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Analysis and Comment (22)

Adderley Primary School in Birmingham was told on June 9 that is now “requires improvement”. Adderley Primary School in Birmingham was told on June 9 that is now “requires improvement”. Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Focus on test scores over curriculum leaves big questions for Ofsted after Trojan Horse

The process of reform in any complex organisation is difficult, uneven and subject to being blown off course by events. In two recent articles in the Conversation I have drawn attention to the cultural…
Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart” would help students to question stereotypes. Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart” would help students to question stereotypes. Angela Radulescu

Absence of postcolonial texts at GCSE level ignores that English literature was always worldly

In Salman Rushdie’s 1988 novel The Satanic Verses, the fictional character Whisky Sisodia comments that the “trouble with the Engenglish is that their hiss hiss history happened overseas, so they dodo…
It’s like Shakespeare to me. It’s like Shakespeare to me. Child wide code, ollyy via Shutterstock

The computing curriculum: what every child should know

Ask a parent what a school should teach and they’ll tell you, “When my child leaves school, I want them to be able to understand money, to work well with others, go to university or to get a good job…
What’s the use of this? What’s the use of this? Lab Science Career

Are we focusing too much on examining practical science?

Science evokes images of Bunsen burners, coloured liquids, vapours rising from flasks, white coats and safety goggles. But are we making too much of the rigid assessment of the practical parts of science…
Mastered numbers? Let’s make it harder. Mastered numbers? Let’s make it harder. Arenamontanus

Explainer: what is the mastery model of teaching maths?

Ever-envious of Singapore’s much-heralded success in teaching maths, politicians are keen to see its methodology arriving in UK classrooms. Education minister Elizabeth Truss explained some of the background…
Not just for games. Not just for games. flickingerbrad

Backlash against computing curriculum misses the point

Computing is an important subject, but it is only one of many that schools have to teach, and few would argue that it is more important than English, maths, or science. But as a high-profile debate continues…
Gonski isn’t everything and we need to refocus the debate back to equity. Gonski isn’t everything and we need to refocus the debate back to equity. School image from www.shutterstock.com

Curriculum, equity and resources: how we got lost in the Gonski debate

It’s been a big week for education. Amidst all the confusion and politics on school funding of the last week there have been a couple of repeated mantras by the federal education minister – namely that…
How should we teach our kids so they’re prepared for the future? How should we teach our kids so they’re prepared for the future? Old school image from www.shutterstock.com

Old school or new school? Teach future skills and traditional subjects together

There has been a high profile debate recently about the merits of teaching so-called “21st century skills” in the new Australian Curriculum. The national curriculum, some argue, has too much focus on these…
Opposition leader Tony Abbott has signalled he’d like to see the history curriculum change. But is it a good idea for government to intervene? Opposition leader Tony Abbott has signalled he’d like to see the history curriculum change. But is it a good idea for government to intervene? AAP Image/AFP Pool, Saeed Khan

Culture wars II: why Abbott should leave the history curriculum alone

In the last week of the campaign, some naggingly familiar comments came out from the Coalition. Then opposition leader Tony Abbott said he wanted to see the national curriculum in history changed because…
School music proponents like to big note the effectiveness of such programs, what what evidence of genuine benefit is there? School music proponents like to big note the effectiveness of such programs, what what evidence of genuine benefit is there? Music image from www.shutterstock.com

Striking a chord: what can music really do for students?

School music is a big fish within the small pond of the Creative Arts curriculum. In lobbying for more space, music advocates often use an array of arguments – some backed by evidence, some not. Many argue…
Storytelling is increasingly being left behind in a crowded curriculum. Storytelling is increasingly being left behind in a crowded curriculum. Storytelling image from www.shutterstock.com

Once upon a time: reclaiming storytelling in schools

With high stakes testing and a crowded curriculum, something fundamental is being left behind in education – storytelling. Some might argue that speaking and listening have always been undervalued in schools…
Asian languages are important, but they should be one part of a greater focus on Asia in the curriculum. Asian languages are important, but they should be one part of a greater focus on Asia in the curriculum. Asian image from www.shutterstock.com

Across the curriculum: access to Asian languages isn’t everything

Despite the breadth of issues in the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper released this week, so far the debate has focused largely on language learning in schools. With fewer and fewer students…
Former Prime Minister John Howard is misinformed about the Australian history curriculum. Former Prime Minister John Howard is misinformed about the Australian history curriculum. AAP Image/Julian Smith

Howard’s history repeating: curriculum complaints nothing new

There is a great deal of derogatory, evidence-free and ill-informed opinion about how history is taught in Australian schools. But these tired arguments are so often repeated that we can actually put them…
Young people and politics aren’t mixing – how can teachers help change that? Young people and politics aren’t mixing – how can teachers help change that? Hands image from www.shutterstock.com

The great curriculum debate: how should we teach civics?

How much do students know about politics? Or perhaps a better question is: how much do they care? Recent polling and studies have caused great consternation amongst commentators about an apparent declining…
Opposition education spokesman Christopher Pyne’s recent comments show his misunderstanding of curriculum. Opposition education spokesman Christopher Pyne’s recent comments show his misunderstanding of curriculum. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

A history of misinformation: Pyne spreads curriculum myths

On the ABC’s Q&A program on Monday night, Shadow Minister for Education Christopher Pyne was asked what the Liberal Party would do about the national (history) curriculum if they came to power. Pyne’s…
If the same parts of Australian history are taught over and over again, we shouldn’t be surprised that students lose interest. If the same parts of Australian history are taught over and over again, we shouldn’t be surprised that students lose interest. Flickr/murphyeppoon

Beat-ups aside, Australian history has a future

Buried away in the correspondence columns of last week’s Sunday Age, a former history teacher’s letter “Where’s our history?” started an intense and confused debate about a “threat” by the national curriculum…
A good knowledge of the different religions should be part of a National Curriculum. A good knowledge of the different religions should be part of a National Curriculum. Flickr/Jake Wasdin

Time for change: a new role for religion in education

After last week’s High Court challenge verdict on funding chaplains in schools, religious education is back in the headlines. The role of religion in Australian schools has been vigorously debated for…
Speedy and decisive action is needed from the government to ensure our future energy security. Speedy and decisive action is needed from the government to ensure our future energy security. Flickr/Cayusa

Eureka! Teaching threshold concepts to students

That “Eureka” moment when a student thunders over an educational hurdle opening up a new realm of learning, is the holy grail for educators. The technical term is a “threshold concept”, and they’re being…