Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne has warned he will take a much more hands-on approach to what is taught in the nation's schools, as he prepares to overhaul the government body in charge of the curriculum and NAPLAN tests.
1. What students could learn from this resource. (VELS/AusVELS Level & learning focus statement).
VELS Humanities Level 2 Learning Focus statements from VELS: …students become aware of the various types of geographical and historical evidence. They begin to make basic comparisons between ‘then’ and now’…
By observing the characteristics of different places, and prompted questions, students think about environmental differences, locally and in other parts of Australia and they world. And why these differences exist.
2. How and what the resource would be used in the classroom for HSE learning (Prep – Year 2) I would use the song in a Living in Australia unit. It would not be used as an introduction into the unit as a whole but as an introduction into looking at Australian animals. I would display the lyrics of the song on the interactive whiteboard and get the children to sing along to it. We would work on it each day for a week and add actions for each of the animals. We may present it at assembly. The children would then split into groups. 1 group would play and Australian animals board game that looks at the lifecycle of a koala, kangaroo and wombat joey, another group would look at identifying mammals, marsupials and monotremes and the final group would use arts and crafts to create Australian animal models. The follow up to this lesson would be to look at which animals were endangered or extinct and investigate why this was they case and what humans were contributing to this. The topic would then lead into an excursion to Healesville Sanctuary.
3. A brief description of how your resource/activity responds to an aspect or aspects of the readings for that week.
This resource showcases the animals that are unique to Australia. Cousins (2006) asks the question, ‘what does it mean to be Australian in a multicultural society?’ To be Australian cannot be aligned with being of Angelo-Celtic decent living a stereotypical Australian lifestyle. Australia is now such a multicultural country and rather than align our nationality with personal stereotypes and traits we should look to Australia’s unique qualities to define ourselves. What it is to be Australian is becoming lost in this sea of multiculturalism yet it is still important for all Australians to be able to identify with their country. Cousins (2006) adds ‘perhaps ideas of civic values and a renewed appreciation of our interconnectedness through local communities will reinvigorate ideas of national identity’. Children need to learn about what animals, traditions, places and cultures make Australian unique to be able to feel proud of their nationality and appreciate the ideas that shape their country and themselves. Through this song they can begin to explore what animals are special to Australia and be introduced to the concepts of how the animals have changed as the environment has.
If there’s anything the editors of BestMastersPrograms.org love more than classes and books, it’s universities and libraries. It’s no surprise, then, that university libraries rank right up there among our favorite places.
Marking the anniversary of the first successful slave uprising in the Western hemisphere, the head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said today that telling the story of the slave trade was a crucial ...
Irini Kassidis's insight:
I think its great the work that UNESCO is doing to raise awareness about the history of slave trade.
A million students sat down yesterday for the first day of the three-day National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN). It wouldn't help to tell them that one day they will wonder at all the fuss their parents and teachers are making.
I AM a NAPLAN cheat. Yes, that’s right. I am a teacher and a cheat. How I cheat is that I am preparing my Year 9 students for NAPLAN. I am drilling them on their punctuation, homophones, paragraphing and syntax.
Over 85 percent of all pancreatic cancers are diagnosed late, when someone has less than two percent chance of survival. How could this be? Jack Andraka talk...
Irini Kassidis's insight:
A very uplifting and inspirational video. I believe this a great clip to show students that anything is possible when you put your heart and mind to it and it doesn't matter how old you are, race and gender.
The tinderbox mix of high youth unemployment, lack of education and the threat of extremism is turning access to school into a "security issue", says Irina Bokova, director general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.
The volatile prospect of millions of uneducated, illiterate youngsters in developing countries, under pressure from the financial downturn, has brought an unprecedented political significance to the campaign to give every child a primary school education, she says.
Ms Bokova was speaking ahead of a speech later this week at the United Nations from Malala Yousafzai, who will call for all children to have the right to go to school.
The Pakistani schoolgirl, who will make her speech in New York on her 16th birthday, defied the bullets of the Taliban in defence of her right to an education.
But behind the optimism of Malala's campaign and the creation of an annual "Malala Day" is a much more complex global story, with failure as well as success.
In 2000, in the warm glow of a new millennium, world leaders pledged that universal primary education would be achieved by 2015. No child would miss out on the basics of schooling.
Head and heart
After an initial surge, progress stalled and achieving the target in the next 18 months now seems unlikely.
"By 2015, it's impossible," says Ms Bokova, the Paris-based head of Unesco.
But she says that rather than being a cause of pessimism, the pursuit of the target has brought "huge progress". There were 108 million children out of school when the pledge was made; the most recent figures suggest this has fallen to 57 million.
"If the right strategies are in place, and you put your head where your heart is, then things can be improved. In Afghanistan in 2000 only 4% of girls were in school, now there are more than 70%."
Ms Bokova says that another positive outcome has been a much stronger recognition of the importance of measuring the quality of education, rather than simply counting heads going into a classroom.
Among the more sobering discoveries has been that many pupils have spent years in school but remained functionally illiterate.
