Natalie Solent

Politics, news, libertarianism, Science Fiction, religion, sewing. You got a problem, bud? I like sewing.

E-mail: nataliesolent-at-aol-dot-com (I assume it's OK to quote senders by name.)

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Jane's Blogosphere: blogtrack for Natalie Solent.


( 'Nother Solent is this blog's good twin. Same words, searchable archives, RSS feed. Provided by a benefactor, to whom thanks.
I also sometimes write for Samizdata and Biased BBC.)

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Ticking all the boxes. I get the impression that Mick Waters, Curriculum Director of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA), is trying too hard. As Jack Huges, a commenter to Biased BBC, said of Mr Waters' article:
It's heavy going, because its just babble. In every sentence he tries to tick all the boxes.

So we get "The curriculum should better emphasise and make explicit study and learning in terms of diversity, choice, need and specialism. "

What does this sentence actually mean ? Does it mean anything ? How would we change the school curriculum in the light of that revelation ? And how would we detect if we had hit the target ?

I wonder if its just some kind of programmatically-generated screed - a kind of auto-babble. For example you could put any of the paragraphs in any order and it would be just as meaningless. Does Mick Waters get paid for churning out this tosh ?

[Added later: After re-reading the article, I softened a bit. Mr Waters may even be moving the national curriculum (not that we ought to have one at all) in the right direction. But, oh boy, he needs to be stripped to his undies and passed through the dejargonator before being allowed contact with the public.]

The QCA's anxiousness to be all things to all assessment schemes shows up elsewhere as well. On page 11 of the Times (given the problems on the Times site I won't even try linking) there's an article about how the new proposed changes to the curriculum will bring back traditional teaching methods into the heart of the dustbin. Or possibly vice versa. Tagging along with the main article is a sidebar headed "New methods" and tailed "Source: QCA", which says under the heading "Modern languages" that pupils are to
Learn French, German, Spanish, Italian, Mandarin, Arabic or Urdu. Focus on listening, speaking, reading, writing and grammar.
And for an encore, catch flies with your tongue. Why not? You'll already have proved that you can act like a chameleon when you focussed on four different things simultaneously.