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Curriculum jargon buster
Know your 'intent' from your 'implementation'? Your 'substantive' from your 'disciplinary'? Check how much you know about these and other key terms. Share our handout with staff to help them brush up on their curriculum knowledge too.
- Intent, implementation and impact
- Curriculum breadth vs depth
- Substantive vs disciplinary knowledge
- Core vs hinterland knowledge
- Threshold concepts
- Spaced interleaving
- Vertical vs horizontal structure
- Cumulative vs segmented vs spiral curriculum
- Context dependent vs independent
- Download this article and share it with your staff
Intent, implementation and impact
What you want pupils to know and to be able to do. It's not a vision or mission statement
|How you teach your intended curriculum||The extent to which pupils have learned what you intended them to learn, and how you know this|
Curriculum breadth vs depth
|Breadth of curriculum||Depth of curriculum|
|Definition||The range of subjects taught across the whole curriculum, and the span of knowledge within each subject||How deeply specific topics within each subject are studied|
Substantive vs disciplinary knowledge
Sometimes known as declarative and procedural knowledge.
|Definition||The content that is taught as fact||Understanding about how knowledge is established, verified and revised|
Core vs hinterland knowledge
|Definition||Basic knowledge and facts to be learned and retained||Contextual knowledge, to provide deeper meaning, frame delivery, or give a sense of depth to a subject|
These terms were first used by Christine Counsell.
|Definition||Concepts that enable pupils to better understand other ideas/concepts|
|Definition||Organising and sequencing learning within other learning, rather than presenting learning as consecutive blocks|
Vertical vs horizontal structure
|Vertical structure||Horizontal structure|
|Definition||Introducing curriculum aspects in an ongoing progression throughout the school year and as pupils progress through year groups (knowledge is built on prior learning)||Curriculum aspects are introduced to pupils in different year groups at the same time (knowledge is integrated and interrelated)|
Cumulative vs segmented vs spiral curriculum
|Cumulative curriculum||Segmented curriculum||Spiral curriculum|
|Definition||Knowledge builds on and expands previous learning||Adds new skills or knowledge that are related to current context or events, or separate from existing knowledge||Revisits previous learning and adds new knowledge that is age- or stage-appropriate|
A curriculum can contain more than one of these approaches.
Context dependent vs independent
|Context dependent||Context independent|
|Definition||Curriculum that is taught through pupils' lives or experiences||Curriculum that isn't related to pupils' lives or experiences|
Download this article and share it with your staff
Nina Siddall-Ward helped us with this article. Nina is an education consultant. She's the former head of standards and learning effectiveness for a large local authority. Nina has been a headteacher in 3 schools.
We also looked at a range of articles and practitioner blogs during our research for this article:
- Senior curriculum leadership 1: the indirect manifestation of knowledge: (a) curriculum as narrative, Christine Counsell
- Taking curriculum seriously, Christine Counsell writing for Impact (Journal of the Chartered College of Teaching)
- Thinking curriculum: the one stop shop, Adam Boxer
- The language of curriculum, Rosalind Walker
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