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시험 준비 공부로 인한 초등교육의 문제점 지적

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주영한국교육원
Date
21:07 23 Feb 2009
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3098
시험 준비 공부로 인한 초등교육의 문제점 지적
- Cambridge Primary Review의 초등학교 교육과정 개선 의견 -

□ Cambridge Primary Review
- 캠브리지 대학이 2년 이상에 걸쳐 초등학교 교육을 분석 연구하고 그 주요 결론을 발표했으며 본 보고서는 금년 여름 발표 예정임
- 금년 발표를 앞두고 있는 초등학교 교육과정 개정 방향에 관한 Rose 보고서를 염두에 두고 캠브리지의 Robin Alexander 교수 주도하여 연구한 결과임
- 3년 동안 학문적인 연구, 29편의 논문 조사, 수 십 차례의 공청회 등을 통하여 작성된 초등교육 전반에 관한 검토 보고서

□ 주요 내용
- 국가시험 준비를 위한 폭 좁은 교육으로 초등교육이 내몰리고 있다
- 이해와 탐구보다 암기와 기억이 중시되고, 토론과 문제해결학습이 뒷전으로 밀려나고 있다
- 수리(numeracy), 문해(literacy) 능력 향상에 지나치게 초점을 맞추면서 미술, 음악, 인문과목 등이 소홀히 되고 있어 어린이들이 폭 넓은 교육을 받을 기회를 박탈당하고 있다
- 11세에 치르는 Key Stage 2의 국가시험에만 초점을 맞춘 교육으로 초등교육이 지향해야 할 목표를 놓치고 있다
- 교육과정이 지나치게 성취기준 목표 도달(standards agenda)에 매달려 있어서 수업시간의 절반 정도를 문해, 수리에 투자하고 그 외의 많은 과목들을 나머지 시간에 가르치는 형편이다
- 가장 피해를 보는 과목들은 예술 및 인문과목들이고, 모든 과목에서 토론, 문제해결, 심화탐구를 요하는 부분들이 소홀히 되고 있다.
- DCSF와 QCA가 지나치게 규범적이고(prescriptive) 학교의 세세한 부분까지 관리(micro-managing)하고 있다

□ 개선 의견
- 초등교육과정의 전면적인 재검토가 필요하다.
- 어린이들이 폭 넓은 교육을 받을 수 있도록 해야 한다.
- 성취도 평가와 학교순위표(league table)에서 교사들을 벗어나게 해서 좀 더 자유롭고 창의적인 교육을 시킬 기회를 줘야 한다.
- 복지, 문화 활동 참여, 상상력 활용 등을 포함한 12개의 목표에 기본을 둔 교육과정으로의 변화가 필요하다.
- 가르치는 시간의 30% 정도에 대하여 교사에게 자율권을 부여해야 한다.

□ 반응
- DCSF 대변인: “Alexander 교수님의 노고에 감사드리며 Jim Rose 경이 이 보고서를 관심을 갖고 검토할 것으로 생각 한다”
- ATL(Association of Teachers and Lecturers) 위원장 Mary Bousted :"정부에서는 이러한 의견에 주의를 기울이기를 바라며 초등교육의 목표에 관하여 토론을 통한 재검토를 해야 한다“
- NUT의 Christine Blower : "깊이와 신뢰성이 있는 연구이며 초등학교 교실의 현실을 잘 반영하고 있다“


Tests blamed for blighting children's lives
-Landmark study of primary schools calls for teachers to be freed of targets-

- The Guardian,09.02.20


The review says a narrow national curriculum and excessive testing limit children's enjoyment of school.

Children's lives are being impoverished by the government's insistence that schools focus on literacy and numeracy at the expense of creative teaching, the biggest review of the primary school curriculum in 40 years finds today.
Labour has failed to tackle decades of over-prescription in the curriculum and added to it with its own strategies in literacy and numeracy, which take up nearly half the school week, the Cambridge University review of the primary curriculum found.

