From the President: Australian Curriculum - time to have your say
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 126 No 4, 28 May 2021, page no.7
If you could name the biggest workload impact in a school, what would it be? For me, it was curriculum change and responding to it so that teaching and learning was engaging, enjoyable and meaningful, for myself and the students I taught. Not that I minded the change, but in my career, there was a lot of it.
I started teaching in 1995, and with the review of the Australian Curriculum now open for consultation, I have been reflecting on the changes during that time. This brings with it many mixed emotions. Change is something we expect in this day and age, but the pace of change is extremely quick in the curriculum space. There have been many forms of curricula to adopt and adapt to. These include:
- Student Performance Standards
- Outcome Based Education
- New Basics and Rich Tasks
- Essential Learnings – Knowledge, Skills and Understanding
- eight versions of the Australian Curriculum.
Each of these has required a reorganisation of the way in which we plan, teach and assess to best address the needs of the students in our classes. For the most part, we participate in what the system imposes. The fact remains though that many things stay the same. 2 + 2 still equals 4. Energy is still energy, and writing becomes more expressive as students move through their education and become more capable.
The other reflection is that over time, it gets harder to identify the teaching and learning resourcing required to implement the curriculum. Because while 2 + 2 still equals 4, energy is still energy and sentences still get more expressive as students grow older and more capable, the clarity of the curriculum is sometimes unclear.
The outcomes remain the outcomes, but the way in which the curriculum is organised has changed and altered.
So, what now you may ask? The Australian Curriculum has been under review for several months now. We have been represented on learning area and curriculum reference groups, with other stakeholders, throughout the Queensland part of the review. We have met with those representatives multiple times, heard the feedback and concerns, and moved forward. In some subjects the review has proceeded well. In others, there is still work to be done.
The eight learning area documents, the general capabilities and the cross-curriculum priorities are now open for your feedback.
Any outcomes from the review, which was established to declutter and realign the curriculum, could have a huge impact on our way of working here in Queensland.
The Department of Education and the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA) are both offering multiple opportunities for feedback into the review. We would highly recommend participation in these forums to build the Queensland response.
If that is not right for you or your situation, have a look at the QCAA review page, which suggests numerous ways to provide feedback. It also features the comparative changes link, which will take you to a page that outlines all the changes in each subject.
- Will these changes help my teaching?
- Will they help student learning?
- When I look at what I need to teach in a year, is the pathway clear?
- Can I fit everything in to what are already very busy years?
- Am I able to cover the curriculum in the depth required?
- Is it clearer and aligned?
- Is the curriculum decluttered?
If you can, work together in your cohort or faculty teams to reflect on some of these questions.
The review is open for feedback, via an online form, until 8 July.
We are also happy to receive your feedback, so we can provide it to both the Department of Education and QCAA for inclusion.
This is our work, the work we are the experts in, the work we know. We know how to teach, plan and assess using the curriculum. And we know the impact on our workload.