their learning. An outstanding primary curriculum must be meaningful, relevant and fit for purpose, surely not simply about coverage of prescribed objectives and systematic box ticking.