Have you ever been asked to make your curriculum more global?
For many years, as the Primary Headteacher of a successful British International School and like Headteachers everywhere, I wanted the very best curriculum for my children. A curriculum that opened their young minds as global citizens, was inclusive, helped them to be more creative, to explore their interests and capabilities, give them confidence and to inspire a desire to want to learn more. I also wanted the best curriculum that enabled my teaching colleagues to use their experiences and areas of expertise. One that did not impact negatively on their preparation time. One that did not rely on generic worksheets and PowerPoints. As my pupils were from many international backgrounds, I wanted a global curriculum.
We all know that the needs of children have rapidly changed, especially through the impact of the global pandemic. As would be adults of the 2030s, are we really preparing primary-aged children for the future? Is the curriculum in our schools truly global? Do children really understand their role and impact as global citizens?
I have experienced different international curriculum models and recognised that, through the thematic approach, there were many positive outcomes for children’s learning, including motivation, recall and retention. A direct result of this was a rise in achievement across all subjects, and especially English. This evidenced my belief that curriculums that focus purely on separate subject lessons do not enable all children to make the necessary connections to reach their potential. However, I questioned whether the curriculum I had in place was truly a global curriculum
The presence of ‘third culture kids’ in our schools has been recognised for a number of years but does our curriculum reflect this? I’m not just talking about international schools. We only need to look at schools’ data in the UK to see the ever-increasing cultural mix that can be found, particularly in inner city schools. Is a global curriculum a key to raising inclusivity? Is it a key to raising aspirations? Will the children see their learning as more meaningful and relevant as they learn through a sequence of concepts and experiences rather than timetabled separate subjects? How relevant is homework to their learning does it really support their learning in school, help them to reinforce and apply their learning? Does our curriculum embrace the whole child, their academic, social and emotional development?
Talking to many headteacher colleagues, there seems to be a general agreement that the curriculum needs to evolve but, even with the most talented and knowledgeable staff, there is simply not enough time to develop it in-house. I know, I’ve been there!
Last year I found myself on a website that tapped directly into my passion for the curriculum – Dimensions ‘Learning Means the World’ Curriculum. Why did this appeal to me as a Headteacher?
It’s a curriculum which is holistic and relevant, providing the structure, breadth, depth and creativity to meet the needs of any forward-thinking school.
Like many in the international sector, the pandemic has initiated a return to the UK. My passion for curriculum development has led me to become part of the Dimensions Curriculum team of like-minded, experienced professionals with an enthusiasm for education and the time to develop a truly wonderful global curriculum where learning really does mean the world! A team with a shared passion for developing children’s fully holistic learning experiences and preparing primary children for the next steps in their learning journey to secondary school and beyond!
If you too are a Headteacher that believes a curriculum should be relevant, aspirational, creative, global and inspirational, click here take a look at our ‘Learning Means the World‘ on the website.
Written by Kathy Salmon, Curriculum Consultant for Dimensions Curriculum Ltd. and former Headteacher at a renowned British International School in Spain.