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The ADT Faculty within The Fernwood School was established to provide a flexible and streamlined curriculum, which responds to the needs of the students it serves and the society it supports. To achieve this objective, well-trained, highly motivated staff, are the key factor in creating an atmosphere in which students can grow in confidence and enjoy learning.
Current curricular developments in the three department areas strongly suggest that the curriculum should emphasise a process-based approach to learning rather than content specific. The subject matter and activities should allow the students to acquire and develop a range of skills through active involvement in the learning process.
We aim to stimulate intellectual development and enrich the lives of our students by arousing interest in their immediate environment and encouraging responses to it. First hand experiences through the senses are the starting point for the progressive acquisition of experience, knowledge, skills and values.
We aim to develop technological capability in our students. This encompasses understanding of appropriate concepts and processes: the ability to apply knowledge and skills by thinking and acting confidently, imaginatively and with sensitivity. The ability to evaluate activities, artefacts and systems critically and constructively is crucial whilst acknowledging individuality of interests, aspirations and needs by providing a breadth of experience and choice to which our students can relate.
Mechanisms for assessment within ADT at KS3, including how we close the feedback loop, and secure progress can be found through the following links. Formal assessments are used within the faculty as performance indicators to review students’ progress and to evaluate current courses, teaching methods and future differentiation. Formal assessments are also used as a teaching aid to instruct students on the preparation required for exams and to familiarise students with the examination process. Informal assessments are used to monitor homework and learning.
At the heart of a creative curriculum is the engagement of children with practical tasks. These tasks should specifically serve identified needs, solve problems – and for the most part work. It is considered essential that these learning activities reflect the nature of the subject within a range of contexts. These include the world of work, the development of communities and society, the environment and the ways in which technologies or technological solutions address or affect these. Students are encouraged to make, share, justify and discuss value judgements with respect to their own design decisions and those of others.
Students progress their experiences within the four elements becoming more technologically capable for example by ‘sharpening’ perspective; ‘strengthening’ confidence; ‘deepening’ sensitivity and by ‘heightening’ creativity. Capability may only be achieved through the successful integration of the four outcomes.
The methodologies and approaches to successful integration of these outcomes vary between the primary and secondary sectors. Increasingly though, liaison partnerships are smoothing the transition hiatus between primary and secondary.
Capability is assessed through: knowledge and understanding, designing and making and the development of informed attitudes. The wide-ranging content naturally lends itself to a variety of assessment strategies which can be used to focus teaching and support on student needs and in recognising achievement. Use of such assessment strategies ensures that students have experienced a successful and balanced learning in all four outcomes.
The curriculum and the learning and teaching methodologies used in the department are designed to give students opportunities to develop these capacities. Courses articulate to offer progression and appropriate challenge. The subject naturally cultivates several important aspects, particular critical and creative thinking, problem-solving, evaluating and decision making.
Experiential learning is a key approach and students are given ample scope for choice and personalisation, which helps engender enthusiasm and motivation.