'The Good, the bad and the Ugly': The vicissitudes of building participation into curriculum design

  • Antony Johnston: Curriculum Development Coordinator, CLTAD

Brief description of session and activities

This paper considers collaboration from the perspective of participative pedagogy.

Within Education for Sustainability it is widely understood that different pedagogic models are needed to help create a more sustainable world. Such approaches represent a move from teacher-centred to student and eco-centred methods as well as a greater focus upon praxis and emergent curriculum (Sterling, 2001, 2003 and 2009). In order to facilitate this, curriculum design needs to build opportunities for participation that include peer-to-peer and teacher-peer collaboration which challenges the traditional role of teacher as knowledgeable ‘master’.

Such a shift however is difficult to design and actualise in practice, this paper will present a number of case studies of ‘success’ and ‘failure’ and provide a series of conceptual tools drawn from participatory practice (Haque 2010), design (Sanders and Stappers 2008) and group process literature (Bion 1961) to understand the difficulties of both designing and facilitating this shift. By providing a framework to reflect upon examples of practice and participants’ own experience the aim is to foster a more critical approach to thinking about participation and collaboration in curriculum design. The precise structure of the work is yet to be finalized, however for examples of similar work please see http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern-tanks/special-event/misguided-tours - a project devised by Alex Schady with Tate Modern and a group of 30 primary school children.

This session will cross borders by disturbing expectations and transgressing assumptions about teaching, learning (and workshops).

How will students be involved in the session?

‘Participants’ will be involved in reflecting/sharing own experiences of trying to facilitate participative/collaborative pedagogy.

What will participants take away from the session?

A framework for rethinking and planning participation into curricular.