Archive for the ‘National Curriculum’ Category

The Things Our Students Must Know

May 31, 2016

 

There will always be a percentage of students that struggle in various facets of the curriculum. You can’t expect that all your students will be at grade level in Math, Literacy and Science.

What you should expect, however, is that all your students understand and can articulate what a Memorial Day, or in Australia’s case, a Remembrance and Anzac Day commemorates.

It is sad to see so many graduate for school without an understanding or appreciation for those that fought and perished for our country.

 

Click on the link to read The Education Version of Groundhog Day (Updated)

Click on the link to read Adding Sex Education to the Curriculum Comes at the Expense of Something Else

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The Education Version of Groundhog Day (Updated)

February 3, 2014

 

groundhog day

In the classic 1993 Bill Murray film Groundhog Day, Murray was forced to relive the same day over and over again until he learned from his mistakes.  Whilst only a light-hearted comedy on the surface, Groundhog Day was a timely reminder that mistakes and its consequences are repeated over and over again until they are learned from.

Every time the curriculum changes I think of Groundhog Day.  I’ve only been a teacher for a short time, yet already I have seen the curriculum change 4 times.  First it was the CSF, then it became the CSF 2, followed soon after by VELS. And the curriculum has recently been changed yet again!

And this time it’s a National Curriculum – and it stinks!

Why do they do it to us?  Just when you get used to one curriculum, they change it from another.

The cynic in me says the Government is bereft of ideas.  They know that education outcomes are underwhelming, that there isn’t much satisfaction in the quality of schools and performance indicators are not painting a rosy picture.  Yet, they don’t have a clue what to do about it.  They neither have the money, vision or gumption to make any real change, so they go for the obvious alternative – perceived change.

When asked to reflect on their achievements in Education, the former Government proudly pointed to overhauling the curriculum.  They triumphantly declared that by introducing a national curriculum, they were able to do what previous administrations couldn’t.

But they will know the truth all along – you can’t change the fortunes of an ailing academic record by altering and renaming a curriculum.  In fact, from my experience you can’t expect any change at all. Unless it is change for the negative.

Even if my cynical take is wrong, and there is some good intention behind this new curriculum, it doesn’t seem to be adding anything of substance.  A bit more grammar, a deeper focus on handwriting and a greater emphasis on history sounds good.  But when it comes down to it, it is just like my boss said both this time and last time and the time before that, “Don’t worry. It is going to be very similar to our current curriculum.”

The same mistakes over and over again …

 

Click on the link to read Adding Sex Education to the Curriculum Comes at the Expense of Something Else

Adding Sex Education to the Curriculum Comes at the Expense of Something Else

July 5, 2012

Firstly, I believe that it is the parents job to educate their children about sex. As a parent, I believe that it would be a blight on my parenting skills if I left such an important conversation topic to my child’s teachers.

Secondly, although in a perfect world, it would be nice to include every cause and every topic of importance into the curriculum, it is simply not realistic. Adding sex education into the curriculuum would come at the expense of time dedicated to english, maths, science and history. I don’t think that is a good result for students:

But a national survey of 15-29 year olds shows that sexual education across Australian schools ranges from no sexual education or minimal classes focusing on the dangers of sexual activity, to comprehensive lessons on the benefits, as well as the risks, of sexual relationships.

Research shows that less than half of sexually active school students report always using a condom during sex. But, the national survey said, condom use was declining and although young people account for 75 per cent of sexually transmitted infections, just 10 per cent of young people thought they were at risk of contracting an STI or AIDs.

AYAC’s deputy director (young people), Maia Giordana, said with the federal government rolling out national curriculum subject areas, the time was right for reform.”In some schools it’s being taught really comprehensively, and in other schools it’s not really happening at all,” Ms Giordana said.

The assertion that children are choosing not to use condoms because of a lack of education is just plain misleading. Could someone show me evidence that proves that a school sex education program leads to less cases of sexually transmitted diseases?
When will they realise that our curriculum is overcrowded as it is?

Education New Years Resolutions 2012

January 3, 2012

Below are some New Years resolutions I suggest the Education sector should take on for 2012:

1. Schools Should Become More Involved With Cyber Bullying –  At present schools have been able to turn a blind-eye to cyberbullying.  As the offence occurs out of school hours, schools have been only too happy to handball the problem to the parents of the bully. Whilst I believe that parents are ultimately responsible for the actions of their children, I ask that schools do more to help deal with this ongoing problem.

The reason why I feel schools should involve themselves more actively with this issue is that most cyber bullying cases result from pre-existing schoolyard bullying.  Having started in the playground and classroom, the bullying then gets transferred online. Whilst the school isn’t liable for what goes on after school, the problem is often a result of what started during school hours.

To me, the best schools are the ones that work with the parents in a partnership for the wellbeing of their students.  For a school to excel it needs to show that it cares about its students beyond its working hours. That is why a teacher or staff member that is aware of cyberbullying must be able to do more than discuss the issue with the class.  They must be able to contact parents, impose sanctions and actively change the situation at hand.

2. Governments Should Stop Pretending and Start Doing – Every time the curriculum changes I think of the movie Groundhog Day. I’ve only been a teacher for a short time, yet already I have seen the curriculum change 3 times. First it was the CSF, then it became the CSF 2, followed soon after by VELS. And the curriculum is about to change yet again!

Why do they do it to us? Just when you get used to one curriculum, they change it from another.

