Core & More Education provides pedagogical support to schools, leaders, teachers and students to ensure improved learning and increase student and teacher agency in an inquiry-based context. Through a focus on 21st Century Skills and by establishing clear and achievable success criteria through prioritization, content and assessment overload are addressed, increasing student ownership of learning and allowing more time for inquiry in a truly transdisciplinary context.
Who can benefit from the Core & More Approach?
Any school system or individual school that aims to improve, and especially those which acknowledge a teaching, learning and assessment load that does not feel manageable, can benefit from the Core & More approach. Schools that implement programmes from the International Baccalaureate (IB) Organisation may find that the many layers (Learner Profile, Approaches to Learning (ATL) Skills, etc.) that form the programmes (Primary Years Programme (PYP), Middle Years Programme (MYP) and Diploma Programme (DP)) can make it challenging for leaders and teachers to know which elements are ultimately essential when there is not enough time to authentically include all of them.
Why do schools need Core & More now?
It’s not new that we’ve been adding to our curricular programs in an attempt to meet students’ current needs – we’ve been doing that for decades. It is not only the pandemic that is forcing us to see learning through new lenses. Together, though, a situation has been created which needs a solution, not just further identification of the problems we face. ‘Happy students learn’, and they learn better with happy teachers. Core & More offers the support from the ground up that teachers and schools need now.
What is the Core & More Approach?
The Core & More approach uses a focus on 21st Century/ATL Skills to address content and assessment overload, increasing student ownership of learning and allowing more time for inquiry in a truly transdisciplinary context. The Core & More Learning Spiral illustrates the use of 21st Century/ATL Skills as a starting point in an inquiry-based context to ensure alignment and effective implementation of curricular programs.
Rather than seeing 21st Century/ATL skills as additional content, aligning core content with these skills and ensuring manageable teaching and learning loads enables effective program implementation and monitoring of individual student and cohort progress and attainment.
Establishing an Integrated Top Layer
As much as it is true that attitudes and values and even specific content about environmental education and equity, for example, can be woven into existing content in our programs, to do so efficiently and effectively requires time that most teachers don’t have. To complicate matters further, there isn’t yet agreement in the educational community about what we even call these new areas of important learning that we’re trying to incorporate.
Is it Global Mindedness or Global Citizenship?
Is it Environmental Education or Education for Sustainable Development?
Is it DEI or I-DEA?
We know what we value, and we have a vision of the many attributes we want to foster in our students, but clarity for schools and teachers is difficult to find. Core & More sets a clear path here, integrating all of these attitudes and values into one set of skills called Global Competencies. Starting a plan for learning from this important top layer ensures the comprehensive program for students we aim for.
Identifying Core Content and Core 21st Century Skills
Our ultimate aim is for students to become passionate and able inquirers, ready to work together to solve the many problems we face. In school, we know that learning content is needed to form important concepts and that skills are needed to learn and inquire. We also know that the amount of content and skills students need to learn increases as knowledge in the world increases – and this is happening at a pace at which even the most innovative schools cannot keep up with. Being clever with time and attempting to integrate further no longer works. Only prioritization will help. Core & More has identified a limited number of core learning outcomes for each subject and a set of core skills for each grade to form Learning Paths. With an extensive amount of information made realistic, teachers can have agency in their work and students can have more than just voice and choice but also true ownership of their learning.
Planning Units of Study/Inquiry
Learning Paths have been created for each core 21st Century/ATL Skill for each grade, including applicable content and important Global Competencies and attitudes and values/Learner Profile attributes. These Learning Paths can be allocated to units of study/inquiry, matching the concepts identified in each. For example, an identified core 21st Century/ATL Skill for Grade 3 is: Recognizing unstated assumptions and biases. This skill supports conceptual development of perception (key concept), culture, stereotypes and discrimination (related concepts). This Learning Path matched to a unit of study/inquiry with a Migration, Communities or Sharing Resources theme/central idea, for example, brings along content in each subject that supports the conceptual understanding and develops the skill through different lenses. It is here where students will start to see real connections in their learning as they learn about and practice this same skill in different ways, with different teachers, in different subjects.
How will we know Core & More is helping to improve learning?
There are two actions to take to achieve the Core & More aims. Separately, each action can positively impact learning. Together, the two actions can positively impact the entire learning community. Prioritzing learning outcomes, for example, makes it easier to prioritize the learning data that will be used for planning and teaching. This saves time, gives teachers and students more agency and creates more trust among stakeholders. As well, each student’s learning path and cohort learning can be more easily tracked and monitored. Get into contact to find out more about this and further powerful actions.
How can my school access Core & More materials?
Core & More can be implemented in individual schools with personalized support. Here, schools can decide the pace and order of actions to be taken, receiving expert input designed specifically for each individual context.
Access to all of the Core & More content is currently available on Qridi, an award-winning digital pedagogical tool from Finland that shares the Core & More aims to build student agency and ownership.