This month’s #onsci is is being led by Charlotte Pezaro (@cpezaro), teacher and PhD candidate at the University of Queensland.
Charlotte: Whose curriculum is it anyway?
The Australian Curriculum, years in development and now in its 3rd version, is currently the mandated curriculum to be taught in all schools in Australia (with the exception of NSW, who are due to start using this curriculum in 2013). It doesn’t yet cover all school subjects, but it does include a Science curriculum, complete with an emphasis on inquiry pedagogy. It has been developed so that the curriculum is consistent across all schools in the country, and as such, replaces the state curricula that came before it. The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), an agency of the federal government, are responsible for its ongoing improvement, as well as for the controversial NAPLAN testing program and MySchool website.
Recently, there were concerns that in some states and territories, the development of state and local Earth Sciences curricula had “pandered” to the minerals sector. Those courses seemed to be heavy in minerals and the economic benefits of mining and light on other Earth Science topics, such as climate change, biodiversity and environmental sciences – the partial funding of a textbook by Woodside Petroleum was also questioned (Science subject comes under fire, July 21012, SMH,). In Queensland, at the Liberal National Party state convention, the party passed a resolution calling for the state Education Minister to remove ‘environmental propaganda’ – described as “post-normal science” regarding climate change – from the curriculum (Minister will consider LNP Resolutions, July 2012, ABC) . This is a worrying move, harking back to the days not so long ago when Queensland Premier Joh Bjelke-Peterson allowed creationism be taught alongside evolution in the high school science classroom.
This month’s #onsci will delve into competing interests in how we choose what science should be taught at school. What is the purpose of a (Science) curriculum? Whose needs does it address? Who decides what in included and what is omitted and why? And who should be responsible for creating it?
Join us this Thursday 9th August at 9pm AEST (12pm BST, 7am EDT).