As part of the professional growth through work, I have been researching cognitive load theory as a result of student surveys. As in, based on the surveys I felt that I could improve my teaching practice through applying some of these methods. So, research I did and then based on the research developed some behaviors and routines to improve in classroom work. Below is the blog post I made to the school:
After reviewing cognitive load theory, reading a few articles, and a bit of thinking about my classroom practices, I’ve developed the following list of behaviors to work towards when conducting lessons. I am considering developing measurement tools for these routines. However, intuition says do not proscribe it too much. So, I am going to try it less formally and see how it goes.
I chose to write about null curriculum because the name intrigues me and, honestly, I had never heard this term before. In short, the null curriculum that which is left out of the taught curriculum. It is a moving target in that in one school what is null, is explicit in another. Thus, making it not null curriculum. There are several examples the article I read pointed out. In a school that focuses on strictly defined content, like detailed lists of events in East Asian history, the nature of how to define reasons and connections between those events could be left out, or null. Conversely, in a school that focuses on the design cycle, the specifics of furniture design history may be left out, null.
I, personally, have noticed the increasing awareness of social and emotional learning in schools over the last five years. We can agree that part of the value of going to school is learning to socialise, but until recently there has not been a lot of specific socialisation strategies taught. Other recent additions would be explicit teaching of deductive and inductive reasoning.
Null curriculum appears to me more of a tool, or at least a fulcrum which we place our tool against. “And finally, the null curriculum may be useful in bringing into sharp focus our knowledge of implementation possibilities.” This comes from the article I read, cited and linked below. If we examine and define the null curriculum, it gives us better insight into why we are making specific choices in what and how we teach and may illuminate areas of education we value or are deficient.
Flinders, David J., Noddings, Nel, Thorton, Steven J. The Null Curriculum; Its Theoretical Basis and Practical Implications. Curriculum Inquiry, Volume 16 No. 1. Blackwell Publishing 1986.