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Posts Tagged ‘National Curriculum’

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

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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?

It is Never Alright to Put Down Your Students!

May 29, 2012


There is simply no excuse for denigrating your students. Whether they are unruly or not is completely irrelevant. It doesn’t matter how much they fidget, answer back, disturb or waste time, there is no place for a teacher to put down his/her students.

Teachers found breaking that rule repeatedly (or at least more than once), should be forced to tender their resignations. No school or classroom of students deserves such a teacher. Teachers have to wake up to the fact that if they choose to teach children, that’s exactly what they are going to be faced with – a room full of children. Children misbehave. That is reality.

If teachers can’t handle the constant disturbances and the rudeness, they have options:

1, Seek the support of their Principal, colleagues or even the parents of the unruly children.

2. Change their style of teaching (because whatever they are doing quite clearly isn’t working).

3. Find a different job.

I fear it may be too late for Mr. Griffin to take option one or two, and for good reason:

A primary school teacher branded his pupils ‘pests, idiots, clowns and buffoons’ a disciplinary panel heard yesterday.

Roger Griffin, 66, denied that the terms were derogatory and insisted that he had used ‘apt and appropriate language’ to describe the eight and nine-year-old pupils who he also labelled ‘miscreants’.

The now-retired teacher also stands accused of playing piano in the school hall for an entire day after he was not asked to come to work during an Ofsted inspection at Beechview School in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire.

A panel heard that Mr Griffin’s behaviour at the school was called in to question by acting assistant head Beatriz Melero, who had been called in as a trouble-shooter to boost the ailing primary’s fortunes after the previous headteacher was absent on a long-term basis.

She told the hearing that Mr Griffin – who worked at the school for nine years – had been ‘unduly punitive’ when he put three children in detention and listed the reason as ‘fidgeting’.

Representing himself at a Teaching Agency conduct hearing held in Coventry, West Midlands, Mr Griffin told a disciplinary panel that his conduct had been ‘appropriate’.

Presenting Officer Melinka Berridge said he had penned a letter to the school after complaints were made about his language towards children.

It read: ‘Persistent miscreants who act like delinquents can expect to be treated as such.

‘If they don’t like being called idiots, fools, clowns, buffoons or any similar epithet, there is a very simple solution: don’t act like one.’

Mr Griffin later told the hearing he had only used the terms in reference to ‘the small minority who are disturbing the learning opportunities of everybody else.’

Mr Griffin said one allegation against him, that he shouted at a young boy and called him an ‘idiot’, omitted to mention that the boy had been ‘cavorting’ around his classroom for some time before he reprimanded him.

He said: ‘How do you describe that sort of behaviour without using that sort of language? There is no other way, is there?’

Mr Griffin faces two charges of serious misconduct towards staff and pupils between December 2007 and May 2008.

He is also accused of disregarding directions given to him by acting head Miss Melero, and for failing to follow the National Curriculum in his music lessons.

But Mr Griffin said it was ‘total rubbish’ that his lessons did not adhere to the National Curriculum but he was ‘very pleased’ to admit that he had not used Qualifications and Curriculums Authority (QCA) work schemes when planning lessons because they contained a mistake.

He said: ‘I made it quite clear that I never will follow the QCA schemes of work as they contain an error and I will not teach an error.

He went on to claim that work schemes he devised himself were superior to those created by the national body.

‘My scheme of work is much better than the QCA scheme of work,’ he said. ‘My work supports the National Curriculum to levels that by itself the National Curriculum can’t reach.’

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!

National Curriculum Proves Rocket Science

November 4, 2010

It seems that Science is the most challenging subject for curriculum officials to agree on as they endeavour to complete the national curriculum.  We teachers have been waiting for a while to find out what the completed national curriculum looks like, but at the moment all we have available to us is a rough draft.

The chairman of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, Barry McGaw, said the curriculums for maths, English and history were ”essentially done and dusted” but more work lay ahead to achieve agreement on the science curriculum.

”Comparisons show Australia is in the top five countries in science by the time students are 15. But we’re in the bottom 10 to 20 out of nearly 60 nations in how much our kids like science, how important they think science is for their futures, and how important they think science is for the national future,” he said.

”So we’ve got students who are good at a subject but are not engaged with it and thus not likely to continue to engage with it.”

It sounds like ‘spin’ to me.  I’ve heard that the draft science curriculum was panned for being too difficult for teachers to effectively implement.  The national curriculum has been marred with bad publicity, and teachers are starting to get a bit edgy.

I just hope the final product is worth the wait.


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