THE SHORT COURSE IN JUNIOR CYCLE GETTING STARTED LEVEL 3. Draft Short Course Writing Guidelines. Level 3

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1 THE SHORT COURSE IN JUNIOR CYCLE Draft Short Course Writing Guidelines Level 3 GETTING STARTED LEVEL 3

2 Introduction Welcome to Short Course Development. The short course is a new curriculum component in Junior Cycle. During the NCCA consultation about Junior Cycle, schools asked for opportunities to include new and different learning experiences for their students. The introduction of short courses provides opportunities for schools to broaden the range of educational experiences they offer in Junior Cycle recognise and certify different types and smaller units of learning to engage in curriculum development and planning at local level. 2

3 Introduction / What is a short course? The short course is designed for approximately 100 hours of student engagement. Most subjects are designed for 200 hours with the exception of Irish, English and Mathematics which are 240 hours. Short courses may be devised from scratch opening up a new area of learning e.g. A teenage garden. Some short courses might be related to a subject but have a particular learning focus e.g. Everyday Maths or Local History. Short courses are flexible enough to encompass specific events or initiatives such as school musicals, Young Scientist or Active School Flag. In some cases, short courses may be made up of two or more separate but complementary parts which might be taught by more than one teacher, e.g. a Home Economics teacher and an English teacher working on a cook book. 3

4 Introduction / Quality assurance The quality of short courses is assured by the following measures: Short course developers are required to use the NCCA planning template and guidelines The NCCA has published seven short courses at Level three. Professional development is being made available by the Junior Cycle for Teachers Support Service. Schools are encouraged to publish their short courses Schools are encouraged to look at the short courses that have been developed by other schools Short Courses are aligned with level indicators for Level 3 of the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). 4

5 Introduction / NCCA Model Short Courses The NCCA has developed seven short courses: Civic, Social and Political Education Digital Media Literacy Social, Personal and Health Education Artistic Performance Physical Education. Coding Chinese Language and Culture Planning Based on our experience of working with NCCA short course developers, we know that the process takes time and is best done collaboratively. It is also recommended that developers work through the steps outlined in the Getting Started section. 5

6 Getting Started There are five phases involved in developing a short course. Three of these phases are completed before the work begins on the NCCA short course template. The five phases are: Pre-development phase Scoping phase Consultation phase Completing the short course template. Review and evaluation By working through each of the phases, developers of short courses can be more confident that they have explored fully the different ideas for the course, consulted widely and refined their thinking before finalising the short course. 6

7 Getting Started / Pre-development Phase We recommend that you set up a small working group (teachers, students and parents) to look at the following questions about your school. What is working well in Junior Cycle? (Review School Self Evaluation Outcomes.) What are the gaps in students learning experiences? What areas of learning might be of interest to and worthwhile for your students? Could you use a short course to deepen or extend students learning in a junior cycle subject? What expertise do you have available in your school community to contribute to the development of short courses? Who might be interested in getting involved in the development of short courses? How do these considerations link to your overall plan for Junior Cycle? 7

8 Getting Started/Scoping Document The short course development group is then established. This group can include students and parents as well as teachers. Its first task is to complete a scoping document for each proposed short course. You can download the scoping document here. Points to note: Significant learning in this short course: What is the important knowledge and understanding that students can gain in this short course? What skills, values and attitudes can students develop in this course? Remember it won t be possible to include everything! When making choices, ask the question... What will be of interest to and worthwhile for students in junior cycle to learn in this area? 8

9 Getting Started/Scoping Document Some short courses may be closely related to an existing junior cycle subject(s). If this is the case, have you looked at syllabuses that might be related to the proposed short course?? what, if any, are the areas of potential overlap? is this overlap likely to be helpful or unhelpful for students learning? Value and challenge When answering these questions, the student should always be the central consideration. Ask students in what way they will see the topic and the learning as being: interesting and challenging? enjoyable? connected to prior learning? relevant to future learning? useful now and in the future? Does learning in this short course build on students learning in primary education? 9

