March 28, 2014
Protecting Teachers from The Stress of the Australian Curriculum
In the previous post I talked about the recent presentation at the University of Southern Queensland by Robert Randall, the CEO of ACARA — the body charged with delivering the Australian Curriculum and NAPLAN.
The second notable point from Robert’s talk was his statement that ACARA is not interested in implementation of the curriculum. “That’s for teachers and schools,” he said, “They know best how to do it.”
I wished that all our teachers had been there to hear that statement.
Teachers so much want to do the right thing — they feel a responsibility to implement every single bit of the curriculum. Yet here was the man who devised it saying, “look its up to you how to do it … you can’t teach every single bit … you determine where to put the emphasis and how much time to spend”.
ACARA has let the implementation of the Australian Curriculum be influenced by each state’s educational body, and according to Mr Randall, each state has taken a widely differing approach.
In Queensland, for example, the Queensland Studies Authority has been very prescriptive — setting out exactly how it thinks schools should be implementing the Curriculum. While it has given good guidance and been quite helpful, this has also been restricting for schools.
This experience has reinforced my believe that an important responsibility of a school principal is to help teachers by diffusing the pressures they feel from things like the Australian Curriculum.
At The School of Total Education, we have encouraged those teachers who can more easily interpret the curriculum (they are similar to lawyers interpreting statutes) to distill and simplify it for other teachers.
Our aim is to have teachers who are relaxed and happy, so they can give the children what they most need … patience, tolerance, acceptance … basically a loving approach, which is the essence of Total Education.