Children are leaving school lacking knowledge about the arts and humanities having spent too many years "tied to a desk" learning times tables, the head of the review, Robin Alexander, said.

"Our argument is that their education, and to some degree their lives, are impoverished if they have received an education that is so fundamentally deficient," he said.

Professor Robin Alexander tells Polly Curtis of the damage caused by too much testing and a narrow focus on literacy and numeracy

The report says schools should be freed of Sats and league tables to allow them to make more decisions about what and how they teach.

The compulsory daily act of worship should be reviewed and a curriculum that values knowledge and understanding as well as basic skills should be brought in, it says.

Independent of the government and funded through charitable donations, the review is based on three years of academic research, 29 research papers and dozens of public meetings around the country. It marks 40 years since the last wholesale review of primary education and presents a blueprint for a curriculum that would give teachers control of 30% of their time to teach what they want.

Teaching unions, headteachers and major educational bodies all backed the plans, setting the government on a collision course with schools if it fails to consider the proposals.

The review finds:
• Children are losing out on a broad, balanced and rich curriculum with art, music, drama, history and geography the biggest casualties.
• The curriculum, and crucially English and maths, have been "politicised".
• The focus on literacy and numeracy in the run-up to national tests has "squeezed out" other areas of learning.
• The Department for Children, Schools and Families and the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, which sets the curriculum, have been excessively prescriptive, "micro-managing" schools.

The review accuses the government of attempting to control what happens in every classroom in England, leading to an excessive focus on literacy and numeracy in an "overt politicisation" of children's lives. Despite this too many children still leave primary school having failed to master the 3Rs.

Sats have also narrowed the scope of what is taught in schools, it claims, concluding: "The problem of the curriculum is inseparable from the problem of assessment and testing."

Christine Blower, acting general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said the proposals "have depth, credibility and, above all, respond to the realities of the primary classroom".

Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said: "Rather than continue to tinker around the edges of primary education we would like the government to heed the proposals and reopen the debate about the purposes of primary education."

The DCSF said the report would be considered by Sir Jim Rose, who has been commissioned to review the curriculum concentrating on "workable recommendations for change ... in order to give teachers more freedom and flexibility". "Ed Balls [schools secretary] has made it clear that he wants it to be the most fundamental review of the primary curriculum for a decade," the DCSF added. "Sir Jim will publish his findings later this year."



Schoolchildren's lives 'are being impoverished'

-Too much testing and too little learning in primary schools has let down a generation, says major inquiry-

-The Independent 09.02.20

A generation of schoolchildren have had their lives "impoverished" by rigid testing and an over-emphasis on the "three Rs", the most authoritative investigation into primary education for more than 40 years has concluded.

The Cambridge Primary Review warns today that Britain's schools are in "severely utilitarian and philistine times". As a result, primary pupils are missing out on the kind of broad education promised when the national curriculum was first introduced 20 years ago – with potentially disastrous results and fewer opportunities later on in their lives.

Instead, they face a rigid testing regime, with more than half of all class room time spent on the core subjects of maths and English, with virtually all other topics squeezed out.

"The most conspicuous casualties are the arts, the humanities and those kinds of learning in all subjects which require time for talking, problem- solving and the extended exploration of ideas," the report concludes. "Memorisation and recall have come to be valued over understanding and enquiry – and transmission of information over the pursuit of knowledge in its fuller sense."

The conclusions of the researchers, led by Professor Robin Alexander, are a damaging blow for the Government, which trumpeted its achievements in primary schools as one of the successes of Tony Blair's administration. The report warns: "The initial promise – and achievement – of entitlement to a broad, balanced and rich curriculum (through the national curriculum) has been sacrificed in pursuit of a narrowly conceived 'standards' agenda.

"Our argument is that children's education and their lives are impoverished if they have received an education that is so fundamentally deficient."

