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More to be added to crowded curriculum

By GnT - 14 November 2007 7

Andrew Barr has announced that by 2010 all public primary schools in the ACT will offer a language other than English. The ABC has it here, and the press release is here.

I’m all for language learning. As Barr says, it allows students to be “internationally engaged and sensitive to cultural diversity, with the skills to work in various geographic locations across the globe and across cultures”. However we already have an overcrowded curriculum, with recent calls of PE and history to be made compulsory. Schools simply don’t have enough time to teach absolutely everything.

No wonder the Australian Primary Principal’s Association has drafted a charter outlining the core business of primary schools, being English, Maths, Science and Social Studies. 90% of principals, teachers and parents agreed, which shows that Barr is out of touch with what the community feels primary education is all about.

What’s Your opinion?


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7 Responses to
More to be added to crowded curriculum
nyssa76 8:12 am 15 Nov 07

Glimmertwins, right.

But when would the training occur? During the day. So who would cover their classes? And where would the money come to pay relief?

In order for it to be offered – there needs to be a staff member who can speak/read/write a language fluently.

Glimmertwins 7:53 am 15 Nov 07

Actually reading the media release answers these questions

1. Language education to be OFFERED at every ACT Government School by 2010

2. currently languages are only offered in 34 of the 63 public primary schools and 16 of the 17 public high schools.

3. different staffing models will be explored such as a cluster model for teaching of languages – where teachers may teach in more than one school.

4. the Government will commit about $300,000 to provide high quality interactive language training for primary school teachers and language teachers

nyssa76 5:09 pm 14 Nov 07

Now that I’ve stopped laughing….

I wonder who he’s going to get to actually TEACH the classes. Not all primary schools – or high schools for that matter – have staff who have a qualification in LOTE.

Then there are the kids for whom more time spent on literacy and numeracy would be more important. Forcing them to undertake studies in another language when they can’t grasp their own boggles the mind.

S4anta 12:11 pm 14 Nov 07

There is tonnes of evidence that actually shows that young pups learning languages, and to converse in another tongue actually improves developmental cognition which makes folks smarter.

Bring it on, make it compulsary, damn the torpedoes, create a generation of fit, sensibly minded intelligent people.

Mr Waffle 11:45 am 14 Nov 07

“So next year she will take her place learning Indonesian with kids who have already been learning it for some years.”

I had the same thing happen to me. I did (optional ) Japanese in primary school, then when I went to high school, we were all randomly placed into Indo, German or French. I got into Indo for yr 7, but in yr 8, Indo was full (everybody wanted into it because they heard Indo class got to go to Bali), so I got moved to German…

Peanut 10:26 am 14 Nov 07

ACT schools have had compulsory LOTE for years – what is the man on about?

Mike Crowther 10:23 am 14 Nov 07

Well here’s an educative word for Barr. My daughter has been learning Japanese since kindergarten and is now in year three. (Nice to see that Andrew has such a good grip on what actually goes on in ‘his’ school system.).

However, Andrew took the decision to close down her school and none of the local alternatives offer Japanese. So next year she will take her place learning Indonesian with kids who have already been learning it for some years. Of course this wont be placing her at a disadvantage (not in Andrew’s universe at least.) And before some smart-arse says it, I don’t care which language she learns, this is about those almost forgotten Aussie principles called fairness and parity.

I have no problems with an expanded curriculum. Reading and writing are all well and good, but the kids need to have things to read and write about. It’s grubby apparatchiks using children and their classrooms for their own political advancement that I loathe.

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