10 Getting Started/Scoping Document How will students be assessed in this short course? What might students be asked to say, do, write and/or make to show evidence of their learning? How will students learn in this short course? The Junior Cycle Key Skills overview provides an outline of what students will be learning in each of the key skills. The overview may prompt ideas about how students might learn in the short course. It is important to describe how students will be learning in this short course, e.g. researching, creating, presenting, performing, discussing, designing. Check out different approaches to teaching and learning here. What opportunities are there for formative assessment? Formative assessment can be used to provide feedback to students about their learning and to adapt teaching to meet students learning needs. More ideas on assessment here. 10

11 Getting Started/Consultation phase The short course scoping document can now be used as a basis for discussion about the proposed short course, its relevance for students and how the school might accommodate it in its junior cycle programme. It is important to consult with teaching colleagues, students and parents. Each of these groups will provide relevant and focused feedback to inform the development of the short course. Click here for some ideas on how to consult with these different groups. 11

12 The NCCA Short Course planning template 2 A GUIDE TO WRITING SHORT COURSES IN JUNIOR CYCLE Title of short course For Example: The Joy of Garbage: Learning about sustainable living. Its news to me: The role of media in our lives. 1. Introduction to junior cycle Junior cycle education places students at the centre of the educational experience, enabling them to actively participate in their communities and in society and to be resourceful and confident students in all aspects and stages of their lives. Junior cycle is inclusive of all students and contributes to equality of opportunity, participation and outcome for all. The junior cycle allows students make a greater connection with learning by focusing on the quality of learning that takes place and by offering experiences that are engaging and enjoyable for them, and relevant to their lives. These experiences are of a high quality, contribute directly to the physical, mental and social wellbeing of students, and where possible, provide opportunities for them to develop their abilities and talents in the areas of creativity, innovation and enterprise. The student s junior cycle programme builds on their learning to date and actively supports their progress in learning and in addition, supports them in developing the learning skills that will assist them in meeting the challenges of life beyond school. Getting Started/Planning template You can download the short course planning template here. When completing the template, keep in mind the audience - teachers, students and parents. The language should be clear and accessible. Each section should be concise and address the questions in the template. Title of short course The title should clearly identify the content and focus of the short course. It should be interesting and attractive for junior cycle students and their teachers. 1. Introduction to junior cycle This section is common to all specifications and summarises the main features of the Framework. The NCCA provides this text. 12

13 2. Rationale (Example from NCCA SPHE short course) In SPHE students have opportunities to revisit different themes which focus on developing self-awareness and respect for others, and the skills of selfmanagement, communication, coping, decision making and relating to others. This spiral approach of re-visiting key ideas and topics is familiar from existing approaches to SPHE. This new course builds on this approach but also emphasises the importance of student agency and engagement in the learning process as key to learning in the affective domain. The skills involved are vital for self-fulfilment, for living in communities and for full engagement in learning beyond SPHE. Personal reflection, resilience and empathy are also promoted through SPHE. Relationships and sexuality education (RSE) is important for young people at this stage of their lives. They are exposed to a lot of information about relationships and sex from informal sources, the media and online. SPHE provides the context within which young people can learn about important physical, social, emotional and moral issues around relationships, sexual health, sexuality and gender identity, including where to get reliable information from trusted sources. It is important to build on students learning in SPHE in primary education too. Learning in SPHE is essentially supported by a positive, empowering whole school environment and relevant school policies/guidelines including RSE, anti-bullying and substance use policies, and Child Protection Guidelines. This broader context for learning in SPHE helps to ensure that students learn to make informed decisions about their health and wellbeing. These decisions are further supported and encouraged by school, community and national policies and guidelines. 3. Aim (Example from NCCA draft short course ) This short course aims to develop students positive sense of themselves and their physical, social, emotional and spiritual health and wellbeing. It also aims to build the capacity of young people to develop and maintain healthy relationships. A GUIDE TO WRITING SHORT COURSES IN JUNIOR CYCLE Getting Started/Planning template 2. Rationale The rationale should answer questions such as why learning in this short course would be interesting and challenging for students in junior cycle how it is relevant inside and outside school. Check out the ideas you have identified in the scoping document to inform the development of the rationale. 3. Aim The aim should be a brief statement that outlines the expected impact of the course on students learning. The aim is aspirational in nature and should describe the big picture thinking behind the short course. 13

