In praise of the draft Australian Curriculum

"They've come up with a curriculum that is deep, not wide, so I think it's about quality. Another feature is that teachers now know what to teach, it's really quite explicit.They know how well to teach, through the standards, and I think the best part about it is that they can spend their time working out how to put it together, how to organise it, for the individual children in their class."

– Lesley Englert,Principal of Upper Coomera State College. From 'An Introduction to Australian Curriculum' (short video).

…god help us all.

4 thoughts on “In praise of the draft Australian Curriculum

  1. Ben Rolfe

    Hmm, I think you’re being a bit unfair.
    (note: I haven’t actually read any of the draft curriculum documents yet, only watched the video)
    Isn’t being explicit yet flexible the purpose of a curriculum? As for deep not wide, from what little I can remember of the current NSW curriculum, it tries to be very inclusive and is pretty damn shallow in places – maybe our current curricula make it too easy to tick all the boxes without really teaching anything.
    I’m not saying that those words aren’t cause for alarm. But I do think that no matter what they said, it would have been cause for alarm 🙂

  2. Joe

    Finally us teachers can now know what to teach and importantly how well to teach it. Because you have to teach it well you know.
    Lesley for pm!

  3. Brett Rolfe

    Yes Ben, I am perhaps being a bit unfair. A bit.
    Arguably ‘deep, not wide’ is actually good if it allows more meaningful and critical engagement with the topics (rather than the racing through material that teachers complain of at the moment). All depending on which bits end up making the cut.
    My issue with the ‘explicit’ bit is that it is being explicit about the CONTENT, ie. WHAT to teach, rather than the desired OUTCOME. Are you teaching Agincourt in order for someone to be able to tell you that in 1415 blah blah, or so that they gain a set of skills (which you could teach them just as well by looking at another event)? My fear is that if you are specific about the content, teachers can focus on that rather than the WHY (unless those writing the curriculum believe that the outcome should actually be a whole bunch of WHATs).
    Sadly I don’t think I have the knowledge necessary to critique the curriculum properly. I’ve had a bit of a look at it, and while certain aspects (like the return to stricter discipline streams) makes me feel deeply disconcerted, I don’t have the experience to understand what the impact on actual day-to-day classroom teaching would be.

  4. Joe

    Hmmm have yet to really look at this national curriculum so cant really critique it but that interview with Lesley did make me cringe. As would a focus on learning a whole bunch of ‘whats’ but i would have to doubt that would be what this new curriculum suggests.
    From my limited experience of working with different curricula and teachers i’ve found that on the ground its simply a guide. All the action is in the classroom so for me rather than going by the book so to speak, a good teacher knows their subject, relates to their students and is creative and professional enough to develop and deliver positive learning experiences.
    But I guess at the same time structural changes to the curriculum will somehow become evident in the classroom so maybe i should look at it. Am particularly interested in the return to stricter discipline (: There’s always one kid you juuuust feel deserves/requires a swift boot as you send them out of class (;


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