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Curriculum change

Posted by Garry Collins, ETAQ President on 18 January 2014
  • The following letter was published in The Courier-Mail on Monday 13 January 14 with the underlined words deleted and the bracketed ones inserted. The paper’s heading for a collection of four letters was “Review of curriculum motivated by politics”.

Some members of the general public (people) might naively think that a new curriculum document can be approved one week and, in response, what happens in classrooms will start to change the next. It just doesn’t happen like that.

It takes considerable time for teachers to properly get their heads around the new requirements, to review their current programs in light of them, and then to make appropriate alterations to year plans and units of work.  Long term change to routine classroom practice takes longer again.

Steady state teaching in schools is already a demanding full-time job. Accommodating change to the curriculum documents that frame (frames) teachers’ planning must come on top of that, or detract time and energy from the core job of actually teaching students.

The current Australian Curriculum was developed over years and involved extensive consultation with education stakeholders. Any curriculum needs to be reviewed on a regular basis but the Australian Curriculum (national curriculum) could (is) not yet really be said to be fully understood and properly bedded down in schools across the nation.

Because of this, a review of the school curriculum by the Abbott Government would more appropriately take place in the latter half of its second term.

Another problem is that Kevin Donnelly is not a person able to command the confidence of the majority of the education professionals who must enact any curriculum approved by politicians.

Minister Pyne says that the current review is about putting students first. Many of those who work in schools will see it as a cynical case of putting politics first.

Garry Collins, ETAQ President

Author: Garry Collins, ETAQ President
Tags: Curriculum matters

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