Natasha Bita’s column (‘Back to basics in schools rethink’, Weekend Australian, 2&3/4) filled my heart with joy. Finally, after years of wandering along an unclear and hazy curriculum track, sense and sensibility are to be restored to learning pathways. The news that “phonics, times tables and Australian history lessons will be mandatory … to ensure students master the basics.” (op.cit.) is a win for classroom teachers who for years have struggled with an increasingly cluttered and often irrelevant curriculum.
If the changes include less accountability for accountabilities sake, with student success measured by their mastery of basic learning skills, the transformation will be complete.
Education ministers have responded to the pleas of classroom teachers for change and refocus with this ‘return to the old’ curriculum. Key elements of the changes to be introduced to schools in 2023, are reminiscent learning content during my years as a student in the 1950’s and 1960’s. The changes align with the required focus of teachers in training during the 1970’s and early 1980’s. The curriculum drift since then has been alarming for classroom practitioners and largely disaffecting of teaching focus.
After decades of departure from the important essences of teaching and learning, education ministers are to be applauded for seeing the light.