Tony Gurr

What does it mean to “UNcover” a CURRICULUM? (Pt 01)

In Classroom Teaching, Curriculum on 30/09/2012 at 2:40 pm

OK – here’s a quick task (yes, I know it’s a Sunday…and you’re already thunking about tomorrow’s lessons and the “new” textbook that you ain’t been able to review properly – but indulge me)…


Place the word “curriculum” (or “curricular”) in the centre of your mind’s eye…and, think about all the synonyms that spring to mind.

Do this for about 30 seconds…

Now, think about all the other words that collocate with this amazing word

…again, give yourself 30 seconds.


I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that most of you probably thunked of around 50% of the words and phrases below:

  • (core) standards
  • assessment
  • content
  • course
  • course outline
  • coversheet
  • deliver
  • exam (or test)
  • information
  • instruction
  • knowledge
  • lecture
  • lesson
  • materials
  • pacing document
  • plan
  • programme (or program)
  • schedule
  • subject (or discipline)
  • syllabus
  • textbook
  • unit (or module)

…and that less than 50% of you came up with this little bunch:

  • belonging (or community)
  • challenge
  • choice (or opportunity)
  • collaboration
  • engagement
  • LEARNacy
  • motivation
  • ownership (or freedom)
  • real LEARNing
  • student success
  • uncover the curriculum

Am I right or am I right?


Now, either I’m really smart…or just super good at Jedi Mind tricks!

Perhaps neither (ask my wife about that first one)! Maybe, we have all been seduced by the Dark Side – seduced into believing that a curriculum CAN, in fact, be delivered…just like a bloody newspaper!

And, it ain’t only Luke that has his hands tied!


Those of you that know the blog, will have picked up that I use that last phrase (from the second list) quite a lot – hell, I’ve taken the time to evolve a few of my graphics (even when the Olympics were on the telly)!


I’ve done a lot of posts that discuss how we, as teachers, need to explore our own beliefs and underlying assumptions about what curriculum really is…and should be! I’ve even committed serious acts of serial curriculum bloggery; writing, producing and directing whole mini-series on the perils of “pacing guidelines” – and how bad they are for our healthand the LEARNing of our students!


And…yes…I know you hate it when I use pictures of brains! Sorry…


However, whenever I chat to people about these things (and me stuff on the blog) – the one thing that sticks in their minds (apart from the Flash and his interview with Superman) is that phrase: 

I get it…it is a “sexy” phrase…the perfect wordbite!


The thing I haven’t really done is…UNcover the nature of the wordbite itself!

Mmmm, do this we will…in this mini series!


…I’m gonna make you “work” a bit – and by that I mean:

Homework Zamanı!


Before next time, google the phrase “UNcover the curriculum / syllabus” – and answer these with a “pal”:


Then, tackle this one:

…and talk about it with your “buddy”!


Next, and on your own this time – chew on these two for a while:

…and then, have a coffee (or çay) to compare notes – without cookies!


See you soon!

  1. […] wrote a long series of blog posts about Uncovering the Curriculum that I spent a long time trying to understand. Through this book, I finally get it. Tony’s […]

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