In my view, the Government is bereft of ideas and would rather pretend to be do something than actually making the tough decisions. They know that education outcomes are underwhelming, that there isn’t much satisfaction in the quality of schools and performance indicators are not painting a rosy picture. Yet, they don’t have a clue what to do about it. They neither have the money, vision or gumption to make any real change, so they go for the obvious alternative – perceived change.

When asked to reflect on their achievements in Education, the Government will proudly point to overhauling the curriculum. In Australia’s case, they will triumphantly declare that by introducing a national curriculum, they have been able to do what previous administrations couldn’t.

But they will know the truth all along – you can’t change the fortunes of a countries academic performance by altering and renaming a curriculum. In fact, from my experience you can’t expect any change at all.

3. Schools Should Fight Problems Instead of Investing in Worthless Programs – Every week a new program is being established for schools throughout the world. If it’s not Sex-Ed it’s suicide prevention, bullying, cyber bullying, cyber safety, hygiene, traffic safety, Stranger Danger etc.  Whilst all these initiatives have good intentions and are worthy causes (with perhaps the exception of Stranger Danger), it causes a great strain on teachers already struggling with time constraints.  The more programs undertaken by schools the harder it is to cover the curriculum.

If schools have a bullying problem in particular, they ought to be doing a lot more than relying on their flimsy anti-bullying programs. Schools have got to ramp up their responses. Programs, procedures and policies is not enough. They will not work and never have. Appealing to kids to improve their communications wont work either.

4. It’s Time To Stop Blaming Teachers For Everything – Education is supposed to be a team effort.  All parts of the system are supposed to work with each other and for each other.  Yet, it always seems to be that the teachers get singled out for blame.  Poor testing results – blame the teachers, a bullying problem – blame the teachers, lack of classroom control – yep, let’s blame the teachers for that too.

The question has to be asked: At what point do we focus our attention on the administrators when handing out the blame? It seems to me that whilst there is always going to be poor teachers in the system, nowhere near enough focus is directed to policy makers as well as those in management positions and on school counsels.

5. Stop Banning Innocent Things and Let Kids Enjoy School – From banning hugging, ball sports and cartwheeling to making play equipment devoid of anything to climb or swing from, kids are becoming even more restricted at school. What measures like these do, is transform schools which are already unnatural places for children and make them even more dreary and dictatorial.

What’s next – banning students from complimenting each other?
It’s about time we started matching school bans on children by imposing bans on schools.  I would love to ban schools from implementing rules inspired by political correctness gone wrong!

The Education Version of Groundhog Day

January 14, 2011

In the classic 1993 Bill Murray film Groundhog Day, Murray was forced to relive the same day over and over again until he learnt from his mistakes.  Whilst only a light-hearted comedy on the surface, Groundhog Day was a timely reminder that mistakes and there consequences are repeated over and over again until they are learnt from.

Every time the curriculum changes I think of Groundhog Day.  I’ve only been a teacher for a short time, yet already I have seen the curriculum change 3 times.  First it was the CSF, then it became the CSF 2, followed soon after by VELS. And the curriculum is about to change yet again!

Why do they do it to us?  Just when you get used to one curriculum, they change it from another.

The cynic in me says the Government is bereft of ideas.  They know that education outcomes are underwhelming, that there isn’t much satisfaction in the quality of schools and performance indicators are not painting a rosy picture.  Yet, they don’t have a clue what to do about it.  They neither have the money, vision or gumption to make any real change, so they go for the obvious alternative – perceived change.

When asked to reflect on their achievements in Education, the Government will proudly point to overhauling the curriculum.  In Australia’s case, they will triumphantly declare that by introducing a national curriculum, they have been able to do what previous administrations couldn’t.

But they will know the truth all along – you can’t change the fortunes of a countries academic performance by altering and renaming a curriculum.  In fact, from my experience you can’t expect any change at all.

Even if my cynical take is wrong, and there is some good intention behind this new curriculum, it wasn’t evident in the released draft, which like its predecessors, didn’t seem to be adding anything of substance.  A bit more grammar, a deeper focus on handwriting and a greater emphasis on history sounds good.  But when it comes down to it, it is just like my boss said both this time and last time, “Don’t worry. It is going to be very similar to our current curriculum.”

From reports the states don’t want their current curriculums meddled with. Critics like Chris Berg from the Sydney Morning Herald have slammed the draft curriculum:

The plan was to have the curriculum rolled out in the 2011 school year, but only the ACT will meet that deadline.

New South Wales and Western Australia have decided to delay the curriculum to 2013. The Victorian government announced recently it would do the same. But there are problems with what’s in the curriculum too. //

Take, for example, the history syllabus. After a full quota of compulsory schooling, Australian students will be none the wiser about the origins and central tenets of liberalism: the basics of individual rights, representative democracy and the market economy, and the importance of civil society.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but these are the absolute fundamentals of Western civilisation. And they are missing from the national curriculum.

One need look no further than how the curriculum purports to teach ”struggles for freedom and rights”, a ”depth study” for year 10 students.

The struggle for liberty against tyranny is one of the most important themes of the history of the past 500 years. From the English Civil War to the American and French revolutions, the proclamation of the rights of individuals has given us a rich inheritance of liberalism and civil liberties. That, at least, is how you’d think it would be taught.

But according to the national curriculum, the struggle for individual liberty started in 1945. Because that’s when the United Nations was founded.

To hinge the next generation’s understanding of individual rights on such a discredited institution is inexcusable. And it says a lot about the ideology of the curriculum’s compilers: as if individual rights were given to us by bureaucrats devising international treaties in committee.

At the end of the day, all we are really left with is a bad case of Groundhog Day.  The results wont change, yet the same mistakes are being made over and over and over again …


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