At THS we want to develop character and resilience in our learners. We are focused on achieving this through a skills-based and a knowledge -based curriculum. The latter is already embedded, the former is now a major focus for us at the school. Subject specialist teaching is also a driver of our ambition to deliver more suitable, relevant for today, learning platforms for all our students.
Subject Specialist Teaching: Now in Year 5 and Year 6 as well
So, let’s turn to subject specialists. The benefit of a subject specialist teacher is that they bring deeper and broader subject knowledge. So, they are able to enliven the subject more than the teacher who simply follows the curriculum. Primary/Prep teachers benefit from specialisation by having fewer subjects to juggle. They can concentrate their efforts on subjects they enjoy. Some teachers also enjoy the variety of several different classes each week, rather than just one.
Children in turn benefit from higher quality lessons. More focused subject specific planning helps gifted children excel, while specialist teachers are more familiar with subject specific strategies to help those experiencing difficulties. The Year 5 and Year 6’s familiarity with the use of specialist teachers also helps them prepare for the transition to secondary school.
Subject specialist teaching also makes it easier to deliver a more relevant skills curriculum.
Skills Curriculum: What are the benefits?
To enhance creativity: In skills-based learning, students are pushed to think out of the box and innovate to find new ways to approach matters.
Promotes independence: In an environment that merges knowledge and skills-based learning beautifully, students tend to become independent thinkers. When skills-based learning is introduced at a young age it fine tunes students’ minds, and they grow up to be a lot more self-assured.
Encourages teamwork: Collaboration is key to good output. And through skills-based learning, children are taught to think and work together as much as they’re taught to be independent. This way, they can play on each other’s strengths.
Makes students fast learners: When students have multiple avenues to learn through, their speed of learning and grasping automatically shoots up. Using a skills-based approach can help students grasp concepts faster and also strengthen what they already know.
Develops social skills: Social skill development is imperative for any child, and through skills-based learning, children learn the basics of how to be in different social environments and react appropriately.
Makes them better at communication: Through skills-based learning, children are taught to push the boundaries and develop their vocabulary, which in turn also makes them better orators and communicators.
Is skills-based learning the learning formula for tomorrow?
Skills-based learning is not the learning formula for tomorrow. It’s the learning formula for today. Currently most skills-based learning is taking place in more informal, lifelong learning environments that come either after, alongside, or in some cases in place of formal education.
The importance of a knowledge-rich curriculum
Knowing things – and not just recalling the bald facts but deeply understanding them – gives you an upper hand. It gives you the confidence to discuss a wide range of live topics with those around you, it gives you social status. It makes you part of the club that runs the world, and gives you the inside track to change it.
A knowledge-based curriculum is about harnessing the power of cognitive science, identifying each marginal gain and acting upon it; having the humility to keep refining schemes of work, long term plans and generating better assessments.
We are currently living in an era that has been taken over by social media and other interactive internet forums. This has radically transformed the way people interact and share knowledge. The advent of the internet has seen more learners take the ‘personal’ approach in terms of how they acquire knowledge. This is especially so considering how easy it is for an individual to get online and learn just at the touch of a button. This deviates from the traditional form of learning where one had to attend a physical class with other learners and tap the information from their teacher.
The internet is now offering an advanced autonomy whereby the learner can choose when, where and how to learn. It is easy to understand why the traditional forms of education need to make realignments. The traditional systems of education that were established through the 19th and 20th century are now facing a fundamental challenge. This is especially so considering how the internet is now contradicting the monopoly of state educational systems.
It is also increasingly becoming clear how the digital world of the internet is testing established educational boundaries between the novices and experts. The internet brings with it a range of radically unique forms of learning, and this is becoming more evident with the altered social relations.
With the world slowly turning into a global village, education is now possible at any place, time and pace. Our knowledge based learning and curriculum needs to factor in all of the above, and use this wider access to knowledge to the advantage of all of our learners.