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

Update: Australian Curriculum Literature Units

Posted by Lisa Hill on April 20, 2011

Hmm. After a frustrating correspondence with the ACARA website in which I suggested some busy-teacher-friendly improvements, I have given up expecting them to provide downloads in a usable form and have begun the long, slow, laborious task of formatting the English PDF document into Word.  Why on earth teachers can’t be provided with a document that could be cut and pasted into planning documents without this busy-work, I do not know…

So, it’s taking a lot longer than I’d hoped to get a unit of work ready to share….

6 Responses to “Update: Australian Curriculum Literature Units”

  1. Hi LIsa, I feel your pain! I recently went to a 3 day workshop on the new Australian curriculum and spent a day navigating around the new site. You must go to and not the ACARA website. It will lead you to the latest version of the curriculum. Once on there you can select your year level/s, curriculum and apply any filters that you like. I downloaded the whole year 5 curriculum with all the elaborations for all subject areas, but you can download just English etc. Once downloaded, save it as a text file and then you can cut and paste it very easily. You may have already done this but if not, I hope this helps.

  2. Lisa Hill said

    Hi Angela, thanks for this info – but doesn’t the fact that you had to go to a 3 day workshop say it all? How many ordinary classroom teachers are going to get a day to learn to navigate the site, much less 3 days to learn about the curriculum? At least if the sites were well-designed and teacher-friendly, some time-wasting could be avoided.

    In Victoria, we get 3 pupil-free days per year for professional development, the other day has to be used for reporting to parents. Those 3 days need to be used not only for the new curriculum but for everything else as well. At my school this year, for example, we spent our 3 days learning about the specific educational needs of kids in trauma, about the Ultranet, about maths pedagogy and about anaphylaxis management. Ongoing PD during the year is about implementing the Patrick Griffin model and ICT action-research projects. Primary teachers have to come to grips with every single subject area, not just one or two like secondary teachers do, and it is a huge ask for us to do it. The least ACARA could do would be to make accessing the resources easy.

    The sites are really badly designed. Yes, follow the link you suggest, and yes, take the Curriculum link to English – and what do you see on the landing page in the menu bar?
    Guided tour
    Intro to the development

    Which of these would any normal person click to find the actual here’s-what-you-should-be-teaching curriculum? Do they ever test their menus out, to see if they work intuitively? Is there some reason why there can’t be a link on the home page that says the word ‘downloads’??

    Ok, so try the menus across the top…Organisation? Probably not, and there are 11 sub-menus to waste your time on, trying to find out. Foundation to Year 10 Curriculum looks good, but oh dear, oh dear, it’s overwhelming. Who’s got time to open every one of those links? I haven’t got time to count ’em, never mind open them all up. So where’s the download for the whole document? Ah, at last, that unobtrusive little grey button …

    And ok, yes, you can save a text file instead of a PDF, but you still get line breaks all over the place which have to be removed and the text still gets broken up by the footers, and you still don’t get the document formatted with dot-points and columns.

    This, for example, is what you get when you copy and paste from either PDF or text file: (From Year 2, which is where I’m up to at the moment):

    Use interaction skills including initiating topics, making positive statements and voicing disagreement in an appropriate
    • discussing appropriate conventions to use in group discussions
    exploring ways to comment on what others say, including using sentence starters such
    as ‘I like the way you…’, ‘I agree that …’, ‘I have a different thought…’, ‘I’d like to say
    something different…’

    ACARA | The Australian Curriculum 29
    English Curriculum F–10
    manner, speaking clearly and varying tone,volume and pace appropriately
    participating in pair, group and class speaking and listening situations, including
    informal conversations, class discussions and presentations

    Does it make sense? No, so it’s necessary to have both the PDF and the new word.doc open side-by-side on the screen, so that cross-checking can be done.

    Is is there some complex policy reason why teachers can’t have the file as a word.doc or a mac doc, already formatted for ease of use??

    And another thing, while I’m at it…who dreamed up the term ‘elaborations’?? Was there a three week fight between the states and their assorted academics and consultants about whether they would be called indicators or outcomes and this silly term was dreamed up as a compromise?

    There’s a lot of good will and enthusiasm out here in the real world, but a bit of practical user-friendly support from ACARA would be a good idea IMO.

    • Sue Busch said

      Hi Lisa

      Have experienced your pain and frustration to the point where we use a PDF converter. Ours was purchased a couple of years ago but I see there are now quite a few available free to download or use online. We decided to purchase as it seems to convert much faster than the converters available online.

      Hope this helps

      • Lisa Hill said

        Hi Sue, thanks for dropping by.
        By coincidence, I tried using two different trial ones over the past week and neither of them were any good. The text was (mostly ok) but the formatting (tables, hyperlinks etc) were hopeless.
        But that’s not really the point. The ACARA curriculum is supposed to be used by teachers all over Australia. Teachers need to be able to cut and paste bits of it into planning documents. This is what ACARA wants them to do. Why on earth should teachers have the trouble and expense of converting pdf files when all ACARA needs to do is make the files available as a word document??

  3. Robin Wake said

    Dear Lisa
    Have only just discovered your wonderful work. Thank you for sharing.

    Have you tried using the download function on the RHS top?

    You can download a pdf in a variety of formats and then import into either Word or Excel. It saves a lot of typing.

    I have found the Scope and sequence charts available through the download ( there must be other ways of seeing them but haven’t discovered it yet) to provide a vey useful overview.

    Again, a HUGE thankyou for your generosity in sharing your ideas.


    • Lisa Hill said

      Hi Robyn, it’s still a PDF file, and (having just spent some of today pasting text from a PDF file into my planning documents and having to reformat it, get rid of the line breaks, convert it into a bigger font that I can read, move all the dot points) I really, really, really want to be able to download a Word doc.

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