From the President: No curriculum changes yet
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 127 No 1, 11 February 2022, page no.7
By the time this first Journal reaches you, you will be weeks into the first term of the 2022 school year. As it began with a common-sense delayed start, decisions will have to be made about how to fit all teaching and learning into a shortened school year, in addition to the usual decisions related to health and wellbeing support for students you will make every single day.
These decisions have been informed by the current version of the Australian Curriculum, a curriculum that we have quite a lot of experience in crafting and teaching to our students. It is a curriculum that many of us have expertise in moulding to teach the students in our classrooms each and every day.
In 2021, many of you took part in the review of the Australian Curriculum. You, the teachers and leaders of the current Australian Curriculum, provided the bulk of the feedback in that review. Much of that feedback was taken on board, but as a system we are still not in a place to implement the reviewed curriculum.
Much is to be decided on the implementation, resourcing and methodology in the Queensland context.
Last year, a lot of feedback was sought and provided, including at many of the branch and Area Council meetings I attended. Themes identified in this feedback included curriculum decluttering; eliminating curriculum "silos"; specifying reasonable timelines; and providing adequate support and resources to ensure effective implementation and minimise the workload implications of change. This is before we even get to the discussion of timelines and method of implementation.
At this time, the curriculum has no formal status, and the way forward in Queensland has not been decided or determined. 2022 is the year for these conversations and decisions. Any rewriting or reorganising of the curriculum should not be occurring. Doing so could lead to unnecessary workload implications, as well as the likelihood of mixed messaging and a lack of clarity.
Inherent within teaching and learning is the concept of professional autonomy. We know that there are many ways of getting to the end goal. Students in our schools are not all the same. Every day you make decisions on how to achieve the goal of teaching and learning for the students in your classes. You consider issues of differentiation, inclusion, health and wellbeing, and basic needs of every child. We know that no one child is the same as another.
The same goes for our teachers. We all went to university to become trained to be the professionals we are today. But the way you teach your class is obviously different to your colleague next door. Different skills, personalities, strengths and areas to work on are in all of us as teachers. Our school leaders have all reached their roles via different pathways - some in a linear fashion, some not so linear - but all with different perspectives, drivers and levers for success.
The Queensland Teachers’ Union has representatives on many curriculum bodies
As the experience with COVID has shown us in the past two plus years, change is constant. The intensity of that change has increased almost exponentially with the pandemic. You, our members, are expert and professional in the way you plan, teach, assess and report the curriculum. You know your curriculum, you know your students and you need to be resourced and supported appropriately to do your work.
As we continue to attend branch and Area Council meetings throughout this term, I will continue to actively seek what you need in your teaching and learning for a successful implementation of the Australian Curriculum. Executive and State Council will continue to make decisions based on the most current information. These decisions will inform the direction we take as a Union with the department, the government and the QCAA.