Home >  Blog >  Woolly phrases in the Australian Curriculum

Woolly phrases in the Australian Curriculum

Posted by Garry Collins, AATE President on 13 October 2014

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?

Garry Collins
President, Australian Association for the Teaching of English (AATE)

Author: 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.
Tags: Curriculum matters

Post comment

Upcoming Events

Grace Loyden & the new SATE

Grace Loyden will present a session on a aspects of the new SATE at Townsville Grammar School on Saturday 28th July 2018, starting at 9:00 am. Cost is $20 which is to be paid by the website. Download the flyer for all the details. ...

Category:   Seminar
Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Saturday 28th July 2018
Venue:   Townsville Grammar School
Email Enquiries:   adminofficer@etaq.org.au


Townsville Breakfast Book Club

Grace Loyden is organising a series of Breakfast Book Clubs starting at 9:00 am on: Sunday 11 February - Burial Rites by Hannah Kent Sunday 21 April - The White Earth by Andrew McGahan Sunday 5 August - Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood Sunday 28 October - We are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler ...

Category:   Seminar
Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Sunday 5th August 2018
  Repeating On specific dates
Venue:   Jam Corner Restaurant


State Conference 2018

State Conference in 2018 will address the theme Vision 2020: Seeing the future of English Teaching. Keynote speakers: Samuel Wagan Watson is an award-winning Indigenous poet and professional raconteur. Born in Brisbane in 1972, he is of Munanjali, Birri Gubba, German and Irish descent. Samuel's first collection of poems won the 19...

Category:   State Conference
Start Time:   8:00 AM
Date:   Saturday 18th August 2018
Venue:   Lourdes Hill School
Phone Enquiries:   0455 464 000
Email Enquiries:   adminofficer@etaq.org.au


Masterclass - Unit 4

This event will provide participants with the opportunity to explore the syllabus for semester 4 in detail. English and Literature will be offered on Day One; English will be repeated on DayTwo together with EALD and Essential English. Participants may register for one day or both. Program will be available on Thursday 13 September. R...

Category:   Seminar
Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Saturday 20th October 2018
Venue:   QUT, Kelvin Grove
Phone Enquiries:   0455 464 000
Email Enquiries:   adminofficer@etaq.org.au


Beginning Teachers Day

The Beginning Teachers Day this year will be held on Saturday 27 October at University of South Queensland (USQ) Springfield campus. This day is designed to meet the needs of pre-service teachers, those in their first five years of teaching and more experienced teachers who are new to teaching English. The program will be available on...

Category:   Seminar
Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Saturday 27th October 2018
Venue:   Springfield Campus of USQ
Email Enquiries:   adminofficer@etaq.org.au


View all

English Educator of the week

Rachael Christopherson
Brisbane Girls Grammar School

Number of years teaching:
25.  12 years at BGGS

Where else have you taught?
St Edmund's College, Ipswich (all boys)
Mt Alvernia College, Kedron (all girls)
Downlands College, Toowoomba (co-ed boarding with Ag Studies programme)

 

Read more

View all

Blog Feed

Editor of Words'Worth - Expression of interest

Oct 04 2017
Words'Worth is the journal of The Englis...

Grammar myths

Sep 12 2017
An edited version of the letter below was pu...
Read all

Testimonials

Read All

This is the first time I have been to an ETAQ conference and it was really sensational to get so much at all of the sessions.

ETAQ conferences always have sessions that make me excited to be a teacher.

I know that ETAQ conferences in the past have never disappointed - valuable, relevant, practical, inspiring so I came again.

Read All

Newsletter

Receive updates
from ETAQ

PO Box 3375, STAFFORD,
Queensland, Australia, 4053
(07) 3284 3718
ABN: 17 689 278 512

Connect to a great range of people who are passionate about English and have their finger on the pulse.

Be Connected