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In the year 2008, the governments both territory and state approved the idea of establishment of an Australian curriculum. Curriculum is a term used to refer to a body of knowledge that can be passed down from one individual to the other. The management of this development rested on the Australian Curriculum and Reporting Authority (ACARA). K-12 curriculum was developed which was focused mainly on science subjects. This curriculum was to be printed out in phases each addressing different subjects. Australia had variety of curriculum models. There were about 11 curriculum models in total. These models have been receiving government support and the government has wasted resources while trying to come up with 11 different sets of curricula. There are other countries with more models than Australia for example UK yet it has resorted to setting up a common curriculum. The Australian government has set up a national curriculum which aims at bringing out the uniformity in the different models. This act has experienced various challenges. The curriculum had its scope identified, defined structure and the ideas that it explained. In this paper also the way in which Australian curriculum meets the needs of the learners in the 21st century has been addressed.
Australian curriculum was set up with the aim of achieving the already specified goals of education. The major goal of education is to prepare youths so as to actively participate actively in a modern technological world. The main aim was to set up curriculum that can be recognized worldwide. It is well known world wide that one curriculum exists in Australia unlike the eight well known curriculums that are in existence.
The commitment shown by different individuals and government on the development of the Australian curriculum, shows how both the state and the individuals are focused on developing students abilities without showing any discrimination. The development of a national curriculum leads to improvement of the countrywide goals of education. More attention has been in providing Australian youth with the necessary skills, information and the talents that are required to make them live and be successful in the society. They also will be able to participate in a competitive world. Worthwhile resources can be developed and availed in the country through this process.
In Australian curriculum there is clarity of what the youths are expected to learn and their levels of performance. There is a lot of freedom that students and schools have been given so as to center on students needs. Even though the Australian curriculum has specified the scope of learning, the teachers have a major role to play in deciding learning organization. The Australian curriculum takes into consideration variety of skills and interests the students' already posses. Through the schools participation in interschool sporting activities, the curriculum enhances interpersonal skills of speaking and creativity. Schools also organize private teaching programs to cater for gifted students from all over the world. The development of artistic programs and sports helps the students to develop leadership qualities and be able to be independent. Various stakeholders work hand in hand in the implementation of the curriculum.
The structure of Australian curriculum
Australian curriculum has been divided into various parts. There is the core curriculum that addresses general abilities of individuals which are applicable in their daily living. Secondly, there is a formal curriculum which deals with regulations and techniques of operations. Chosen curriculum gives students the ability to make decisions on issues of their concern. Meta curriculum on the other hand entails activities and events that schools organize with the aim of promoting individual growth, good morals and harmony within the learners.
The structure of the curriculum was as follows. It had three parts which were interrelated and linked to each and every subject of study. First, there is a part that deals with general abilities that deal with the ability of a human being and the other part addresses the inter-curriculum proportions. Content is put forward in a way that outlines to the teacher what they are expected to do at every year level. The content in most subjects is put together in such a way that it gives the extent in to which the learner will go at every level of study. Australian curriculum tries to explain to students in Australia the meaning of different curriculums especially core and formal while leaving to teachers and parents to decide on Meta curriculum and chosen curriculum.
How student achievement is measured has also been stated. A scoring system from A-E is to be applied. The process of assessment, methods and all the materials necessary for the assessment is the duty of states and territories but not the Australian curriculum.
Curriculum ideas and the sequence
The Australian curriculum has been organized in such a way that it puts forward various ideas. First, it emphasizes the need for learning that is important in life and the ongoing education in the 21st century which aims at producing change. Secondly, it presumes human ability and high reliance on new knowledge and the new equipment used in communication. Thirdly, the curriculum defines learning as having the aim of creating a better world where students can work in. It also aims at providing human beings with the skills to be used in problem solving, critical thinking and creativity. Australian curriculum is not discriminative. It was established with the belief that if individual students are given enough time and support they are able to perform and that there is no better student.
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Australian curriculum covers various year levels from year 1 to year 12.It specifies that there are various subjects that are handled at various levels. History for example, has been set to be done at year 6. All the others like geography, science and mathematics have been assigned different years. The way of allocating various year levels depend on the content. Simple content develops first and it builds up until the most complex one which is found at the highest year levels.
Curriculum definition and it's relation to descriptive model
Curriculum as a term has various definitions; it can be defined as a body of knowledge that can be passed down from one individual to the other. It can also be defined as a product which refers to effort made to obtain a certain goal in the student. It can also be defined as a continuous process that has a well defined goal. The Australian curriculum deals with knowledge to be transferred to young Australians. It aims at offering the necessary skills to young people. It also fits into the definition of curriculum as a product as the main goal of Australian curriculum is to improve the nationwide goals of education. Curriculum as a process is seen in the fact that the Australian curriculum is being developed continuously. They move from simple to the most complex forms.
