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Curriculum

Analysis and Comment (30)

Common goals can become a common problem. Shutterstock classroom

Explainer: why are schools adopting the Common Core?

The Common Core State Standards Initiative (or Common Core) is a quintessentially American approach to addressing the relatively modest academic performance of many students. The Common Core seeks to raise…
The best of our society’s thoughts and ideas should be compulsory learning for all students. AAP

A common curriculum means all students share common values

Should all schools, whether government, Catholic or independent, be forced to follow a centrally designed and monitored curriculum? And should this central curriculum be imposed upon schools regardless…
What if want a chance to get an A*? David Davies/PA Archive

Tiered GCSE papers that cap ambition should be abolished

Children’s access to high grades at GCSE is determined by our examination system, which assigns grade limits in some subjects. Known as tiering, this means that some 16-year-olds sit a foundation GCSE…
What did you get? Niall Carson/PA Wire

Permanent revolution of A Level exams helps nobody

A Level results are in and as teenagers pore over their grades, a record number will be able to take up places at university. The results – which show a small decline in the overall pass rate for the first…
Most specialists say there was nothing wrong with the curriculum to begin with. AAP

Australian curriculum review: what the submissions say

The Donnelly-Wiltshire Review of the Australian Curriculum is due at the end of the month. We know a bit about what the reviewers thought before they began, but what have submissions to the review told…
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…
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…
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…
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? 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 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 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. 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? 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. 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. 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. 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. 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…

Columnists (2)

On the subject of subjects

Subjects need to be seen once again for what they are. They are divisions of human knowledge made in order to advance knowledge in universities or to teach existing knowledge in schools. Academics and…