Denis Lawton defined curriculum as “a selection from culture” but how are we to make the selection, and who gets to decide? In the absence of a clear set of guiding principles for the design of a curriculum, curriculum development becomes a kind of inflationary spiral in which people agree to other people’s preferences provided their own are also accepted. The result is too often a curriculum that is, in the words of William Schmidt, “a mile wide and an inch deep”. This lecture will present participants with a number of principles for curriculum design, that focus, in particular, on the curriculum as a device for building knowledge, and will show why access to a knowledge-based curriculum is one of the most powerful ways of increasing educational equity.
By the end of this session, participants will understand why a broad, well-balanced, knowledge-based curriculum is disproportionately effective for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, and how they can ensure a principled approach to curriculum design in their own institutions.