I was talking to Jennie Wathall, author of Concept Based Mathematics the other day, and she was asking my opinion about things I though should be included on the next IB Higher level Syllabus. As I thought about this it occurred to me that we were doing things the wrong way round. I have always been rather suspicious of the way in which a syllabus, and particularly an examined syllabus, limits genuine creativity and exploration. Perhaps we could have a curriculum that didn’t depend on a list of content in a syllabus and an exam at the end.
As I thought more about this, I thought about the role of the examiner, or Quiz Master. You may have discovered and learned millions of wonderful things but, if I am the Quiz Master, I decide what I ask you questions on. Let’s get rid of the Quiz Master, and get rid of the list of topics that limits what you learn.
So, here is my new Mathematics Curriculum in outline. It is only a draft, but even in this incomplete form it has two major problems which will mean it will never be adopted by organisations like the IB. The first problem is that it is mathematical, with all the clunky and non linear learning that entails. The second is that the lack of traditional assessment means no external body can take control. The students are in control, which could never be accepted. Oh, but they would have so much fun, and learn so much.