Pupils to get lessons on texting and blogs
A NEW school curriculum which will change the way future generations are taught in Scotland has been unveiled.
Text messaging and blogs will be used in English lessons; Scots literature and history will be at the heart of school education; environmental issues will be central in science teaching; and money and financial education will be a core part of maths.
The idea is to make school education more relevant to young people and modern life.
However, teachers warned the that new Curriculum for Excellence, due in schools next year, will fail unless more time and money is spent on training teachers and providing resources such as textbooks.
Ronnie Smith, the general-secretary of Scotland's biggest teaching union, the EIS, described publication of the curriculum as an "important milestone".
He said: "The information … is extremely comprehensive, and will enable schools to step up their own work and progress their own planning on the new curricular framework."
However, he warned: "Teachers will need the resources to support the changes in learning and teaching practice that are central to the new Curriculum for Excellence.
"The situation we are currently experiencing, with budget freezes and education spending cuts in some local authority areas cannot be allowed to continue or it will threaten to derail the delivery of the curriculum."
Rhona Brankin, Labour's education spokeswoman, said cuts to council budgets put the curriculum under threat.
She said: "We know that education in Scotland is high quality, but we recognise it is in danger of falling behind other European countries and these reforms must ensure that does not happen."
The Curriculum for Excellence has courted controversy since it emerged from a review of Scottish school education instigated by the previous Labour-Liberal Democrat regime.
It will replace the previous guidelines for 5- to 14-year-olds with a system covering age three up to 18.
Teachers have expressed concerns about the curriculum's vague nature and a lack of time to put it into place.
Other critics have warned that parents would feel their children were being treated like guinea pigs if they were not given more say, and teaching unions have criticised the consultation process.
But some have welcomed the modernisation of schooling. Environmental charity WWF Scotland said the new approach to science would help pupils get to grips with the realities of 21st-century life.
Morag Watson, education policy officer for WWF Scotland, said: "If we genuinely want our young people to be able to responsibly contribute to a more sustainable society, we are going to need to move away from the 'doom and gloom' approaches to teaching sustainability and global issues."
The new curriculum will also see the end of Standard grades, with an announcement to be made on the replacement qualifications, due to arrive in 2014, expected in June.
Compulsory qualifications for numeracy and literacy will also be introduced, but Highers will remain as the "gold standard" of the Scottish education system.
TEACHERS have responsibility for children being able to read and write as literacy is key to learning and being part of society. Children must be able to use the forms of speaking and writing they will use in modern life, such as the internet and texting, and be able to assess its accuracy – for example knowing when someone is trying to sell something. Numeracy will include the ability to budget, calculate journey times and use electronic diaries.
USING 21st century texts will make English as relevant as possible to a new generation.
Text messaging, blogs and websites will all be included in the "texts" pupils will study as narratives they are likely to encounter in modern life. Spoken English will have a greater emphasis at an earlier stage as a key skill of today's working environment.
Literature in Scots dialect will also be a fundamental part of English lessons.
IN SOCIAL subjects including history, pupils will learn about the world through a Scottish context. Scottish history will have a core role in teaching children about their local and national heritage and must be taught as part of the Higher exam. Teaching methods will enable students to link different periods of history and relate those events to the present day and other cultures.
They will also be able to put events into a political and economic context.
PLANET Earth, forces, electricity, waves and biological systems will be key topics in the new science curriculum as a way of bringing the subject up to date. New discoveries and topics such as climate change and the environment will be crucial for a 21st century approach. Pupils will also learn to appreciate the key role science plays in generating knowledge and addressing the needs of society.
MATHS will be more relevant, with money becoming a key topic. Pupils will also be taught how to interpret statistics in decision making and about the role and effect of the subject on society. Maths will also be taught through other subjects, for example patterns and symmetry in art and music or graphs in science and social studies. Algebra will also be taught at an earlier age to create deeper understanding of maths.
LANGUAGES will be taught in a practical way, in different contexts such as in the workplace. There will be a new emphasis on children gaining a working knowledge of different languages as a "national need" for Scotland's economy in a global market place.
Secondary teachers will liaise closely with primary teachers to encourage earlier language instruction at a younger age.
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Sunday 26 May 2013
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