Why a Knowledge Rich Curriculum is the Key to Improving Educational Equity (World Premiere)

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.