Saturday, February 25, 2012
Looking at the Australian Curriculum: Geography
Images above: Humanities students in Virginia and Wahington in the US involved in activities in the classroom and out in the field.
Related sites to Humsteach blog
21st Century Geography Google Group
Australian Geography Teachers' Association website
'Towards a National Geography Curriculum' project website
Geography Teachers' Association of South Australia website
Tough questions on curriculum content
Last week we had the opportunity in the workshop to provide some feedback to the Australian Curriculum, Reporting and Assessement Authority on the Australian Curriculum: Geography. On behalf of geography teachers around Australia, thanks for your input - much appreciated, especially from primary teachers.
As the consultation period for the draft Australian Curriculum: Geography is nearing an end, it is worth thinking about what should and shouldn’t be in the geography curriculum. As expected we all have different views of what is fundamentally important to be included and what can be dispensed with. This is particularly evident as we read the feedback from teachers, industry, jurisdictions, universities, community members, government departments, organisations, geography societies and geography teachers’ associations. All of these groups have different agendas and ways of looking at the world and naturally consider that their area of interest needs to be appropriately and satisfactorily represented in the curriculum.
I thought it would be an interesting exercise to make a list of all the things to consider as ACARA continues to work on ‘bedding down’ the content of the curriculum.
• How do we decide?
• Who decides?
• What is important?
• What is imperative?
• What is engaging?
• What is useful (socially, vocationally, personally, environmentally, nationally …)?
• What is age appropriate content?
• What content is achievable for schools (teacher expertise and resources?)
• Should we push outside of what is happening know in geography classrooms across Australia?
• What should be in a 21st Century curriculum?
Even after months of work and discussion there are a range of issues/points of clarification which continue to require discussion as we move ever close to the October publication deadline.
• The nature of place and space.
• The nature of sustainability in geography.
• The importance of the spatial perspective.
• Geography and citizenship capacity.
• The appropriatness and extent of cross curriculum priorities coverage.
• The mandating of fieldwork.
• The aim of engagement versus essential coverage.
• The physical/human geography balance.
• How do we integrate the key concepts into the curriculum content?
• Spatial technology and its use as a core issue to be mandated in some way or not.
• The need for the language and terminology of the document to be understandable to non-geographers.
• Geography in the primary setting – suitability and achievability.
Needless to say, ACARA and its writers and advisers have quite a job ahead in meeting the expectations of the disparate groups and individuals who have provided the feedback during consultation. A task I am sure will be met to the best of ability by all of those involved.