Curriculum expert

I would like to provoke you with the following question:

Are you a genuine curriculum expert or a one-trick pony?

I have some advice for young educational leaders that might be a bit controversial: “Don’t become a one-trick pony.”

Don’t stay in the one lane of IB, British, American, Australian or Canadian curriculum.

Become a curriculum expert!

I’ll admit my bias upfront…..

As an Australian, I initially specialised in the Queensland, Australian curriculum. My journey then led me through the International Baccalaureate (IBO), American, and British curricula. I feel fortunate and believe I was advantaged by gaining experience across many of the major curricula. My career started first in secondary, then moved to K-12 and beyond. From early years education, including play-based learning, to higher and vocational education.

However, my deep understanding of the foundations of best practices in teaching and learning, curriculum design, and assessment was crucial. When transitioning from one curriculum to another, I viewed each through the lens of best practice theories.

For instance, I recognised that Bloom’s Taxonomy underpins the structure of all assessment models. I was well-versed in the core principles of the most impactful teaching and learning strategies, such as Marzano’s high-yield strategies and De Bono’s CoRT thinking strategies. I understood and could critique language acquisition theories, critical thinking, literacy, numeracy and many of the “brilliant, ” “fashionable”, “questionable”, and frequently “new and emerging “best practice” ideas. As a teacher, I never taught from a textbook, never taught anything the same way and never believed what I had done previously was good enough.

curriculum expert

I could go on……

Think of the curriculum as a vehicle. Whether you drive from the left side or the right, with different levers, controls, rules, and regulations, it’s still a car. I learned how to drive, and that skill is transferable.

My favourite curriculum is the IB, where my greatest strength lies. However, my criticism of the IB community is that many practitioners become almost cult-like in their passion without truly understanding why it is so effective. Tunnel vision is limiting and can make you naive. You don’t fully understand the curriculum if you cannot find criticism in each major curriculum and debate its benefits and drawbacks.

I do understand the opposing argument about curriculum expertise and leadership!

Proponents of each curriculum will argue that true specialists do not spread themselves too thin! By specialising, you can be the very best expert in one field. However, I would argue that many of these “experts” become so narrow that they don’t really understand the field. Like sheep, they can speak to one voice, but can they unpack it, rework it, redesign it, and apply it?

“In regard to curriculum, can you take apart the engine and put it back together?”

I have met educational leaders with 30+ years of experience who can be passionate and fiercely focused in one field but vaguely superficial in debates and discussions about curriculum, teaching, and learning theory. In fact, in some cases, the longer CV might reflect less expertise.


My advice to developing educational leaders is this: you can certainly succeed by becoming an expert in one curriculum. However, you will reach even higher levels by becoming competent in multiple curricula.

GSE takes pride in understanding all curricula and applying best practices and “best of the best” approaches.

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CEO and Education Expert Greg Parry

Greg Parry

Internationally renowned for his expertise in education leadership, Greg Parry’s vast experience includes leadership of projects for education institutions throughout Australia, the Middle East, the United States, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and China. Recognised for his numerous contributions in the education arena, Greg has received the Minister’s Award for Excellence in School Leadership based on improvements in school performance and a range of successful principal training and leadership development programs, as well as the School of Excellence Award for Industry/School Partnerships and the School of Excellence Award for Technology Innovation. His company GSE (Global Services in Education) has been recognised as having the Best Global Brand in International Education in 2015 and 2016.

Considered one of the premier experts in his profession, Greg has trained teachers and principals worldwide in critical thinking, language development, and leadership. His expertise in school start-up projects, leadership, and curriculum development has made him a sought-after authority in this discipline.

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