The Australian curriculum relates to the descriptive curriculum model, which is focused on the reality of an issue. They deal with the real issue. The Australian curriculum model addresses the current situation in Australia where there are so many curriculum models. The main aim of the experts who came together is, to harmonize the existing models and develop one model of curriculum that will receive international recognition. This model is being influenced by both factors from within and those from without. Some of the factors from within that affect the curriculum model include the need to incorporate all the available models in the one national curriculum. The other factor is the presence of competing elements in the different models. In the Australian model, everything is done systematically.
View of the purpose of education and the learner
Australian curriculum promotes the view that education should be geared towards imparting knowledge on the learner. It imparts knowledge and skills on the student with the aim of preparing them to be useful members of the society in future. The content specifies the requirements of teachers at various year levels. There are variety of skills, knowledge and expertise that a student has to gain at every level of study. Australian curriculum holds the view that students have equal abilities but the difference is brought about by the support that the student is given and the available resources. Australian curriculum aims at making sure that the academic principles throughout the country are established. During the development of Australian curriculum, there was a guide of Melbourne declaration which was seeking to assist the youths in Australia to be triumphant learners who are self assured and creative. The main aim of the curriculum it to ensure equal access to education for all and high performance for all students. It is focused on providing young people in Australia with the necessary skills to be able to live in a competitive world and enter the job market. To be able to facilitate all this, curriculum was to be made available for all young people of Australia without putting into consideration their backgrounds (Marsh, Kennedy & Brady, 2002).
Influence of learning theory and human development
Learning theory states that the purpose of learning is to add in new knowledge and expertise into the already found knowledge and to enable that knowledge to be easily accessed by the learner. Learning starts with the urge inside the learner to gain new knowledge. The learner after having that urge should be able to attend the most important aspects and differentiate from all existing noise in the environment. The ability to of a student to be able to retrieve information comes when there is active involvement. This goes together with the Australian curriculum which promotes the idea of providing the student with all the necessary content so as to be able to learn. The theory of human development states that as the child grows the mind also develops and hence he will be able to accommodate more complex ideas. This also is in conjunction with the Australian curriculum which emphasizes the fact that different knowledge has to be learnt at different levels. They put it that the simple concepts should be learnt at lower levels and developed up to the point where at higher levels more complex terms are learnt. With these there should be a key principle that connects the existing knowledge with the new knowledge.
The use of ICT in teaching learning and assessment has been seen as the most valued process that brings about successful learning. This process is up-to-date and ensures efficient results. The use of ICT does not improve quality without any human input. Application of ICT in conjunction with the Australian curriculum will speed up the process while ensuring high performance. ICT contributes to high achievement in teaching, learning and assessment. At the high school level, students offer variety of subjects so as to enable the students to choose. These subjects are taught by teachers with professional qualifications and expertise in the field. In teaching these teachers use various forms of technology for example internet and well equipped laboratories
How the curriculum cater for the needs of 21st century learners
An Australian curriculum does provide for the needs of the learners in the 21st century. The Australian curriculum which has acquired international recognition, aims at getting the youths ready to face the challenges of life in the 21st century. The curriculum has been set up by all the stake holders in various arms of government with the main aim of giving the best learning to students in the 21st century. It has therefore made use of the most talented personnel in various sectors in the development of the curriculum.
The structure of the curriculum is aimed giving the best education for the learners. It tries to clarify the nature of content to be taught, the level of understanding at each year level and the amount of the information to be taught. The skills that are expected to be developed by students at every level of study are also specified. The ACARA is putting every effort to ensure that there are standards put in place to monitor the implementation of the curriculum. The learners should get time to meditate on the taught concepts while having time to look into other ideas both local and international. Apart from the standard Australian curriculum for schools, there is provision for vocational programs to cater for those students who do not qualify to gain entry into higher levels of education.
The scope, structure and the ideas presented in the Australian curriculum have given meaning to education in Australia where initially there were so many kinds of models in existence. The curriculum has looked into the overall ability of the learner which includes possession of creative and critical thinking skills and the ability to work as a team. All these ideas are studied with reference to a particular subject. Hence the Australian curriculum looks into the general abilities of the people that are required in their daily activities.
The input of professionals together with the use of ICT has been highly applied in Australian curriculum; this enables the users to get everything online. This ensures that the curriculum is active and can be updated easily. The online nature of the curriculum enables the users to question the structure of the curriculum and model it so as to fit into their daily needs.