Curricula for the Common School: what shall we tell our children?

FORUM - ISSN 0963-8253
Volume 53 Number 1 (2011)

Curricula for the Common School: what shall we tell our children?
TONY BOOTH pages 31-48
DOI: 10.2304/forum.2011.53.1.31


This article gives an account of the way an opportunity has been taken to draw together ideas for a curriculum for the common school and beyond, during the writing of a new edition of the Index for Inclusion; developing learning and participation in schools (Booth & Ainscow, 2011). I discuss the way thinking about the curriculum for the common school was curtailed in the mid 1980s and has re-emerged for me following further elaboration of a values framework and a consideration of its implications for educational action. It has been prompted too by facing up to imperatives ignored in the past and clamouring for attention in the present. I consider the nature of a curriculum that builds from experience, is values and rights-based, is local and global, engages with sustainability and roots us in the past, present and future. This involves a radical re-structuring for adults and children of the knowledge and skills which frame learning activities inside and outside classrooms. I give a brief indication of how I have fleshed out curriculum areas, and how I hope for these efforts to be refined in negotiations with others. I briefly compare my own suggestions with proposals from two reviews of primary education (Alexander, 2010; DCSF 2009) and the critique of education of Nel Noddings (Noddings 2005, 2006). I acknowledge the resistance to challenge to a traditional school curriculum, and the particular pressures towards a narrowing of the secondary curriculum from the Coalition Government in the United Kingdom. I stress that, in keeping with my values, I remain optimistic that we, adults and children, working together, as we hurtle through the 21st Century, can construct curricula that are right for our time; that connect together the small and big things that really matter.

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To cite this article
TONY BOOTH (2011) Curricula for the Common School: what shall we tell our children?, FORUM, 53(1), 31-48.

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