Shake-up must look beyond school walls

4th February 2011 at 00:00

I was particularly struck by one sentence in Professor Mick Waters' article on the curriculum review: "Schooling is but part of their upbringing and the curriculum they experience will for some be a supplement to what they gain in their home and community" ("A clean slate: here's the chance the next generation deserves", January 28).

The successive curriculum reviews mentioned in the article have overlooked an important part of children's learning: the effect of the general social and cultural environment on their education. Children today grow up in a world of reality TV, a sensation-driven tabloid media and an unregulated internet.

Schoolchildren internalise the messages they receive from the society around them, which are then reflected in their interests and aspirations at school. Hence in today's culture, they might prefer messaging their friends on their mobile in class to understanding Henry VIII and the Reformation.

The review of the national curriculum should address the question of learning outside school, whether this is through visiting the local library, participation in sports or playing in an orchestra.

Shouvik Datta, Orpington, Kent.

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