TEACHER knows best was the main message out of Tamworth’s NSW curriculum review session this week.
Parents and teachers were brought together for input into a statewide education overhaul in the first comprehensive review of the whole school curriculum since 1989.
The review aims to “equip students to continue to contribute to Australian society in the 21st century”.
Calrossy principal David Smith attended and said it was a chance to shift focus away from rigid requirements and comparisons and back onto students’ passions and deeper learning.
The review seems to be aimed towards a complete overhaul, with public consultation attendees asked what the purpose of education should be.
Mr Smith said the current curriculum was “overcrowded” with schools now taking the lead on a range of activities, like driver education, which were previously in the realm of parents or families.
He said it needed to re-calibrate to focus on the individuals.
“We need to focus individual growth rather than measuring schools against each other,” he told The Leader.
“There needs to be flexibility for the schools to meet the needs of its own kids.”
Often curriculum was too rigid in its structure, he said, setting down hundreds of hours to particular subjects rather than developing a passion for learning.
While he said there needed to be some accountability and testing, he believed it should come from locally-based decision-making.
“NAPLAN tells teachers what we already know,” he said.
“That’s not to say there shouldn’t be some measurement, but it needs to rely on teacher’s judgment to help kids to grow rather than a bureaucratic exercise.
“We’re saying teachers are well-trained to make judgments, rather than someone in Sydney or Canberra.”
The review is being headed by Geoff Masters. His report will be delivered to education minister in the second half of next year.
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