In an attempt to drive up standards, creative lessons have been replaced by numeracy tuition and "literacy hours". These were expected to take up half of all classroom time but, because they ignore such crucial elements of English as speaking and listening, even more time has to be devoted to them outside literacy hour. Such strategies, argues Professor Alexander, must be brought back into the national curriculum to free up more time for other subjects.

He also criticises the Government's official review of primary education, due out next month, arguing that its author – the former head of Ofsted, Sir Jim Rose – had a remit that was too narrow, had avoided issuing a verdict on testing and had accepted that most of the Government's reforms were right.

The Cambridge team, who received submissions from 800 organisations during their two-year study, said primary education was not a simple choice between raising standards or a broad curriculum. Attainment could be improved only if pupils were given wide-ranging, stimulating and enjoyable lessons, they said.

Some children questioned by the panel accepted that they needed to learn reading, writing and arithmetic, but stressed that this was not enough. Professor Alexander added: "They said 'we get really excited by the arts and history and science, and by being encouraged to be creative'. Their parents agree with them. Science, art, geography and history – we are saying these things should be [in the curriculum]. To argue that they should be removed is pure folly. Standards, breadth and entitlement have to go hand in hand. It is not good enough to say that because the basics are important, that's all that matters."

He cited two reports by Ofsted, the education standards watchdog, on high-achieving schools. "They appear to be saying you must concentrate on standards in the basics but, if you do so at the exclusion of other things, you actually shoot yourself in the foot."

At present, Professor Alexander reports, the national curriculum is seen by teachers as "overcrowded, unmanageable and, in certain respects, inappropriately conceived".

A review of testing at the age of 11 is needed, he adds, because "breadth competes with the much narrower scope of what is to be tested" in the last year of primary school. He says: "In these severely utilitarian and philistine times, it has become necessary to argue the case for creativity and the imagination on the grounds of their contribution to the economy alone ... We assert the need to emphasise the intrinsic value of exciting children's imaginations."

Professor Alexander recommends that only 70 per cent of lessons should be devoted solely to the core curriculum, with the remaining 30 per cent set aside for other topics such as local history.

Teachers' leaders and Opposition MPs welcomed the findings. Michael Gove, the shadow Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, said: "I share the review's concerns about a narrow curriculum damaging standards. One in five pupils failed to get even one GCSE last year because they never got a proper start in primary school."

John Bangs, of the National Union of Teachers, said underachievement in schools would not be tackled as long as teachers felt "inhibited" about being more creative with their lessons.

A spokeswoman for the Government said Sir Jim would "no doubt" read the Cambridge Primary Review before making his own recommendations.

Curriculum report: Must do better
Key areas of concern:
* Long-term educational goals have been replaced by short-term targets.
* Curriculum overload – many teachers believe far too much is prescribed for the time available.
* Loss of children's entitlement to a broad, balanced and rich curriculum – with arts, the humanities and science under threat.
* Tests have led to memorisation and recall replacing understanding and inquiry as the key goal in the classroom.
* "Politicisation" of the curriculum with accompanying rhetoric of "standards".
* Pressure at start of primary school to begin formal lessons too early with tests for four and five-year-olds.
* Excessive prescription has led to loss of flexibility and autonomy for schools.
* Historic split between the "basics" and the rest of the timetable has led to "unacceptable" difference in the quality of provision between the two.
* Mistaken assumption that high standards in "the basics" can be achieved only by marginalising the rest.

What needs to be done:
* Scrap singling out time for literacy and numeracy strategies and reintegrate them into the national curriculum. At present they count for half of the timetable and elements of English (such as speaking and listening) have to be taught outside them.
* Restore aim of original national curriculum that children are entitled to a broad and balanced education (giving equal weight to core subjects and elements like the arts and humanities).
* Review assessment and testing arrangements – dubbed "the elephant in the room" – which overshadows the entire curriculum.
* Devote just 70 per cent of time to national curriculum – with 30 per cent to a locally agreed curriculum (such as learning about local history).