Australian Curriculum Essay

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The author of this report has been charged with assessing the good and bad things as it pertains to the Australian Curriculum. This would include its efficacy and legitimacy as a national document and part of the law. Of course, education is one of the most important and controversial things when it comes to government and its efficacy. Factors that are considered and debated about including what should be taught, when it should be taught age-wise, how much should be spent on the teaching and so forth. This report shall be a literature review of both the good and bad things that have emerged when it comes to the Australian Curriculum and an overall verdict shall be offered at the end of this report. While there are certain flaws when it comes to any government bureaucracy or system, the Australian Curriculum has mostly been a success by any reasonable standard.

Literature Review

A strong measure of any curriculum is the knowledge that it imparts when it is executed and followed. A study authored in 2015 looked specifically at geography as it relates to the Australian Curriculum and assessed whether the system in Australia is effective when it comes to giving students "powerful knowledge." The concept of powerful knowledge is fairly new as it was created as a term by a man named Michael Young in roughly 2005. Powerful knowledge, as stated by Young, is "knowledge that enables young people to go beyond the limits of their own experience, better explain and understand the world, think about alternative futures and how to influence them, learn new ways of thinking, and follow and participate in current debates of local, national or global significance. Geography experts in particular have found great value in Young's idea about knowledge. As one might expect, many of those focused on the Australian Curriculum have asked the question whether the system does a proper job of creating and fostering powerful knowledge within the students that are taught using the Australian Curriculum framework currently in place. Overall, the verdict has been that the Australian Curriculum has tangible and specific examples of topics and lessons that absolutely use the concept of powerful knowledge for the betterment and strong education of the students in the system (Maude, 2015).

Beyond the basic and common questions about how effective the Australian Curriculum is, there are also related concerns about students that are vulnerable for one reason or another. Indeed, students within this classification would be known as "at risk." Specifically, one could focus on students that have special education needs and/or are disabled from an intellectual or physical standpoint. Indeed, when one's daily life tasks and chores are much harder for a certain child as compared to other children of the same age and country of residence, the educational needs for that special needs student will obviously be much higher just to get the same overall results and outcomes, all else equal. The verdict when it comes to how the Australian Curriculum does when it comes to these students can only be described as being full of "tension and opportunity" rather than being represented by a glowing review (Garner & Forbes, 2015).

One consideration that really does have to be taken seriously when it comes to the Australian Curriculum is change and the management thereof. Indeed, the Australian Curriculum, as currently constituted, is fairly new. This is mentioned by Dilkes, Cunningham and Gray (2014) in a recent journal article. To be certain, the Australian Curriculum was a major change in that it rewrites the standards when it comes to the teaching of core subjects such as math, English, science and HASS. While changes that are necessary are a good thing and need to happen, there is also something to be said for changing things too much and/or too often. Having too many changes, good or bad, leads to what is known as "change fatigue" and this has been witness even when it comes to teachers that are otherwise very dedicated and enthusiastic. In short, while continual improvement in schools is something that should be strived after as much as is possible, changing things just for change's sake can actually be more hassle than it is worth and there needs to be great care taken to ensure that the changes being made are actually needed and efficacious based on evidence and prior practice. In other words, changes are indeed needed and they should be put in place as they can be but administrators and lawmakers must understand that doing so can lead to negative effects along the way (Dilkes, Cunningham & Gray, 2014).

Another subject when it comes to the Australian Curriculum is very much tangential and related to the one just mentioned and that is the tension that can and has arisen between people making policy and those charged with installing and enforcing it. As noted by Exley and Chan (2014), one of the main sources of such tension is Reconciliation between aborigine and non-aborigine peoples. To state the obvious, a new and united national order is the ultimate goal but reaching that has been a challenge. As one might expect, one of the major paradigms that would have this problem the most would be the educational sphere. This is another "con" when it comes to the Australian Curriculum policy, simply because finding complete and effective solutions is less than easy as the environment and paradigm in question is ambiguous and hard to navigate in a way that works in many to most situations. Every person and situation is different and thus using a "cookie-cutter" approach is less than effective for obviously reasons (Exley & Chan, 2014).

Speaking of ambiguities, there can be much the same thing said as was said about the aborigines when it comes to general time/space considerations within the schools of Australia. To be more specific, there are only so many priorities and initiatives that can be put in place. Indeed, if everything is critical than nothing is critical. Just a few perspectives and paradigms that have to….....

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Benson, D. (2015). Curriculum Visions: The Australian Curriculum, Assessment, and Reporting

Authority (ACARA) and Dwayne Huebner Discuss Civics and Citizenship. International Journal of Christianity & Education, 19(1), 38-56.

Caldis, S. (2014). Interested and Influential: The Role of a Professional Association in the Development of the Foundation to Year 10 Australian Curriculum: Geography. Geographical Education, 2751-59.

Casinader, N. (2016). Transnationalism in the Australian Curriculum: new horizons or destinations of the past?. Discourse: Studies in The Cultural Politics of Education, 37(3), 327-340.

Dilkes, J., Cunningham, C., & Gray, J. (2014). The New Australian Curriculum, Teachers and Change Fatigue. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 39(11),

Exley, B., & Chan, M. Y. (2014). Tensions between Policy and Practice: Reconciliation Agendas in the Australian Curriculum English. English Teaching: Practice and Critique, 13(1), 55-75.

Garner, P., & Forbes, F. (2015). An "At-Risk" Curriculum for "At-Risk" Students? Special Educational Needs and Disability in the New "Australian Curriculum." Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 15(4), 225-234.

Maude, A. (2015). What Is Powerful Knowledge and Can It Be Found in the Australian Geography Curriculum?. Geographical Education, 2818-26.

Peacock, D., Lingard, R., & Sellar, S. (2015). Texturing space-times in the Australian curriculum: Cross-curriculum priorities. Curriculum Inquiry, 45(4), 367-388.

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