One way to banish boredom

Tony Sherborne

I'm all for teacher innovation, relevance, evaluation and the other principles Hywel Roberts recommends for personalising your curriculum ("You can go your own way", TESpro, 6 July). Yet I feel that his article reinforces a false dichotomy. In the bad corner is the "classroom puppet", who follows the departmental scheme of work and murders children's enthusiasm. In the good corner is the innovator, the dynamic performer.

There is some truth in it - many teachers slip into the trap of being overly content-focused or activity-obsessed. But while personality is an effective treatment for death by a thousand worksheets, the prophylactic is to plan your curriculum better. Some experts advise starting with broad educational goals, including skills and habits of mind. Next, work out what evidence will prove that pupils have achieved them. Only then should you devise a teaching programme to deliver it. Follow this and you won't end up with a scheme of boring worksheets.

Tony Sherborne, Centre for Science Education, Sheffield Hallam University.

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Tony Sherborne

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