The Christmas Break?

It’s that time of year when many teachers, pupils and parents feel like they are crawling to the festive finish line, eager for a mince-pie-filled break from all things school related.

Yet Christmas is a time jam packed with hidden learning opportunities, spanning every curricular area you can shake a figgy pudding at. Moreover, the best part of this holly jolly reality is that these activities won’t even feel like learning!

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Has the time to connect finally come?

Ken Muir, former GTCS Chief Exec and previously HM Chief Inspector of Education, asks: will IDL feature in the post-pandemic re-imagining of the Scottish education system?

Three recent events, which at first seemed totally unconnected, prompted me to think about where we are with interdisciplinary learning (IDL) in our schools. 

The first was my re-reading of notes I took at a pre-Covid RSE lecture given by Prof. Ian Goldin of Oxford University.  In it he said “Today is the best day of our lives because tomorrow will be much more complex.  There is no historical precedent for where we are now.”  Prof. Goldin’s words at the time struck me as being prophetic and have proved to be just that with the clear exposure of the complex connections we have at a global level shown by the devastating impact of the Covid pandemic over the past year.

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Is IDL just another Educational initiative?

The education system is notorious for its ‘new initiatives’. Understandably, we repeatedly aim to raise attainment by motivating the less than enthusiastic learner, but instead produce short-term solutions that rarely fulfil this expectation. Each decade or so we find that success in engaging the disengaged continues to elude us. Many documents are written, many person hours engaged and much funding provided to resolve this issue but frequently it is patchy, any success is short lived, and verifiable analysis of the given initiative unclear and lacking in concrete and measurable results.

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