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

Australian Curriculum – it’s all systems go!

Posted by Lisa Hill on October 22, 2011

News just in* is that MCEECDYA (the Ministerial Council for all stuff educational) has approved the final version i.e. the achievement standards of the Australian Curriculum as we have it so far (English, maths, history and science). This means that all ministers, state and federal, of whatever political persuasion and despite all the posturing that’s gone on, have given the curriculum the nod.

After all the work that’s been done, they would have been mad not to.  For well over a century we have had the absurd situation of each state having to fund curriculum development from their eight separate education budgets.  For any state to reject the AC would have meant them having to start again, at the beginning, at their own expense, and have an out-of-date curriculum until a new one was written.  Cash-strapped state governments were never going to abandon the AC at this stage of its development, whatever the political grandstanding.

Educational publishers must also be breathing a sign of relief.  Instead of commissioning and publishing materials for all the different school systems, they can now produce better, cheaper materials that can be used right around the country.  Thank goodness for that, because that will keep Australian educational publishing profitable, and so schools will be less at risk of having to make-do with inappropriate imported materials from you-know-where.

Given that each state is coming from a different base, it does make sense for implementation plans to be state specific.  Victoria’s plans are laid out at the VCAA  Australian Curriculum page; readers from other states can find what their state is doing from the ACARA Implementation Coordination page.   But for all of us right around the country, it means reporting against those new achievement standards from 2013 onwards.

So we’re going to be busy in 2012.  We’ll have a hybrid curriculum until the rest of the AC is available but we have a lot of work to do in the four subjects that we currently have.  At the school level, we’ll be auditing existing curriculum, tweaking what we have and developing new units where needed.  What will really matter is that we design first-class assessment strategies and tasks that allow kids to show what they know and can do.

However, the most important thing is that we use this curriculum to create engaging learning that’s fit for 21st century kids, many of whom will be 22nd century adults.  After all, five-year-olds in a 2013 Prep class will most likely live to be over 100, what an exciting thought!

Resources to support Victorian schools will be available at this VCAA page from October 24th.

*You can sign up for an email newsletter to keep abreast of AC developments at the ACARA website.  Click on this link and find it on the LHS menu (on their Home page).

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