Expanding the concept of ‘Curriculum’
Lindy Braithwaite – Acting Assistant Principal, Curriculum
Earlier this month, the UN reported that the COVID-19 pandemic had now affected nearly 1.6 billion learners in more than 190 countries and all continents, making it the largest disruption of education systems in history (https://www.un.org/en/coronavirus/future-education-here). COVID-19 has put a spotlight on a great many issues in society, and given us cause to reflect on what really matters. What is clear for the education sector, is that the role of the teacher and schools to develop capacities in young people is well beyond just the ‘three Rs’ of reading, writing, and arithmetic.
There will be many perspectives and views about what is most important when it comes to educating a young person. However, with curriculum renewal already on the international, national and school agenda, 2020 has now presented an opportunity to more critically appraise and take stock. As my colleagues have aptly highlighted in recent bulletin articles, we (like I am sure you), have all needed to be agile, reflective and resourceful. Where does this fit in to education? Pre-COVID-19 and undoubtedly post-COVID-19, there is and will be, a myriad of research which attempts to predict the future needs of education. What is common to the research more recently is an acknowledgement that alongside concept knowledge, skills like critical and creative thinking, and dispositions will also be a necessary part of curriculum.
The OECD Future of Education and Skills 2030 project has produced a learning framework which breaks knowledge into four areas: Disciplinary, Interdisciplinary, Epistemic, and Procedural Knowledge. It recognises that while the foundations are laid by core discipline concepts, the ability to ‘transfer’ that knowledge, and apply it to solve problems - ones we don’t even know about yet - will be fundamental. Therefore, finding opportunities for students to engage in interdisciplinary learning is increasingly important. The framework also emphasises the co-requisite need to develop attitudes and values in young people that will enable society to address global challenges and contribute to wellbeing.
In line with this, The Education Council recently formalised a review of the F – 10 (Foundation to Year 10) Australian Curriculum, a dialogue that is likely to be robust. A week or so ago, Radford had the significant opportunity to host a consultation session lead by ACARA CEO, David de Carvalh. The session enabled our staff to have a voice in the process, and highlight what we at Radford value in the development of a young person. We were also assured first-hand that the review was not a complete re-write, but a chance to declutter and refine, so that teachers have time to secure the learning of core concepts (e.g. literacy and numeracy), and also have scope for greater depth of learning and space for Cross-curricular priorities and General Capabilities.
Radford is well placed for these directions in the curriculum. We are already developing ways to build on Interdisciplinary opportunities in the Secondary School for students to use their content knowledge to address authentic real-world issues. And, as I have written in the Bulletin many times before, the Secondary School Radford Learner traits and closely aligned Diploma Programme (DP) and PYP Learner Profile , expressing the attitudes and values we seek to build in our students, are integral to all learning experiences at Radford. As we look to the future, we will be integrating the Australian Curriculum General Capabilities such as Personal and Social capability, Ethical Understanding capability and Intercultural Understanding capability, more explicitly into our curriculum, assessment and reporting processes, so that along with academic progress, we will be able to work together to develop these capacities also.
For these reasons, our Interim reports, rather than being focussed on academic assessment, have an emphasis on personal and social capability skills, such as self-regulation. The right habits and attitudes will provide the best opportunity for learning. Secondary School interim reports will be published to parents through SEQTA Engage on Friday 28 August. We encourage you to discuss them with your children.
As with last semester, for the safety of our community, we are unable to host Parent-Teacher-Student interviews in the usual manner. Instead, in these interim reports, teachers will indicate (see box in yellow) if they believe there is further feedback you require on your child’s progress. If that is the case, they will contact you in the last few weeks of Term 3. With online, continuous reporting, you are also encouraged to view the course content, upcoming assessment, and feedback in SEQTA Engage. As always, you are welcome to make contact with your child’s teacher if you have concerns about their progress.
SAMPLE INTERIM REPORT BELOW