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Curriculum should embody society’s vision for its future

Curriculum should embody society’s vision for its future

ACER news 4 minute read

The New South Wales Government has released the final report of the state’s K-12 curriculum review that was led by ACER Chief Executive, Professor Geoff Masters AO.

Reflecting on the review in an article published in Teacher, Professor Masters says he concluded the school curriculum should help achieve society’s vision for its future.

‘In my review of the New South Wales curriculum, I began by asking a broad cross-section of the NSW community about their aspirations for school education. What emerged was a vision for the kind of society people want to see. Most see the curriculum as crucial to realising that vision.’

These aspirations and vision, Masters writes, were for a society that:

  • prepares young people for the challenges of the future
  • values and produces knowledge
  • develops high levels of creativity, collaboration and cultural awareness
  • promotes equity and embraces diversity
  • prioritises social and emotional health and wellbeing
  • provides the opportunity for every individual to become the best they can be
  • ensures every student achieves an acceptable foundation of knowledge and understanding.

Masters says this vision requires a curriculum that transcends old divisions between knowledge and skills, theory and application, and academic and vocational learning.

‘The challenge to schools is to design inclusive curricula that open rather than close options…;  offer flexibility and choice; provide challenging learning opportunities appropriate to the points individuals have reached in their development; and set high expectations for every student’s progress and eventual attainment,’ Masters writes.

In his article Masters describes how, in the 1990s, Estonia developed a new curriculum driven by its own vision for the future. Following years of steady improvement, in 2018 Estonia’s students ranked first or equal first among 37 OECD countries in reading, mathematics and science. Masters says Estonian 15 year-olds also ranked exceptionally highly in their ‘growth mindset’.

‘A lesson from Estonia is that the curriculum can contribute powerfully to a society’s vision for its future. A second lesson is that this is a long-term agenda,’ Masters writes. ■

Read the full article:

The role of the curriculum in creating the future’ by Geoff Masters, is published in Teacher.

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