Pool of Knowlege: A Metaphor

I swim 4-5 days a week and some of my best thoughts come while I’m doing laps at the pool. Whatever I am thinking about coagulates in my brain, starts to take shape. It’s a great way for me to bring things into focus and add clarity to thoughts that are floating around.

Unsurprisingly after reading articles on curriculum philosophies, concepts, and design, my swim earlier this week was to the soundtrack of a number of overlapping ideas.

Overlapping. Laps. Pool. Pool of knowledge.

As I swam, I tried to tie it all to a pool metaphor (see image below). If curriculum (the pool of knowledge that is to be taught) is the pool itself, where does everything else fit? It’s a bit of an unwieldy metaphor, I admit, but it helped me make sense of my own thoughts on the subject.

Pool = Curriculum

Lanes = Philosophies of Curriculum, underpining everything we do as educators and institutions.

Swimmers = Concepts of Curriculum. In this early model, I have placed them in the “lane” or underlying philosophy that I thought best fits. Technology is the exception. That – to me – fits everywhere today, and is not really what I consider a distinct concept of curriculum on its own. (*A discussion with a colleague made me question whether technology is so intrinsic as to be everywhere (as I have it) or whether it is an outdated concept and should be eliminated. For now, I have left it overlapping all four philosophies.)

Finally, curriculum design. Of the three I looked at, which fits best where? My experience has shown me that all three designs (subject-, problem-, and learner-centered) can be used to approach different types of curriculum. I think it depends on the complexity of the subject, the age and makeup of the students, and the style and preferences of the instructor. I’m not perfectly happy with the following image but it’s a start.

module 2 pool snip

What lane do you swim in? One in particular? Or all of them? What does it depend on? Are we supposed to have one lane? (I don’t!).

What would you change? What haven’t I considered?  



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