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Change to the Australian Curriculum

Posted by Garry Collins, AATE President on 12 August 2015

The following letter was submitted for possible inclusion in The Australian of Monday 10 August 2015 but it was not selected for publication. It was in response to a front page story in the weekend edition (8-9 August) which had the (not very accurate) headline "Curriculum shifts focus to core skills".

Change to national curriculum

When I attended primary school in Queensland in the 1950s, one of the subjects I studied was a combination of history, geography and civics that was called social studies.

At high school in the 1960s, I did history and geography as separate subjects and this was still the case at high school level when I started teaching in 1969. Later, history and geography were merged into a subject called SOSE (Study of Society and the Environment). By then, I was teaching only English but this seemed to me to be a sensible response to concerns about a crowded curriculum.

When John Howard was Prime Minister, there was a call for all Australian students to study history as a separate subject. As I recall, that push was supported by this newspaper.

Because of this background, I enjoyed some wry amusement while reading your front page report that there is to be a new amalgamated subject in the Australian Curriculum called Humanities and Social Science.

I thought of that useful French expression "plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose". It also occurred to me that it is often not really helpful for politicians to meddle with the details of school curriculum.

Garry Collins, AATE PresidentAuthor: Garry Collins, AATE President
About: Garry Collins is the Immediate Past President of ETAQ and began a 2 year term as AATE President on 1 January 2014. A retired high school English teacher, he now works in the School of Education at the University of Queensland as a sessional tutor in English curriculum courses.
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