Skip to content

What is ‘innovative curriculum’?

August 6, 2012

CC Image source:

Last Saturday was off to a mis-stepped beginning when there was no connecting bus for my 7.40 am train to get me to UNI. Luckily, a taxi waited outside Dome cafe, and I managed to make the start of this first session of our new unit focused on Leading Innovative Curriculum.

So what does that look like? If the form below is fully functional, it would be terrific to capture a range of ideas on this topic so we can compare notes.

Background reading for this unit is Colin Marsh’s Key Concepts For Understanding Curriculum and his outline of curriculum (Latin origins meaning racecourse) ranges across contexts, nods at social change, sketches political backdrops and history. But as we have seen in education for a number of years, as things change, so innovations recur and, paradoxically, curriculum remains the same.

Curriculum persists as content. The what of our teaching. Design, of course, is crucial, but it’s the implementation which can go awry (image of dust-gathering documentation). So adoption by teachers is paramount – this is the how do I do it part.

Many other variables affect the implementation process – the how. There’s the innovation itself, the local system (government), school level capacity, the district’s historical experience of change, and then a clutch of factors that sit outside those terms such as prevailing culture (can do school <——–>  stuck school), time for experimentation and allowing attitudes to shift, as well as time releasing energy for innovation – winning allies, creating conditions, and sharing the burden through collaborative processes.

<div style=”margin-bottom:5px”> <strong> <a href=”; title=”Curriculum Innovation” target=”_blank”>Curriculum Innovation</a> </strong> from <strong><a href=”; target=”_blank”>wilsdom</a></strong> </div>

I don’t know about your school context, but most of the staff at my school feel overburdened with change; their reaction seems to suggest that any more, innovative or otherwise, would be too much.

Fullan (2001) outlines the process of school change: appreciation of the implementation dip; reculturing; not enough to have the best idea; never a checklist, always complexity; redefine resistance; and – the one I kept back for last – “the goal is not to innovate the most” (p. 34).

So where does that leave us? Innovate just enough for improvements? Innovate to sustain? Or innovate just enough?

I’ll be interested to learn your thoughts, and I’ll continue reading to refine mine.


Fullan, M. (2001). Leading in a Culture of Change. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Marsh, C.J. (2004). Key Concepts for Understanding Curriculum. London: RoutledgeFalmer.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

International Education News

What's new, what's good, and what's effective in education around the world

code acts in education

learning through code/learning to code

Dodgy Perth

Sordid tales from Western Australia

Interesting Literature

A Library of Literary Interestingness


Expert opinion from the UK's leading centre for education research

the édu flâneuse

"For the perfect flâneur, for the passionate observer, it's an immense pleasure to take up residence in multiplicity, in whatever is seething, moving, evanescent and infinite: you're not at home, but you feel at home everywhere, you're at the centre of everything yet you remain hidden from everybody." Baudelaire

Reflecting English

In search of classroom answers


open educator | open researcher

On an e-Journey with Generation Y

Immersing technology in the classroom and beyond into the globe!

creating multimodal texts

resources for literacy teachers

Lightning Droplets

Little flecks of inspiration and creativity

History Tech

History, technology, and probably some other stuff

Not Banjaxed...Yet

give it time

ELA in the middle

Middle School English, Language Arts

News @ CSIRO

CSIRO's news blog

Pragmatic Education

*Ideas are the currency of the 21st century*

Dennis Sparks on re·sil·ience

re·sil·ience\ri-ˈzil-yən(t)s\ noun: the ability to become strong, healthy, or successful after misfortune or disruptive change


Techniques in Learning & Teaching: Where Transformative learning & scholarly teaching meet.

Combatting Schooling Injustice: Comenius Dreaming

About schools: especially social justice, human rights and equity in education, peace building, gender, environment and food politics, and good education policy and process

%d bloggers like this: