Why Is The Curriculum Like a Bus Timetable?


No, not a riddle, but a question which came to mind on reading Eric Juli’s second comment on my post Rules of Engagement. Eric says:

We want teachers to use these [Assessment for Learning]  techniques when appropriate to ensure students understand what is expected during the lesson and make instructional decisions based upon the results. Do I need to reteach, or can I move on?

But will the bus stop?Now, I don’t now if this is apocryphal or not, but I heard of a case around 30 years ago of a town in England where all the buses were whizzing around the city but not actually stopping to pick up passengers. The reason was that the new timetable could only be adhered to if the bus drivers didn’t waste precious time stopping at bus stops. Yes, I hear your protest that this flies in the face of common sense, that the whole point of the bus service is to take people on a journey, not meet the needs of an artificially and apparently mindlessly conceived timetable, but with an army of inspectors waiting at the depot clutching their clipboards, what driver would be brave enough to “do the right thing”?

I’ve observed lessons in which the teacher feels obliged to race on in order to get through the scheme of work. That results in some, if not all, students being left behind. It almost certainly results also in students not being able to explore an issue in depth. In other words, it leads to either floundering, frustration or both.

Could this be one of the reasons that many students complain that ICT lessons are boring?

Further reading:

How good is the teaching of ICT? An interview with Edith, an English teenager

Rules of Engagement

Why Is ICT Boring?