Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

Brainstorming a Workshop on Curriculum Theory and Future Trends in Education 

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I’ve been asked to give a f2f workshop to young(ish) enterprising ppl interested in education. As far as I understand, this doesn’t mean they’re entrepreneurs, but rather people who care about education and would like to make a difference. 

I was asked to cover two topics and to cover them both in a row (in 3 hours)

  1. Curriculum theory (i was originally asked to talk about educational theories but I changed it to this – someone else will do educational theories)
  2. Future trends in education 

So what I’m thinking about is to do an activity where different groups of participants build something (with my Bornimago magnets) using different “rules”. The rules would represent the different approaches to curriculum theory. And then we would discuss curriculum theory and apply it to their own education and context and experiences. And then we would take a break and look at certain “future trends” in education such as MOOCs, blended learning, flipped learning , maybe I could solicit from them what else they consider to be future trends. And we would unpack the discourses around these trends and how one would evaluate them based on the various curriculum theory approaches. 

So I may or may not do the Humility walk at some point, to also illustrate how different approaches to curriculum theory would look at it.

So here’s the magnets activity (feedback welcome). There would be the following rules for each team

  1. Team members are given some content to read about magnets and buildings. They are not given actual magnets but there will be actual magnets around, near them, but not given to them (this represents a curriculum as content approach that doesn’t tell you what to do with the content)
  2. Team members are given a particular outcome to produce and some magnets to work with. E.g. They’re asked to create a stable structure that is 50 cm high in 5 minutes with a fixed number of magnets (this represents the Curriculum as product approach)
  3. Team members are given freedom to create a creative structure of their choosing as long as they democratically choose how it will look and decide together how they want it to be judged (this represents the process approach where focus is on the process of working together not a particular outcome)
  4. Same as the team above BUT one Participant only is able to hold the magnets while other participants are only allowed to give instructions to that person. I might add a secret additional role where one participant either igesture allowed to talk but is allowed to gesture…or something like that (this represents the Curriculum as praxis approach because we’re highlighting the power differences and not assuming democracy is easily achieved simply because we ask participants to do it)

I’m guessing in the post-activity discussion some unexpected things might come up and may open up additional avenues for discussion. 

Then I’ll re-cap the pros and cons of different approaches to curriculum theory. We’ll discuss how curriculum is usually framed in Egyptian schools and universities and what shifting the approach might entail.

 I may do Humility walk to wrap up or not, depending on time.

When we get to future trends in education, I’ll describe some of the trends and ask them how to evaluate its usefulness… Maybe taking on the hat of a funder or policymaker or teacher who’s considering investing in this… And from their responses to clarify how each response uses a particular curriculum approach. I’ll ask them if there are particular trends they’re curious about – maybe I should do this first before I talk about particular ones…though i think my blurb for the workshop already lists some trends I plan to talk about 

Feedback welcome 

One Comment

  1. I like activity #1. Magnets nearby but not formally “given” allows them to be discovered as a resource. We are rarely without resources but can be challenged to adapt what we do have to demonstrate what we wish to express or show. It’s early here so I can’t quite get the thought out though I think of the term “fluency” as an educational goal to help us see beyond what we have–or maybe to re-purpose what we have?

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