What a business! Had to register on the consultation site. I may indeed take time to respond.
- ACARA Australian Curriculum consultation portal – Explore English
- ACARA Australian Curriculum consultation portal – Explore History
Play the video on the consultation site before or as well as reading commentary about the National Curriculum. Here is what is said about English:
Prof. Peter Freebody (PF), University of Sydney: There’s a number of key features, I suppose. One is to do with intensifying the continuity of learning across the school years, rather than having broken-up learning or bits and bobs of things.
When you look at the diversity of schools across this country, the differences — the cultural and language differences that kids bring to their first day of schooling across the whole of this nation — (they) are just staggering compared to most other countries. English has a particular part to play in coping with that, and in working with that richness, and in building on it in all sorts of different ways.
In the primary years, I think there will be more of an intense focus on the use of literature on teachers. I hope it will encourage teachers to deal with fewer texts more deeply, and that will put pressure on them to discuss with their colleagues what are really good texts that will bear that kind of attention, and still be motivating and engaging.
One of the — I hope — most positive outcomes will be that teachers can have a sense of what you can actually do with kids as they grow older, if we have a really coherent and cumulative body of knowledge. Think of the things we can do with senior high school kids with poetry and theatre, as well as with other kinds of day-to-day and school-based textual demands.
What I would hope is that educators across the span — from school leaders, into the classrooms, and so on — would appreciate that it can only get better if they take part in it and have their say, actually have some say about what they do and don’t like: Where are the gaps? What are the things you need to see there? What are the strengths that need highlighting? That is a matter of getting involved.
Here is what is said about History:
Prof. Stuart Macintyre, University of Melbourne: The great challenge in devising the history curriculum is to make it a curriculum that works for a wide diversity of students; that needs to be engaging for someone who might have arrived with their parents from Sudan two years ago, or someone whose ancestors came here five generations ago, and feel a strong attachment to particular parts of the country.
There’s considerable attention to cross-curricular elements. In history, for instance, this is a curriculum which pays substantial attention to Aboriginal (people) and Torres Strait Islanders, and I think it’s important that it does, and that it gives all Australians a sense of those people, their place within Australian society, and their historical experience.
The history curriculum is also, I think, important for increasing understanding and awareness of Australia’s place in the region. It gives greater attention to Asian history than is the case in most schools at the moment.
We will understand history better if we understand it through a world history perspective. It’s that way that we’re going to be able to understand the experience of others, and equally we can use that to illuminate and enrich our understanding of our own history.
Finally, I think one of the big themes of the history curriculum is the question of sustainability. We’re working from history from the earliest times to the present, and we see an extraordinary increase in human population and in human capacity, but we also see consequences that raise questions of sustainability.
The way in which ACARA has been operating means it’s possible for people to go online and see what’s happening, and to make their comments known. Those comments and that feedback are very important as we develop the curriculum.