14 4. Links (Example from NCCA CSPE short course) A GUIDE TO WRITING SHORT COURSES IN JUNIOR CYCLE a) Statements a) of Statements learning of learning (SOL) Getting Started/Planning template Statement The student values what it means to be an active citizen, with rights and responsibilities in local and wider contexts. SOL 7 The student understands the origin and impacts of social, economic, and environmental aspects of the world around her/ him. SOL 9 The student has the awareness, knowledge, skills, values and motivation to live sustainably. SOL 10 Brings an idea from conception to realisation. SOL 23 Examples of relevant learning in the course Across the three strands students learn about issues that concern them and the wider world and consider their role and responsibility in bringing about change. The course encourages student-led action based on an understanding of human rights and social responsibilities. Students maintain reflective journals to help them record the knowledge, skills and insights they have gained as they become active citizens. This short course facilitates students in understanding the causes and consequences of a range of global challenges and helps them to identify how different issues, people and places are connected. Students also explore the role and relevance of economic and political structures to their lives and what role Ireland can play in creating a more just and sustainable future. Throughout this short course students are challenged to consider their role in contributing and responding to the challenges currently facing the world. Strand 2 explicitly addresses the topic of sustainable development invites students to discuss the various sustainable living strategies they can employ in their lives. In each strand students must decide upon, plan and carry out two actions. The student s action record requires that there is reflection upon actions both in terms of how the action was conceived and realised. 4. Links In this section, the ways in which the short course links to the statement of learning and the range of key skills are outlined here. For more information on these, click here. 4. a) Junior Cycle 24 Statements of Learning In this section, you are asked to identify the 3/4 statements of learning to which this course relates significantly, including a brief description of some relevant learning provided in the short course. 14

15 Example from NCCA CSPE Short Course b) Literacy and numeracy skills Literacy and numeracy skills are embedded across each of the CSPE short course strands and integrated into the learning outcomes. Students develop their oral literacy skills through the strong focus on communication, discussion and debate across each of the CSPE short course strands. They develop their reading and comprehension skills when they research, examine and explain case studies and information related to the topics under discussion. Students writing skills are developed as they source and record information on issues of concern and relevance to them and as they write reflections on their learning. Their digital literacy skills are developed as they use digital technology for research and presentation purposes. Media literacy skills are developed when students examine the role of the media in a democracy. Students develop their numeracy skills as they carry out surveys, access and interpret numerical data, examine the distribution of global resources and participate in mock elections. Students also develop an awareness of the use and misuse of data. This course helps students see trends, patterns and relationships between issues. It also develops their numeracy skills as they consider the causes and consequences of different social, economic and political problems and examine how different issues, people and places are connected. Getting Started/Planning template 4. b) Literacy and Numeracy Section In this section, give three examples of how this short course contributes to the development of literacy and numeracy. Check out these links for more information about literacy and numeracy in the curriculum: Department of Education and Skills Strategy document, Literacy and Numeracy for Learning and for Life Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST) numeracy and literacy resource National Behaviour Support Service: publications and resources in support of literacy and numeracy Junior Certificate School Programme: literacy and numeracy 15

16 c) Key Other skills Key Skills Being Creative Key Skill Key skill element Student learning activity Imagining Students use their imaginations to develop empathetic thinking by considering issues from different perspectives. Getting Started/Planning template 4. c) Key Skills Managing information and thinking Communicating Thinking creatively and critically Discussing and debating Students question their assumptions and the assumptions of others. They are encouraged to reflect on their understanding and review it in light of new information. Students become more confident in class debates and discussions as they learn how to present their opinions and support them with evidence from case studies and/or numerical data. While it is desirable that all key skills have a presence in the course, some will be more prominent than others. Provide examples of some of the learning activities in which a student might expect to participate that will develop each key skill. Managing myself Staying well Being able to reflect on my learning Being social and safe Students keep a reflective journal in which they write about how their learning relates to their lives. They also reflect on and evaluate progress in carrying out their actions. Students become aware of themselves as local and global citizens with rights and responsibilities and make decisions based on the common good. The Junior Cycle Key Skills overview can be accessed here. Check out the Key Skills toolkits with lots of ideas about learning activities designed to develop the key skills. Working with others Contributing to making the world a better place There is a strong focus on linking learning with action within this course. Through their actions students become more empowered and see how, through working with others, they can make a real difference. 16

