Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Pyne curriculum review - results

Back in January in The Pyne curriculum review - Dr Donnelly's challenge I wrote of the establishment of the Australian national curriculum review. It attracted quite a strong comment stream.

The results of the review have now been released. These are two reactions: National curriculum review: experts respond; Education review reveals what we already knew

I suppose that my reaction is a little along the lines of the second story. I admit my biases. I thought the the curriculum had become too crowded; I disliked the way the unifying themes were used; I did feel that there was a tendency to cut us off from our past.

All that said, the review actually struck me as a moderately useful discussion to future directions in Australian education. I wondered what people think of it now?  


Thomas said...

Wish I was around for the January discussion/debate that you and your regulars had! Given that I actually have to comprehend, apply, teach, and review the curriculum on a day-to-day basis, I probably could have given a bit of insight!

Just a general comment about the whole process: The overwhelming opinion (albeit in my sphere only) is that there is just a want for stability. 'Everyone' got over the 'issues' of the curriculum in the draft phase, and then when it was released as the national curriculum, and then adopted for NSW (more on that next). We had 3 years or so to rewrite and rework whole faculties around this document. Now, as the final roll-out (so to speak) comes into effect, we are looking down the barrel of MORE changes.

PLEASE! For the love of everything, I wish the government could just let be for a few years and see what the issues are. There needs to be stability to get results and performance - surely even the non-schooling minded can see that!

As for the NSW adaptation, I feel as though this comment could have helped in your earlier discussion: In NSW, we don't teach the national curriculum as it appears on the ACARA website. It has been adapted and modified (subtly in some areas, explicitly in others). Yes, there are still the cross-curriculum priorities HOWEVER the depth and manner in which you approach them is left up to the school. You could build your units of study around them OR you could touch on them in passing lessons. Indeed, some may not even be more than an activity in some situations.

If you look closely at the website (http://syllabus.bos.nsw.edu.au), you can see that the NSW BOS has actually integrated the cross-curriculum priorities for teachers and that by simply following the syllabus, you are fulfilling the requirements anyway.

Why do I take the time to mention all this? Because the review group/Pyne have picked ONE area to discredit this whole document which - I would argue - has been a GREAT thing for schools as is!

If this isn't politicisation, then what else is it?

Yes, there is a right to review things - especially in terms of education. But to review something that hasn't even been rolled out!? Something is fishy.

Jim Belshaw said...

Useful and interesting comment, Thomas. The plea for at least some stability struck home. We do want to change things all the time!

Neil said...

Excellent comment by Thomas. I have shamelessly stolen it.

Evan said...

As you say, the outcome was as expected. If you appoint those people you know what the outcome will be.

As one of the experts pointed out - it was largely free of reference to studies. Which is a good index that it was meant to be political rather than to do with education.

Jim Belshaw said...

Saw the shameless pinch, Neil. Thomas will be pleased.

Anonymous said...

All this government seems to do is review. Usually coming up with the conclusion they had already come to anyway (oh who am I kidding; the policy the IPA tells them to have). But our tax dollars seem to vanish somewhere along the trail.

Jim Belshaw said...

Hi anon. there are a lot of reviews and some do indeed seem predetermined.