Having written the previous blog about spiral curricula, I was reminded by Luton music teachers, and by Dr Lis McCullough, that a spiral curriculum also exists in the Charanga course. So thanks to both. Here is the image in question:
Many thanks also to Maddie Casson of Charanga for supplying the image, and allowing me to cite it in this blog. Maddie asked me to point out that although the full Charanga scheme needs a code to access, anyone can access a free no obligation trial so they can check it out for themselves:
This I am pleased to do! I also know that some music hubs provide access to Charanga for schools in their area, so this image may well be common currency already? And maybe there are other spiral curricula for music education out there too?
The Charanga spiral is interesting, it forms a basis for the rest of the Charanga Musical School Scheme, and to me this seems to have a lot in common with the pioneering work of the MMCP I wrote about last time. So we can trace a clear lineage through from Bruner, via MMCP, to the present day, which is reassuring.
I have had a number of discussions with people about the nature of spiral curricula since then, and one thing that has frequently cropped up in these is the ready understanding of movement through the spiral – of whatever form the spiral takes – combined with a concern about the nature of linear progress being forced upon teachers and learners.
Recently I tweeted this comment:
“If you can’t jump over bar 10cm higher than the last one you did, my salary will be affected. Try using this ladder.” Assessments I see!
Which I appreciate is a somewhat gnomic utterance, but relates in part to the fact that in some (many?) schools I visit, it is simply not permissible to give a student a grade/level/mark which is lower than their immediately previous mark. This I find daft to the point of Barking. It is of absolute zero use as an assessment. It is not based on anything other than statistical jiggery-pokery, and doesn’t tell us anything about real attainment or real progression at all. The only people it satisfies are the bean-counters, and, I guess, the kids collecting levels and grades like I used to collect Wolf-cub badges!
What seems to me is that music teachers ‘get’ the notion of a spiral curriculum, but resent having to have linear (unilinear, as I have called them, as they can only go in one direction) attainment systems forced upon them.
So, my next job (maybe) is to think about how to reconcile 3 dimensional attainment systems, with 4 dimensional (as time is involved as the 4th dimension) progression systems. (Good luck trying to represent that in 2D on my blog, methinks!)
But first I have some marking to do…