So in the autumn, Unesco is planning to produce a new set of global metrics to measure what's actually being learned in primary classrooms around the world. "It will give a global understanding of what quality education means," says Ms Bokova.
It remains unclear whether there will be more targets after 2015, but anything that emerges will be more about quality of education, rather than simply volume of places.
Ms Bokova says the financial crisis delivered a major blow to achieving the goal of universal primary education. Donor countries pulled the plug and left an "alarming gap" in funding.
In sub-Saharan Africa there remains a shortage of 1.7 million teachers.
But despite this gloom, she says that the financial crisis has given education a "paradoxical" political importance.
Youth unemployment is a major threat in many countries and education and training are seen as vital investments.
"Education is now becoming in some cases a security issue," she says, with examples such as Afghanistan, Iraq and across the Middle East, where there is huge pressure to provide education to promote stability and democracy and to avoid extremism.
"The same is true of big emerging powers. In Brazil, the government recognises that the education system is one of the biggest challenges as it moves forward to a competitive economy and an inclusive society."
The social tensions of deepening inequality and a lack of social mobility are also shaped by decisions about education systems, she says.
Economic and political stability are now inextricably linked to improving education, says the Bulgarian-born Unesco director general.
"Education is becoming the key issue now in discussions about overcoming the economic crisis.
"But how are we going to make this happen? Budgets and international aid are shrinking.
"We try to convince countries that if they want to invest in coming out of the crisis, then invest in education."
Another barrier to getting all children to school is a lack of fair access, particularly for girls.
Ms Bokova says it's not acceptable for countries to hide behind ideas of "cultural differences" or "tradition" as a reason for discriminating against girls.
Malala Yousafzai has become a powerful emblem
"One event can spark a huge reaction and understanding and I think it was the case with Malala," she says.
"It was a stunning example of courage and a desire to learn."
And she says that getting more girls into school is the single most important goal.
"It's not just a human right, it's what is needed to have normal societies. If a girl goes to school, she is less likely to have an early marriage, she will have healthier children, she'll find it easier to earn an income, she's less likely to be subjected to violence, less likely to have an early pregnancy.
"There are so many advantages, healthier communities, less violence, more economic growth. It has such an incredible multiplying effect.
"This is the best thing that could happen to humanity."
The pledge for education for all has also highlighted where the problem is most acute.
A meeting organised by the UN in April brought together eight countries - Bangladesh, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen - which between them have about half the children in the world who are missing out on school.
It was an unprecedented attempt to systematically work out what has been going wrong.
A minister from the DR Congo said that about 60% of those missing out on school did so because of the cost of school fees with the other 40% blamed on armed conflict.
In Ethiopia the problem was identified as being focused on rural communities and lack of access for girls. In South Sudan it was a lack of trained teachers and a low level of school participation among girls.
In Nigeria, which has the most children out of school, the difficulty was not necessarily about money, but was caused by low participation among girls in some areas and problems with "infrastructure" about providing teachers. Weaknesses in state authorities delivering the plans of the national government were also blamed.
The country has also seen brutal attacks on schools. Secondary schools in Nigeria's north-eastern state of Yobe were ordered to close this week after a massacre in which suspected Islamist extremists killed 22 students.
Ms Bokova says that there is now a willingness among such countries to recognise what needs to be changed.
Despite the failure to make the 2015 deadline, she says the attempt has shown the international community what can be achieved. Countries such as India and Ethiopia have taken substantial steps forward.
This has disproved the feeling that "education is too complex, too costly and it takes too long to show results".
But there is no escaping the harsh truth that millions of children, born a decade after the world promised universal primary education, still won't have even the most basic access to school.
It's been possible to launch hundreds of satellites and put a spacecraft on Mars, but not to put children into classrooms a few hours south of Heathrow.
"In many cases we have failed, but it shouldn't discourage us. We're winning the argument."
Will the goal of primary school for all children ever be achieved? What needs to change to make it happen?
1.- I believe the goal of primary school for all children will be achieved as long as the world continue showing to extremist countries about the benefits that educated children will bring to their own economic development. Bright minds tend to bring bright ideas for their own and for the world. 2.- In order to make it happen, extremist beliefs must switch their focus to the betterment of their people by providing the necessary skills not only for survival but also for an effective contribution within their own country, and within the world.
Irini Kassidis's insight:
I found it amazing that there were 108 million children out of school when the pledge was made. Recent figures have showed that this has fallen to 57 million.
The pledge is, all children by 2015 will have access to primary education. Education has proved to be very powerful and beneficial. Some of those benefits include: healthier communities, less violence and more economic growth
NAPLAN is only a small portion of the school curriculum. It doesn't really say much about students abilties or educators pedagogy. I also found it interesting that the article reads that nature plays more of an important role than nurture.
NAIROBI Kenya 28 October 2013 PRNewswire Africa Hundreds of high level delegates from 150 countries and across the United Nations system gathered at the headquarters of the UN Environment Programme UNEP in Nairobi on...
It's great to see the UN Environment programme tackling development challenges In Africa and trying to found solutions to make the world more environmentally friendly using natural resources such as oil and gas.
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