Additional questions and tasks for students are available here for further study.
Unit 4.1: The Aims of Primary Education
What is the relationship between the aims of primary and secondary education?
Is it possible to realise both personal and social aims?
Are there any ‘hidden’ aims within the new statement of aims for primary education?
Some people have suggested that girls and boys have different educational needs, and therefore that they require different aims. Considering single-sex schooling, do these different types of schools have different aims? What are these aims?
This unit has introduced the educational philosophies of Plato, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and John Dewey. Each has his own conception of the aims of education, and each has written about the practical implications of these aims.
Extend your familiarity with educational thinkers by researching the following thinkers, identifying their aims of education:
- John Locke
- Friedrich Froebel
- A.S. Neill of Summerhill.
Unit 4.2: The Curriculum
To what extent do you think politicians should control the primary curriculum?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of local control of the curriculum, for example by teachers and pupils?
What are your views about making a distinction between core subjects and foundation subjects?
Do you agree with the idea that the primary curriculum prior to 1988 was worse than the curriculum post-1988? Support your views by referring to evidence.
Discuss the ways in which teachers can influence changes to the curriculum through democratic and/or professional channels of communication and activism.
Unit 4.4: The Scottish Context for the Curriculum
Which aspects of Curriculum for Excellence do you think offer the most potential to deliver change in Scottish primary schools?
To what extent do you think your teacher education course is delivering the four purposes of the National Curriculum (www.ltscotland.org.uk/curriculumforexcellence/curriculumoverview/aims/fourcapacities.asp) for you as a learner? Does it matter? What might you change to reflect them more closely?
Think back to your own primary education. Can you think of one example of each of the seven principles (Challenge and Enjoyment, Breadth, Progression, Depth, Personalisation and Choice, Coherence, and Relevance) in operation during your primary years?
What do you think is most likely to impede change in Scottish primary schools?
List four ways in which formative assessment might influence the primary school curriculum you provide when you are teaching.
- Why is it important to have summative assessment information also available? How might this influence your curriculum?
- What might happen to the curriculum if a primary teacher was over-reliant on one or the other?
- What else might a teacher have to know about the children in a class and how might this inform the curriculum content and pedagogy?
Work with a colleague on the course. Pick one curricular subject. Consider what might be different about the knowledge, skills, beliefs and experiences that individual children bring to school in relation to one aspect of this subject. How would you find out about their starting points, and how could you use their experiences in your teaching?