Catherine Attard, professor of mathematics education at Western Sydney University, said the new curriculum will have done its job if it helps teachers educate children to problem solve.
“It’s really not about focusing on the curriculum, it’s about focusing on the teachers delivering the curriculum in a way that benefits the students…to be thinkers rather than just people who can calculate “, said Attard.
At secondary school level, two new compulsory history strands have been added to the otherwise reduced curriculum, with each year 10 pupil required to study a sub-strand on Australian history between 1750 and 1914, and another dealing with the post-World War II era.
The first version of the program sparked a politically motivated culture war when it was released last year, with Federal Education Minister Alan Tudge said it gave young people “a negative and miserable view of Australia”..
This followed references in a draft to the Anzac legend as a ‘contested idea’ and the removal of references to Australia’s Christian heritage from the civics and citizenship learning areas.
The final version – endorsed by all Commonwealth, State and Territory education ministers last month – “strengthened and made explicit the teaching about the Christian and Western origins and heritage of Australian democracy, and on the diversity of Australian communities,” the Australian scheme, the Rating and Reporting Authority said.
Content on Australia’s Indigenous history and culture includes the Year 7 study of Australia’s “deep time” history, dating back 65,000 years, as well as “revised content descriptions and elaborations on Australian history to focus on the impact and perceptions of – the arrival of Europeans on First Nations Australians,” the authority said.
New materials on teaching consent and respectful relationships and on digital privacy and safety have also been added.