17 5. Course overview (Example from NCCA SPHE short course) Strand 1 - Physical activity for health and wellbeing Strand 2 - Games Strand 3 - Individual and team challenges Strand 4 - Dance and Gymnastics By participating in each of the four strands, students learn to improve a range of transferable movement skills and competencies so that they can develop their performance in different physical activities. They are also encouraged to build their commitment to physical activity for their health and wellbeing. Each school will decide the order in which the strands are taught and, where appropriate, providean equal time weighting for each strand to ensure a broad, balanced and developmentally appropriate programme covering all four strands of the course. Strand 1 Physical activity for health and wellbeing Getting Started/Planning template 5. Course Overview This section provides an overview of the course including how it is organised (strands) and learning outcomes. Students learn about... How to monitor and improve their physical fitness Students should be able to Each strand outlines what the student will learn in that section of the course. The strand title is brief and identifies the significant content. Physical activity for all There should be a maximum of four strands and these may be further subdivided into not more than four topics. The topics are presented in the order in which they are best learned. Some strands may have a different weighting than others in terms of content and/or demands on the student. This should be made explicit on the planning template. 17

18 Getting Started/Planning template 8. Expectations for students Examples of student work will be used to illustrate the expectations for students learning in the short course. These examples will relate directly to one or more learning outcomes. The features of quality are the criteria which teachers will use to judge students work. The examples of students work will be annotated, indicating whether the work is in line with, ahead of, or below expectations using the features of quality to make these judgments. Schools are encouraged to generate samples of student work as learning in the short course proceeds. 18

19 Strand 1 Physical activity for health and wellbeing Students learn about How to monitor and improve their physical fitness Physical activity for all Students should be able to 1.1. set SMART improvement goals based on their healthrelated and/or performance-related fitness results and advised by norms for their age and sex 1.2. apply principles of training within a personalised physical activity programme (minimum duration of sixweeks) designed to improve their health-related and/or performance-related fitness, documenting their progress 1.3. evaluate their engagement and progress in the programme, providing evidence of progress made and identifying ways they can further develop use a range of measurement techniques to monitor and analyse physical activity levels across a sustained period of time 1.5. identify a range of strategies to support ongoing participation in health-related physical activity 1.6. lead physical activities that young people find enjoyable and can undertake to achieve the minimum physical activity recommendations for health. Getting Started/Planning template Learning Outcomes: Some guidelines Learning outcomes are clear statements about what is expected each student will achieve as a result of the learning associated with each strand. It is not necessary to write a learning outcome for everything you want the student to learn. But it is necessary to write learning outcomes that draw a clear picture of the kinds of learning that is envisaged in the short course. Writing learning outcomes takes time and careful consideration. Detailed guidance on writing learning outcomes is available here. Remember there is a maximum of four learning outcomes for each topic in each strand. 19

20 Getting Started/Planning template 6. Assessment and Certification Assessment in Short Courses The purpose of assessment in the short course is to support learning. Assessment is both formative and summative. Formative assessment - students and their teacher use the criteria for success to reflect on their learning and to plan their next steps. Include examples of formative assessment tasks in the planning template. Summative assessment - students are required to complete not more than three assessment tasks designed to gather evidence of their learning. The features of quality for these assessment tasks are outlined in the assessment section of short course planning template. Assessment and Moderation Toolkit Look at an example of assessment here. 20

21 Getting Started/Planning template 7. Assessment and Certification For the purposes of certification, the assessment of short courses will: be carried out in the school by the teacher be subject to a process of moderation be based on work undertaken by students in second and/or third year include work showing the student s application to and progress in learning as well as exhibiting the achievement of the student. 21

22 8. Resources Getting Started/Planning template 8. Resources In this section, you are asked to provide examples of resources for teaching and learning for the short course. It is important to consider how these resources support students learning in each of the strands enable all students to experience success appeal to students with special needs, i.e. those who have physical/medical and or specific learning difficulties require students to develop their digital media skills. Remember! Where possible use resources that are either freely available or inexpensive. 22

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