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New curriculum details revealed

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The Educator | 10 Aug 2015, 08:29 AM Agree 0
The Federal Government has announced sweeping changes to the primary curriculum.
  • Tony | 10 Aug 2015, 10:12 AM Agree 1
    Dear Mr Pyne
    We already teach phonics as one element of a comprehensive reading program. You are not breaking new ground!
    Stop trying to tell good teachers how to teach!
    Academics? Really!? Find out what is really happening before commenting.
  • | 10 Aug 2015, 10:49 AM Agree 1
    We've never stopped teaching phonics! When primary students get to Year 3 suddenly there are 6 more students in the class. If they have to catch up then it's often too late. 30 students in a Year 3 class in 2015 have far more complex issues than in the past. Fund that instead!
  • Wig | 10 Aug 2015, 11:18 AM Agree 0
    Why is it that whenever Mr Pyne opens his mouth I immediately ask myself "Who would vote for this person? Don't they ever listen to what he is saying, or is it just that they don't have the ability to understand crap when they hear it?"
  • Gee | 10 Aug 2015, 02:11 PM Agree 0
    There are so many issues with this and similar articles. One of the main issues is the negative slam that teachers so often get. It's almost expected that teachers are seen as hopeless bludgers. Anyone who personally knows a teacher, knows how hard we work.

    Why is that when NAPLAN results are poor, it is automatically the teachers who aren't up to scratch and the system is not questioned? Why not ASK the teachers where they think the issues are? I would bet that they would raise issues of a crowded curriculum, overcrowded classrooms, mainstream "dumping' of students with additional needs and inadequate skills to cater for them, and a whole pile of paperwork and accountability nonsense that takes up so much of our time that we have very little left to actually prepare properly for our students. It seems that so-called new initiatives are continually added, but nothing is taken away. Sometimes they contradict each other, often they are the same things in different packages. Each new government brings “new” innovations that have actually always been there!

    "Back-to-basics" has become such a political catch phrase. What are the basics for today's learners? Surely most would agree (once they've been given the chance to think about for a moment), that it is very different than what was taught 50 years ago! Even with these differences, we still have always taught phonics! I am actually offended at the accusation / implication that we are not already teaching phonics and phonemic awareness (especially since it is already included in the mandatory items of our syllabus and assessment documents!). A high quality reading program is so much more than just the letters that make up words, though. It's about a multiliteracies pedagogy. There aren't many industries where training, ongoing research and experience are completely ignored and a few people in positions of power (who have not had that training or experience) can make such irresponsible and uniformed statements, which then force (the wrong types of) changes to occur. Just because people have been to school does not mean that they are experts in the field! We don't see lay people telling other professions how to do their jobs (certainly not before asking about what they are currently doing!). In my opinion it is this attitude / approach that is responsible for the dwindling results. Now, more than ever before, teachers are being forced to teach in ways we are told to - which goes against how we know kids learn! We are being forced to waste time doing so many things which do not benefit our classroom programs and in actual fact diminish the quality of the programs we deliver.

    Regarding the comment "some will learn how to read regardless, but some need to be taught phonics" So teachers are only responsible for the underachievers? The ones who learn, just happen to do so, just because? How do the high achieving students do it, for goodness sake? We teach them too! Given half a chance, we differentiate the curriculum to cater for the individual needs of each student. It is negligent to push a “one-size-fits-all” approach which is the implication in so many of these articles. But to differentiate effectively, we need time. Time to accurately assess and design suitable programs in response.

    In terms of the funding referred to - it's going to the wrong places! Pouring money into NAPLAN testing is not getting to the classrooms! Current research shows we should be focusing on formative assessment to drive differentiated teaching and learning with a multiliteracies focus, it shows smaller class sizes are the way to go, it shows giving students targeted intervention and support aids their progress - yet we've seen cuts to funding where it matters. I read recently "Weighing the pig, will not make it fatter!" So true! We need the funding to go where it will make a difference - perhaps ask the true experts in the field where that is?
    I also read recently a comment that Mr Pyne made regarding new testing for teachers. There has been an overwhelming response from teachers - so much so that they cannot cater for everyone who wants to sit the exam. He said that the reason teachers wanted to sit the test was to identify where our inadequacies are so that we know what to improve on. How does he know this? Has he asked any of those teachers? Could it actually be that so many teachers want to sit this test so that they can prove their competence? So that they can throw it back in their faces that we may actually know our craft? What a thought!
  • Gretsky | 10 Aug 2015, 02:15 PM Agree 0
    There are so many issues with this and similar articles. One of the main issues is the negative slam that teachers so often get. It's almost expected that teachers are seen as hopeless bludgers.

