While some of the newly set-up Free Schools aim to provide a more enlightened approach to teaching and learning, others offer a very traditional academic curriculum, providing a service to parents who for some mysterious reason want their children to suffer such an education. In these Free Schools knowledge acquisition and recall is the focal point of the curriculum, and facts and figures are regularly spoon-fed to students. Of course that’s great for getting good grades at GCSEs and A levels, but the problem is that when their pupils eventually get out into the real world they are going to find it doesn’t quite work like that, and they are likely to lose out in the employment market to applicants who can already demonstrate high levels of fluency in problem-solving and communication skills, IT capability and a willingness to collaborate and create.
But if a school is going to insist on offering and delivering an intensely academic approach, it might as well do it properly, which is what this free school appears committed to doing.
Here’s an extract from one of their Knowledge Organisers which ‘organise all the most vital, useful and powerful knowledge on a single page.’ This Year 7 example is taken from a unit on Apartheid South Africa that deals with ‘the timeline, activists, quotations and political and legal vocabulary.’
Ignoring the fact that all the facts above can actually be easily found on the internet as and when needed in life, All Change Please! just couldn’t resist coming up with its own Teacher Training Knowledge Organiser taken from its Unit on the History of British Education:
1. Nelson Mandela was central to the success of the South African Apartheid movement in the latter part of the 20th Century.
2. Michael Gove was central to the collapse of the English education system in the early part of the 21st Century.
Meanwhile the entirely fictitious All Change Please! Academy has commissioned a series of Knowledge Disorganisers in which completely random facts and figures are assembled together to promote thinking about completely new ways of creatively connecting the world together in the future.
Have a good Easter, that is if you are not too busy marking GCSE Coursework.
Image credit: Flickr/Ginny Washburn