03 SES 02, Symposium and Book Launch: Reinventing the Curriculum - Part A
One of the defining characteristics of the new curriculum, of which the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence is an example, is the tendency to define the aims of education in terms of the personal qualities that students need to acquire rather than in terms of what they need to know or need to be able to do. Curriculum for Excellence uses the notion of 'capacities,' while other approaches use such notions as 'general capabilities,' 'cross-curricular skills,' or 'key competencies.' The shift from content to capacities repositions the student from a subject in education to an outcome of education. In this presentation I will look at the history of this idea. I show that it can be traced back to notions of Bildung and paideia, but has gained a new significance and meaning in relation to the rise of competence-based education. I raise five critical questions that focus on: the risk of a disjointed curriculum; the question of judgement; the risk of behaviourism; the question of student agency; and the role of norms and values. I demonstrate some of these problems through a discussion of one of the capacities in the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence, namely that of the 'responsible citizen'.
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