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Is it our 'Curriculum Thunking' wot is BROKEN?

...and Hazırlık (ELL Prep Schools)!

8 The two conferences I noted in Part 01 of this post were, in fact, a breath of fresh air - we rarely see ELT events with themes that touch on Curriculum or Quality / Standards. Many of our conferences (and we have a LOT of them here in Turkey, we do...ask the publishers who are hassled to foot the various bills) are often little more than PR vehicles for the schools that put them on. Far too many of them operate like a show n' tell or pot luck gathering - fronted by the same big names, the same faces and the same themes.

Sorry...just

Truth (mini ver 02)

I'm not sure either!

8 OK - coming back to the first of these conferences I mentioned. The idea of a conference centred on 'a LEARNing Curriculum' was just up my street - and the fact that the team at Beykent University (in Istanbul) went with this theme just made me feel chuffed to bits... 8 One of my opening slides was this one:

Only an idiot would disagree with this!8 Luckily, there were none of them around at the Beykent Conference - at least none of them came to my session. It's funny, isn't it? How the people who really need to come to conferences are exactly the people who are usually absent! The slide touched a few hearts (and minds, I hope)...I heard more than few saying how true it is...and a lot more bemoaning the fact that their institutions just did not 'get' this type of thunking! 8 However, I also noted that these statements are a wee bit motherhood'ish - they sound great...but are of little value if we do not take a closer look at ourselves:

Slide002

Only an idiot would insist that our prep programmes can do this - successfully! But, we try...boy, do we try! 8 Sure, everyone is banging on about the importance of the CEFR ('irresistible force' that it is) these days...but what happens when it hits an 'immoveable object'?

Raymond is still winning... ...and the war on 'LEARNing-by-gap-fill-exercise' has definitely taken a ceasefire - across many schools! 8 But, what happens when we bring these two facts of hazırlık life together - when we look at the consequences of placing unrealistic demands into a curriculum-free zone? I tried to highlight this by asking conference participants if we ELT professionals are guilty of the 'twins sins' that more and more of our primary and secondary colleagues are being forced to commit:

Guess what they said?

8 In the absence of an effective curriculum framework (or clear 'purpose'), we continue to 'do' the simple past on Monday...'do' the past continuous on Wednesday...and finish the week on Friday by 'doing' the present perfect (as well as every single activity in 'the book')! How we 'do' even one of these in a week is beyond me - and, what the hell does it mean to 'do' a tense anyways??? 8 And, then there's the assessment...all the exams, tests and pop quizzes we tag onto this type of curriculum practice. Even though...in our hearts of hearts...we know:

...we weigh, we weigh, we weigh!8 It's almost as if the only 'strategy' we have to maintain our 'quality standards' is the mantra...

Quality STRATEGY

But, then...I'm jumping the gun on tomorrow's post!

8

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