Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Perhaps they should be labelled

"The National Cringe Guidelines" rather than "The National Curriculum Guidelines". They are most certainly not "The National Curiosity Guidelines" which is, IMHO, what they should be.
I searched and found them on the 'net yesterday. I wanted to read them for myself before coming to any conclusion about their potential. I did not want to reach the already widely held view that these are designed to inculcate politically correct beliefs and values. These are, after all, the guidelines that will be imposed on schools across the country. They are designed to allow a child to move from school to school and state to state and still learn the basics. It is a good idea in our increasingly mobile society where jobs are no longer for life and families do move around.
The problems are that it does not allow for the same flexibility in the eduation system and it makes it easier to indoctrinate children with the beliefs of those who set up the curriculum.
In this case those who set it up were handpicked to provide a certain view of Australian history and Australia's place in the world.
There is a heavy emphasis on Australian indigenous 'history' and 'culture'. There is a heavy emphasis on other Australian history and Australia's place in the Asian region. Other history is given an airing - but ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome can be replaced by ancient Asia - or should I say East and South East Asia. The Indian sub-continent is not highly regarded. Africa gets mentioned in the context of apartheid but, apart from that Africa barely rates a mention. South America does not rate a mention.
Instead children are going to be taught a view of history and the world that I believe to be highly inaccurate and politically motivated. Yes, there were appalling actions taken in the past but, put in context, they are not the major part of our history and there is more than one way of telling the story. The new curriculum guidelines do not acknowledge that. They take a view which asks children to feel guilty for the presumed actions of people in history over whom they had no control. They do it at ages where children will accept what they are told rather than question alternatives - whatever the guidelines say about teaching them to question.
Successive governments have yearned for us to 'become part of the Asian region'. We are not.
We will never be that. Asia does not see us that way. We would do better to concentrate on being the bridge between Asia and the rest of the world. It would make for better understanding of one another and better foreign policy.


Rachel Fenton said...

Even if children have questions - if schools in Australia are anything like the one my child is at - they will not be encouraged to ask them!

All very sad really.

catdownunder said...

You can ask politically correct questions but you cannot question what you are being taught!