A meeting of State and Territory governments has announced that they have agreed to the formal separation of History, Geography and Economics into separate subject areas. These subjects have been incorporated within subjects known as Society and Environment or Studies of Society and Environment (SOSE). See article in The Age and report in the Daily Telegraph, both 24 April 2007. See also report in The Advertiser, article in the Brisbane Times and editorial in The Australian, all 25 April 2007.
Supported by the Australian Government, National Career Development Week aims to promote the importance of career development and career management skills. A range of events, services, opportunities and links to further information are available online.
Surf's Up is a free teaching resource developed by Surf Life Saving Australia as part of the Year of the Surf Lifesaver. This easy-to-use teaching aid supports national efforts to keep young people safe around the water and to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary for sound decision making. Surf's Up has been delivered free to all primary schools through the Scholastic Book Club. Parents can find a copy by contacting their school book club coordinator. See also online extracts available from Curriculum Corporation.
The New Zealand Teachers Council has released seven standards for graduating teachers, covering required professional knowledge, practice, values and relationships. The standards will apply from January 2008. Teacher education providers will need to be aligned with the standards for accreditation. Education Minister Steve Maharey welcomed the national standards, which have also been supported by the New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) teachers’ union. See Ministerial media release, NZPA article and report on Radio New Zealand, all 23 April 2007.
In New Zealand there has been further widespread discussion over proposed revisions to the national curriculum. See article the New Zealand Herald, 26 April 2007.
Running from 3–4 May 2007 in Melbourne, the National Values Forum will explore the implementation of the National Framework for Values Education in Australian Schools. Participants will share examples of good practice from schools, explore ways to involve student voice in values education and facilitate discussion on future directions. The forum is hosted by ACSA.
Hosted by the Department of Education Victoria, the Values Education State Conference will be held on 2 May 2007 at the William Angliss Centre, Melbourne. International and local speakers will focus on building partnerships with parents, students and the broader school community.
The New South Wales Government has announced that class sizes in the earliest years of public schools have been reduced by around four students over the last 10 years. The Government has exceeded four-year targets it set in 2003 to reduce class sizes to 20 for kindergarten, 22 for Year 1 and 24 for Year 2. The announcement follows an independent evaluation of the Class Size Reduction Program by Professor Bob Meyenn of Charles Sturt University. See article in the Sydney Morning Herald, 10 April 2007.
Western Australia's Catholic Education Office and the Australian Islamic College have developed a teacher immersion program. Staff from WA schools La Salle College, Lumen Christi College, Chisholm College and Kewdale's Australian Islamic College shared materials, teaching methods and insights on working with students from different cultural backgrounds over the five-day program. The Islamic teachers held discussions on Islamic faith and culture with students at the Catholic schools, while staff from Catholic schools visited various classes at the Islamic College. See article in Teacher, April 2007.
A maths expert in the USA has warned that mandating learning outcomes in detail 'facilitates quick, shallow learning and swift forgetting' and 'is a poor way to encourage problem solving, critical thinking, and the habits of mind that support further, deeper learning'. The expert, Professor Nel Noddings, has also warned that imposing courses on advanced topics such as algebra and geometry on unwilling students will translate into students acquiring only superficial knowledge, via drill. See article in Education Week, 20 March 2007 (registration required).
Twenty-seven Queensland state schools have shared in $210,000 of grant funding to use ICT for teaching and learning in mathematics, English and to re-engage students. Outcomes will be showcased through the Switched on Teachers web community. See Queensland Government announcement.
First year students in QUT's Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood) program now have access to mentors, through the Mentors Assisting Transition Education Students (MATES) program. MATES meet regularly with students, providing advice and recommending resources. See media release from Queensland University of Technology, 13 March 2007.
The Northern Territory Government has announced the release of the Wesley Lanhupuy Remote Teacher Cadetships. Ten cadetships will be awarded to remote Indigenous Year 12 graduates, to undertake teacher education from 2008. See Ministerial media release, 26 March 2007.
Intercultural Language Teaching and Learning in Practice (ILTLP) is a major, national professional learning initiative to support languages education. It aims to develop a collective understanding and work with intercultural language teaching and learning. This project is funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, Science and Training through its Australian Government Quality Teacher Programme.
The Australian Government launched a new Confucius Institute at the University of Adelaide in March 2007. One of the Institute's key aims will be to encourage the teaching of Mandarin in South Australian schools, from primary to tertiary level. See media release from the University of Adelaide, 28 February 2007.