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Jean Walker

New curriculum scrapped

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Our new Minister for Education has just announced the scrapping of the controversial Outcomes Based system which was introduced here five years ago and has cost $A80m. We are to return to traditional subjects with syllabuses based on the National Statements of Learning recently written by our federal govt. Another extremely expensive educational failure.

It caused me to do a bit of browsing on educational change and I found this which I think is extremely interesting and very relevant.

http://mypage.bluewin.ch/delpinp/ARLE/arti...e%20practice%22

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Just wondered if anyone had read the article above and had any thoughts on it?

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Just wondered if anyone had read the article above and had any thoughts on it?

The article argues that professors of education in the US have a large say over what goes on in the classroom. It might be true in the US but not in the UK. That all changed under Thatcher. It is politicians that now have the major influence: National Curriculum, SATs, Ofsted, league tables, etc.

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Here, it is the Minister who has the biggest say but what he/she does can be heavily influenced by the top educational bureaucrats who read the research journals and then make recommendations to the Minister and what he/she decides to do is very much reliant on how well or badly informed they are themselves or whether they are their own person or not, or rely heavily on their advisers which most of them do.

When you say politicians make the decisions in England, they still must get their ideas from somewhere and it's my bet that they come from the latest university research via curriculum journals through Ministerial advisers and so to the Minister. It's all very Yes. Minister stuff whichever country you live in.

Here, also, the teachers union is very strong and as in the recent scrapping of the new curriculum, the Minister was influenced by the survey we did which showed overwhelmingly that teachers were opposed to it. We were ready to publish that fact and as there had already been community/parent criticism he had the common sense to take notice and take action even if it was also to retain his vote.

I think the article is asking what sort of research do these advisers and educrats rely on for reaching their decisions on what to recommend to politicians and the answer is that it is mostly untried, untested and based on emotional responses rather than tested, empirical evidence as medicine etc now is.

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