Imagine your own course!

‘Curriculum’ is such an exciting word, really. If we were go back to its etymology and look at it as Currere, or a course to be run, the possibilities of how one designs curricula are probably as limitless as the variations that this word is (mis)pronounced; curry-cue-lem, ker-ri-ke-lem, ker-ri-kem, carry-ke-lum.

During the week, during an ELIS-ETD session, I learnt about an integrated network of schools in San Diego called High Tech High ( It reminded me of the various innovative school systems I had read or heard about such as A.S. Neil’s Summerhill, John Dewey’s laboratory schools, Big Picture schools, Toto-chan’s school, etc. and it made me think: If I had been able to come up with my own school curriculum, what would it have looked like?

There was a recent Sunday Times feature on old playgrounds, and the man who had designed the old ‘dragon’ playgrounds many of us would have fond memories of said that the team had designed the playground from the angle of what playgrounds they would have liked to have as children. In the same way, I know of many teachers who teach like how they would have wanted to be taught as a student.

But what if you could go back in time and design your own curriculum for yourself?

With the benefit of hindsight and in view of current interests and inclinations, I think I would have liked to learn about shapes, lines and design through a study of fashion trends. Imagine how cool it would have been to talk about different types of paisely prints in Art lessons!

And maybe I would have enjoyed Chemistry and Physics lessons more if they had been from a food technology angle. Why must we use this kind of flour and not that? What are the chemical processes involved? How much force is needed for kneading bread?

I must confess I enjoyed the short biographic texts in Math, Science and Art textbooks more than the actual theories. How fun it would have been if there had been a way to learn those subjects from the angle of stories!


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