The following letter was submitted for possible inclusion in the edition of The Australian for Monday 13 October 2014 but, alas, it was not selected for publication.
Woolly phrases in the eye of the beholder
In reporting on the imminent release of the report of the review of the Australian Curriculum by Professor Kenneth Wiltshire and Dr Kevin Donnelly, Greg Sheridan cites “creative-thinking skills” as an example of the “woolly phrases” that need to be removed from the document (“Back to basics in new curriculum: literacy and numeracy to the fore”, 11-12/10). The General Capability he seems to be referring to is, in fact, called critical and creative thinking.
In an opinion piece published in this newspaper on 10 January (“Putting critical content back into curriculum”), Education Minister Christopher Pyne wrote that the reformed curriculum needed to focus on what he called “21st-century skills”. His list of these included both “critical thinking” and “creativity”. These do sound rather like what Sheridan condemns as “woolly”.
And yet, in an opinion piece in the weekend edition (“Christopher Pyne’s noble quest for academic rigour”), Sheridan goes so far as to suggest that Pyne might be developing into “one of Australia’s greatest education ministers”.
Are the same phrases only woolly when they’re used by people other than the minister?
President, Australian Association for the Teaching of English (AATE)
Essential English: Community of Practice 2021
Following on from the success of last year's event for teachers of Essential English, we will be running this event again this year with some modifications. The program is available and registrations are now open. Venue: Deception Bay SHS, Phillip Street, DECEPTION BAY. Registrations will close on Saturday 30 October. Interes...
Grammar PD term 4
To assist attendees to develop their understandings of grammar in order to fully comprehend and to effectively teach the Australia Curriculum: English (AC:E), a further session will be held on Saturday 20 November at John Paul College. The flyer gives further details. Registration will close on 14 November. ...
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