At Phoenix Academy we place the curriculum at the heart of school life. It drives all other decisions that we make, and is the best means we have of demonstrating as a school what we believe in, and what we stand for.
In essence our curriculum is designed to ensure that all pupils at Phoenix acquire knowledge that they cannot learn at home and that the specified curriculum knowledge is based on the most coherent and tested ways of conceptualising the world that we have. So at Phoenix Academy we explicitly teach a rich foundation of subject-specific and broader cultural knowledge that enables us to prioritise depth through breadth; so that pupils learn to master control of the English language through subject-specific teaching.
- Focus on the core underlying disciplinary or threshold concepts within each subject that give structure and meaning to the domain-specific knowledge.
- Acknowledge that critical thinking is not a set of skills and strategies that can be directly taught, practiced and applied to any topic.
- Acknowledge that students need deep knowledge of a subject in order to think creatively or critically about it.
- Acknowledge that to “think like a scientist,” a student must know the facts, concepts and procedures that a scientist knows and must see the teacher as more knowledgeable expert.
- Prove that almost all students should be able to learn almost all material in a standard school curriculum.
- Acknowledge that if students have not learned material early in a curriculum, they will have more difficulty with material later in the curriculum.
- Ensure that the core concepts of a subject discipline that organise the knowledge of experts also organises teaching.
“To instruct someone... is not a matter of getting him to commit results to mind. Rather, it is to teach him to participate in the process that makes possible the establishment of knowledge. We teach a subject not to produce little living libraries on that subject, but rather to get a student to think mathematically for himself, to consider matters as an historian does, to take part in the process of knowledge-getting. Knowing is a process not a product.” (J. Bruner, 1960)