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Educators Brace Themselves For A Radical Swing In Curriculum

Radical swings in curriculum do not work for students. Despite this, the Government is pushing ahead with plans to shelve the Curriculum Refresh - a process with extensive involvement from the profession, and appear to be preparing to replace it with a narrow knowledge-rich curriculum.

We need to be careful about viewing practices from the past with rose tinted glasses, especially when it means an over reliance on rote learning. We also need to be wary of an increased focus on standardised assessment and reporting which has proven to be damaging for students' well being and engagement and flies in the face of what good teaching and learning looks like in the 21st century. There is also a concern that an obsessive focus on knowledge could come at the expense of much needed competencies like collaboration, resilience, and responsibility.

It is important that we instead improve outcomes by moving away from political swings and roundabouts with each consecutive government and use the research base of academics who work closely with educators on the ground. It is fair to acknowledge that there is something to be gained from clearer learning objectives that take the guesswork out of what to teach but we also need to recognise the professionalism of our educators. Whilst clarity is important, so too is a flexible curriculum that recognises the need for educators to contextualise both learning and assessment.

AEC Spokesperson Maurie Abraham, “we know that knowledge has a place in a well rounded curriculum, but so do competencies. We appear to be on the verge of a radical shift in our national curriculum that will see us become out of step with other OCED countries. We are in the 21st century so need to ensure that students have the knowledge, skills, and the competencies needed to be successful.”

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“The current over reach of a small group of researchers at the expense of the wider professional and academic field is cause for concern. It is time that the professionals, the school leaders and the teachers, were entrusted to lead the development and implementation of curriculum - they know their students and community the best.”

About Aotearoa Educators Collective

Aotearoa Educators Collective is an umbrella collective created to support education thought leaders who share a common interest in promoting progressive ideals in schooling. The group includes academics, principals and teachers and is not aligned to any political party.

These leaders choose to contribute to mainstream public debate through mainstream media based on their research, their lived professional experience and their standing within the sector.

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