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Review of the Australian Curriculum

Posted by Garry Collins, ETAQ President on 15 January 2014
Most members will be aware that the federal Education Minister, Christopher Pyne, has appointed a 2 person panel to conduct a review of the Australian Curriculum. The panel members are Professor Kenneth Wiltshire and Dr Kevin Donnelly.

Information on the review and how to make submissions can be found here http://www.studentsfirst.gov.au/review-australian-curriculum

Submissions may be made up until 28 February.

ETAQ intends to make a submission and will also contribute to an AATE submission. Below are some initial ideas on what the ETAQ submission will include.

Members are invited to contribute to the ETAQ submission by emailing me at gazco48@bigpond.net.au
  1. The submission would relate mainly to the English Curriculum but also touch on the General Capabilities (in particular, literacy) and the Cross Curriculum Priorities.
  2. The current Australian Curriculum: English (AC:E) does not represent everything that AATE and ETAs wanted but it has much of value and we acknowledge the efforts of ACARA to reconcile competing views by stakeholders.
  3. The AC:E has not been in steady state implementation for long enough for a review to really be of value. Accommodating further changes before the current ACARA document has properly been tested would be wasteful of teacher time and effort that could better be spent on extracting the maximum value from the current document.
  4. Because of the work already invested by teachers and schools across the country, any changes to the AC:E and literacy General Capability should be minimal.
  5. Curriculum documents need to be reviewed on a regular basis but too much change in too short a time is wastefully disruptive and impede the efforts of schools to deliver quality education.
  6. The interests of students are not best served when teacher time and effort are absorbed in accommodating too many changes in too short a period.
  7.  It will not be putting students first to simply rename some elements that remain essentially the same. In an opinion piece in The Oz on 10 Jan Pyne wrote: “It (the curriculum) must be both content-rich and, importantly, focus on the 21st-century skills of critical thinking, team work, problem solving, creativity, analytic reasoning and communication.” These sound remarkably like the existing General capabilities.
  8. It is too soon for recent results in PISA and the like to be attributed to the Australian Curriculum. It simply has not been in use for long enough.
  9. The Australian Curriculum has been developed based on the Melbourne Declaration. It is not true to say that it is not based on any discernible values.
Garry Collins, ETAQ President
Author: Garry Collins, ETAQ President
Tags: Curriculum matters

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