I thought I would provoke some discussion and thinking up front in today’s blog. I want to be especially confronting to the status quo that schools are in at the moment because we have a belief … opinion … viewpoint … that most schools are living in lala land about the Australian Curriculum. [Note: Lala Land is that land you go to when you put your hands over your ears and shout loudly "lalalalalala" to block out the conversation someone is trying to have with you!"]
We have been working with a range of schools in Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia and our opinion about the readiness of schools for implementing the Australian Curriculum is a resounding NO!!!!!!
This is not a critical issue at the moment but I don’t believe many schools (nor the governments for that matter) have confronted what it is actually going to take to authentically and professionally implement the Australian Curriculum to honour both its intent and the possibility available from its embedding.
We have some perspective on this because we have spent the past 18 months working with primary and secondary schools, government and independent schools, teacher teams that are on board and those that are not, and across several states, and have spent an enormous amount of time and thought looking at what are the factors that will empower and enable the effective implementation.
We have HAD TO DO THIS as part of being paid by the schools and being effective as a consultancy.
The implementation of the Australian Curriculum is an extraordinary opportunity to create a shift in the learning and teaching profession. It is one of those line in the sand sort of moments that will define education in this country … or not (if schools don’t act). The next few years will involve some enormous transitions for the way that schools and teachers think, plan, and operate in their learning environments. It will challenge the habits and rituals of learning within the learning environments. It will demand that teachers develop themselves continuously to be more masterful. It will be confronting, challenging, sickening, and thrilling.
What it IS going to take for the Australian Curriculum to be delivered well is a paradigm shift in the way that teachers provide learning and schools support learning.
To give you a sense of our thinking and observations of what it will require, I sat down and wrote out a list of some of the actions schools would need to take at a minimum to be effective and cause learning performance across their school.
- Have you mapped out the Achievement Standards across the year levels to see how they flow and fit and could be linked?
- Have you audited your current curriculum documentation to get a sense of what you are currently delivering?
- Has there been a skills mapping that articulates how both the subject specific skills and the general capabilities will be coherently built upon through the year levels?
- Have you set benchmark expectations for each year levels end-of-year expected skills and understandings to measure progress against?
- Has the school set time aside for teaching teams throughout the year to map out and plan each year level’s implementation of the Australian Curriculum?
- Have you begun to trial some Australian Curriculum units?
- Have you documented any Australian Curriculum units already delivered and reflected upon what worked and what didn’t and refined the unit?
- Have you looked at the timetable and thought about how to redesign it to allow for new learning approaches and cross-curricular learning?
- Has the Senior Leadership developed a progressive plan over the next two years of how they will support teachers with time, professional learning, and critical friends to support the cultural shift?
- Are there developmental structures to support the embedding of new teacher practice, strategies, habits and thinking?
- Are there frameworks to support teacher growth, acknowledge teacher performance but also to professionally deal with teacher non-compliance?
We are working with schools on all of these aspects and over the coming months our blogs will be sharing the results of our work with various schools so you can start to see the unpacking of this thinking.
My question to you (and please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org) is … what do you see needs to be addressed and where are you stuck?