    Why is that when NAPLAN results are poor, it is automatically the teachers who aren't up to scratch and the system is not questioned? Why not ASK the teachers where they think the issues are? I would bet that they would raise issues of a crowded curriculum, overcrowded classrooms, mainstream "dumping' of students with additional needs and inadequate skills to cater for them, and a whole pile of paperwork and accountability nonsense that takes up so much of our time that we have very little left to actually prepare properly for our students. It seems that so-called new initiatives are continually added, but nothing is taken away. Sometimes they contradict each other, often they are the same things in different packages. Each new government brings “new” innovations that have actually always been there!

    "Back-to-basics" has become such a political catch phrase. What are the basics for today's learners? Surely most would agree (once they've been given the chance to think about for a moment), that it is very different than what was taught 50 years ago! Even with these differences, we still have always taught phonics! I am actually offended at the accusation / implication that we are not already teaching phonics and phonemic awareness (especially since it is already included in the mandatory items of our syllabus and assessment documents!). A high quality reading program is so much more than just the letters that make up words, though. It's about a multiliteracies pedagogy. There aren't many industries where training, ongoing research and experience are completely ignored and a few people in positions of power (who have not had that training or experience) can make such irresponsible and uniformed statements, which then force (the wrong types of) changes to occur. Just because people have been to school does not mean that they are experts in the field! We don't see lay people telling other professions how to do their jobs (certainly not before asking about what they are currently doing!). In my opinion it is this attitude / approach that is responsible for the dwindling results. Now, more than ever before, teachers are being forced to teach in ways we are told to - which goes against how we know kids learn! We are being forced to waste time doing so many things which do not benefit our classroom programs and in actual fact diminish the quality of the programs we deliver.

    Regarding the comment "some will learn how to read regardless, but some need to be taught phonics" So teachers are only responsible for the underachievers? The ones who learn, just happen to do so, just because? How do the high achieving students do it, for goodness sake? We teach them too! Given half a chance, we differentiate the curriculum to cater for the individual needs of each student. It is negligent to push a “one-size-fits-all” approach which is the implication in so many of these articles. But to differentiate effectively, we need time. Time to accurately assess and design suitable programs in response.

    In terms of the funding referred to - it's going to the wrong places! Pouring money into NAPLAN testing is not getting to the classrooms! Current research shows we should be focusing on formative assessment to drive differentiated teaching and learning with a multiliteracies focus, it shows smaller class sizes are the way to go, it shows giving students targeted intervention and support aids their progress - yet we've seen cuts to funding where it matters. I read recently "Weighing the pig, will not make it fatter!" So true! We need the funding to go where it will make a difference - perhaps ask the true experts in the field where that is?
    I also read recently a comment that Mr Pyne made regarding new testing for teachers. There has been an overwhelming response from teachers - so much so that they cannot cater for everyone who wants to sit the exam. He said that the reason teachers wanted to sit the test was to identify where our inadequacies are so that we know what to improve on. How does he know this? Has he asked any of those teachers? Could it actually be that so many teachers want to sit this test so that they can prove their competence? So that they can throw it back in their faces that we may actually know our craft? What a thought!
  • Rob | 11 Aug 2015, 12:15 PM Agree 0
    It is about time the powers that be let the teachers teach. I am over those trying to tell them how to teach when they haven't seen a classroom in years, or heaven forbid, ever!! As a parent, I know they have been teaching phonics and phonemic awareness for 20 years as a part of their reading program. How about we give the parents back the role of parenting and let the teachers teach. Then we will see a marked improvement in academic results across literacy and numeracy. I know they would love to spend more time teaching the basics and less on child protection, drug education, moral education, civics, etc...
    Let's look at how little respect and value the Government gives to education and its teachers and correlate the drop in academic success to that premise. Over crowded curriculum and an employer who slams its employees on a regular basis. Makes the public value education - doesn't it??
  • | 15 Aug 2015, 10:56 AM Agree 0
    Wouldn't it be nice if, just occasionally, teachers tried to be positive. Rather than pushing back at every change, perhaps a comment about how to make a proposed change more effective or more efficient. Add something to the debate rather than just criticism. It's clear that no government of any persuasion will have enough money to do everything ... so let's start adding to the debate rather than just being predictably negative.
  • Peter | 15 Aug 2015, 11:08 AM Agree 0
    Phonics is actually decoding/encoding not reading, which is the word that describes meaning making in a global, holistic sense.
  • Steve | 15 Aug 2015, 04:14 PM Agree 0
    Mr Pyne, perhaps being schooled in a private Catholic school you did not have the same "experience" as I did attending a State School, but you did attend at around the same time as I did (being only 1 year younger than I am). So you may simply be unaware of the contents of state school curriculums from your childhood years - not that I'm offering an excuse for lack of historical investigation on behalf of your office staff. But I distinctly remember from my Year 5 class of 1971 that we studied a subject named "Social Studies", which, oddly enough, seems to cover exactly the same topics and material as the "new" proposed Humanities and Social Science subject. I also can't help but notice how many teachers and parents are responding to your additionally proposed "forced Phonics learning" agenda by informing you that this style of Reading education is already being conducted in classrooms across Australia. I am not a lawyer or a minister with a number of public servants to provide me with the "depth of understanding" you could bring to your Education portfolio. I am simply a parent with a vested interest in the future of my child. But could you please explain to your constituents and the parents of this wonderful country how these "sweeping changes" in which you appear to be advocating a return to a 1970's State Education curriculum, and mandating that Teachers utilise education techniques which they already employ is supposed to reverse the downward trend of education standards in Australia compared to the rest of the developed world? Perhaps you should consider something "revolutionary", and actually let educators perform the roles that they have actually been trained to do as Teachers? Perhaps, instead of trying to tell Teachers how to educate students when you yourself have not been trained as an educator, you should perform your role as a public servant and serve those who have placed their faith in you by listening to the Educators embedded in and struggling with the system to see what they need to improve that system from the inside, not from the outside. Perhaps, as Minister for Education and Training, you should focus on the training that educators receive, and start by ensuring they have the knowledge and tools they need to perform their roles as best they can, and then ensure they have the environment and support they need to actually exercise their skills in the execution of the jobs they have been trained to perform. Or would listening to the professionals with the knowledge, understanding how you can help those people to perform better, then acting to provide the support they need simply too "revolutionary" an idea for your office to take on board?
  • Anna | 16 Aug 2015, 10:37 PM Agree 0
    We need to teach Phonics? I've been teaching that very successful approach most of my 41 years teaching career. There have been many other 'experiments' suggested over the years, but we have always come back. Say no more!
  • Daffydd W-E | 17 Aug 2015, 03:26 PM Agree 0
    RIGHT: So here's the question:

    IF WE ARE GOING BACK TO WHAT WE DID 40 YEARS AGO -------- WHY THE HELL DID WE CHANGE WHAT WE WERE DOING BACK THEN????????????????????????????????????????????????????
    IF IT WORKS THAT WELL, WHO IS THE CONFOUNDED IDIOT/S THAT PROPOSED THE CHANGE AT THAT TIME?
    HAS EDUCATION FALLEN INTO THE ADVERTISERS "NEW/IMPROVED" 'FORMULA'?
    OR IS IT THAT OLD CHESTNUT ABOUT, "IF IT AIN'T BROKE, BREAK IT!"??????
    MAYBE SOME ONE WITH HALF A BRAIN (OR MAYBE EVEN A SHADE LESS) COULD ASK SOME OF THE INCREDIBLY OBVIOUS QUESTIONS.... LIKE, "HOW COME NOEN OF THE CHANGES HAVE PRODUCED THE OUTCOMES THAT WERE SOUGHT?

    WHY AM I WRITING THIS IN CAPITALS ---- BECAUSE I'M BLEEDI SHOUTING AT MY COMPUTER.... THAT'S WHY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Liz | 18 Aug 2015, 12:35 PM Agree 0
    Having treated teaching as a way of life over a long career, I am so disillusioned with that state of management in education. Research may show that Asian students have higher academic achievements, but it also shows that outside of academics, there is not a lot of choice for achievement. The stripping of autonomy and the creative nature of teaching, has disintegrated my pedagogy, and I now see it as 'just a job'. Ignorant statements by those far beyond the classroom, unfortunately impact on classrooms, and the capacity for 'leaders' to be respected or even taken seriously, is epidemic.
  • KComino | 17 Sep 2016, 08:04 PM Agree 0
    Oh for goodness sakes. The university course for every primary school teacher in Australia trains teachers to teach phonemic awareness and phonics. It's teachers' bread and butter. The continuum of teaching reading in NSW and the National Curriculum explicitly sets out the teaching of phonemic awareness and phonics. My problem is how did the then Minister, Mr Pyne not know this. He needed to study his portfolio instead of trusting to crib notes.I hope he hasn't carried this practice into his new responsibilities in this government. Learn to read Mr Pyne - time for you to go back to basics.
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