The Education Version of Groundhog Day (Updated)


groundhog day

In the classic 1993 Bill Murray film Groundhog Day, Murray was forced to relive the same day over and over again until he learned from his mistakes.  Whilst only a light-hearted comedy on the surface, Groundhog Day was a timely reminder that mistakes and its consequences are repeated over and over again until they are learned from.

Every time the curriculum changes I think of Groundhog Day.  I’ve only been a teacher for a short time, yet already I have seen the curriculum change 4 times.  First it was the CSF, then it became the CSF 2, followed soon after by VELS. And the curriculum has recently been changed yet again!

And this time it’s a National Curriculum – and it stinks!

Why do they do it to us?  Just when you get used to one curriculum, they change it from another.

The cynic in me says the Government is bereft of ideas.  They know that education outcomes are underwhelming, that there isn’t much satisfaction in the quality of schools and performance indicators are not painting a rosy picture.  Yet, they don’t have a clue what to do about it.  They neither have the money, vision or gumption to make any real change, so they go for the obvious alternative – perceived change.

When asked to reflect on their achievements in Education, the former Government proudly pointed to overhauling the curriculum.  They triumphantly declared that by introducing a national curriculum, they were able to do what previous administrations couldn’t.

But they will know the truth all along – you can’t change the fortunes of an ailing academic record by altering and renaming a curriculum.  In fact, from my experience you can’t expect any change at all. Unless it is change for the negative.

Even if my cynical take is wrong, and there is some good intention behind this new curriculum, it doesn’t seem to be adding anything of substance.  A bit more grammar, a deeper focus on handwriting and a greater emphasis on history sounds good.  But when it comes down to it, it is just like my boss said both this time and last time and the time before that, “Don’t worry. It is going to be very similar to our current curriculum.”

The same mistakes over and over again …


Click on the link to read Adding Sex Education to the Curriculum Comes at the Expense of Something Else


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7 Responses to “The Education Version of Groundhog Day (Updated)”

  1. teachmefirst Says:

    Quoth a professor of mine: “Every year a little more gets added to the curriculum, but nothing gets taken away”
    The curriculum will always change because the people in charge of education have never been in a classroom. Instead, we teachers have to figure out how to manipulate the curriculum to match the values, attitudes, knowledge and skills we want our students to learn.
    Try not to get too frustrated!

  2. gdw100 Says:

    Politicians want results in under 4 years or they don’t want them at all. To invest in teachers and support them properly and let students get the education they deserve is too slow a process. Changing the curriculum and all the other peripheral stuff (and there’s plenty of it) is much easier. They don’t care if it goes wrong or does nothing because the chances are they won’t be in the job then. Instead of supporting the teachers and looking at the actual teaching we have to put up with all the other changes. It’s demonstrably pointless. Newton’s Laws don’t change and neither does their importance and neither does the age we can teach them at. It would be nice to think there’s some sound research base that changes are founded on – but given the lack of large scale research in education that’s highly unlikely.

  3. kedavis99 Says:

    I get so frustrated because every new change is supposed to make thing all better but they never allow the change time to actually take effect, it takes more than one year! My last district came up with some new great idea each year and when the state standardized test scores didn’t improve immediately they found another new great idea. Between districts and politicians constantly changing curriculum, expectations, goals, programs, etc. is it any wonder so many teachers don’t make it past the 7 year mark, or even the three year mark these days.

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