The Curriculum Fallacy – Part II: Learning Liberated | Peter C. Mott | 6 Min Read

As Abraham Lincoln made abundantly clear: we not only need to think anew but, equally important, we need to act anew. There has been plenty of “thinking” about new directions for learning, but pitifully little “acting” on what we’ve learned. That gap, as T.S. Eliot reminds us, is the malady of Hollow Men:

Between the idea

And the reality

Between the motion

And the act

Falls the Shadow.

T.S. Eliot

And hollow men and women aren’t going to fix the existential challenges which we and our children are summoned to grapple with. Instead, we will continue to stumble around in the shadows.

So, since existing curricula perpetuate the century-old fallacy that they lead learners out of brutish ignorance (the Latin root of “educate” literally means “to lead out”) towards a promised land of wisdom, ethical behavior, and becoming a “better human being”, what does it mean to abandon the “canon”, and all of the trappings (assessment, standardization, classification, and categorization) associated with such curricula? Don’t all children need to master literacy and numeracy skills, and gain an understanding of the scientific method, reasoned analysis, creative technique, and so on? Of course they do. And is it not…

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Peter Mott

Peter C. Mott has more than 40 years of experience as a Director of International Schools, a Director at the New England Association of Schools & Colleges (NEASC), and numerous educational Board leadership positions. He has conducted workshops at the Principals Training Center and has presented at virtually every regional conference for international schools. He has led dozens of accreditation visits to schools on every continent. He has developed innovative new curricular pathways and, together with his colleagues Kevin Bartlett and Greg Curtis, is the author of ACE Learning, NEASC’s groundbreaking new accreditation protocol which aims to transform rather than simply improve learning communities. He was instrumental in developing a symbiotic partnership with KHDA in Dubai which oversees and inspects private schools. Peter is passionate about shifting mindsets in education and challenging cherished assumptions and premises that have shaped K-12 education for more than a century. This is why, in 2017, Peter founded TreeTopVisions, a consulting and advocacy firm dedicated to looking at and re-imagining education from different perspectives and vantage points.