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'If students can't learn the way we teach, we must teach the way they learn' (Ignacio Estrada, via Tomlinson)

HTAA Conference: Day Two Keynote Speaker, Professor Barry McGaw

Posted by Lisa Hill on October 5, 2008


There was never any doubt that history was going to be included in the new national curriculum, and it was very interesting to hear Professor Barry McGaw talk about work in progress.
He explained what the remit was.  The board is charged with responsibility for writing:

  • a single world class K-12 curriculum
  • English first, then maths, sciences and history (and after that, languages and geography)
  • a continuum of learning in literacy and numeracy.

There is to be flexibility for the different jurisdictions, systems and schools, and there will be national testing linked to standards so that student achievement can be reported in a similar way nationally. 

What’s different this time is that the board reports to the Productivity Agenda Working Group (PAWG) not to state Education Ministers.  On the agenda are content, pedagogy and assessment, and not on the agenda (but obviously needing connection) are purposes of schooling, national assessment, curriculum resources and professional development.

It was, alas, these latter issues which exercised the minds of most of the panel and the audience, and it seems to me that what I heard most about was profound fear of change, parochialism, and the usual bleating about implementation issues.  McGaw must get very tired of this, I think, and some of the audience were obviously bored too (since some near me were playing with mobile phones, and reading the paper) but I suppose people need to have their say.

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