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The Forum > Article Comments > Outcomes we can do without > Comments

Outcomes we can do without : Comments

By Kevin Donnelly, published 11/7/2006

Confused about the conflict that is raging between traditional and student-centred teaching in schools?

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yet more trash from the trash talker.
Posted by Kenny, Tuesday, 11 July 2006 9:20:19 AM
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Yep, once again we see alleged conservatives attempting to start a cultural revolution in Australia.

Kevin, please stop calling yourself a conservative. What you write is embarrassing to real conservatives for whom the conservative political philosophy doesn't represent a program to institute some nonsensical white-trash cultural revolution.

I went to state school in the PM's own electorate. My curriculum was based on many of the things you criticise. I then went to an Anglican school similar to the one the PM sent his own kids to. Again, I didn't learn your white-trash style of cultural absolutism.

Your call to reinstate this cultural absolutism in education makes me wonder whether you have lost the plot completely. There is nothing "post-modern" about kids learning that there is life beyond mother England, and that there are in fact cultures other than English culture existing in Australia.

Please do not impose your revolutionary ideas on the conservative movement. Leave the monocultural revolution to fruitloops who celebrate their post-political career by dancing in musicals.

Just accept it. Australia is multicultural. This is our cultural status quo. We are no longer an English colony. We don't have a monolithic culture. We are still developing our culture.

If these facts are too painful, ring up Dr Who and ask him to lend you his time machine.
Posted by Irfan, Tuesday, 11 July 2006 10:14:09 AM
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Kevin reading this post again after its first publication in the Australian on July 1, I find that I have not changed my views.

At best you have demonstrated failure by State Governments to adequately fund and amange curriculum change and have not demonstrated any real criticism of an Outcomes Focus in curriculum.

I am from WA and have been involved in the development and implemantation of an OFE in this state for over 15 years, mostly in the Mathematics Learning Area.

Outcomes has a teaching and learning focus. An outcomes focus allows teachers to identify what students know and what is needed to move that knowledge, skill or understanding further. It is developmental and recognises that learning is lifelong and continual.

Your arguments always seem to be about absolutes. It is as if having passed a driving test at 17 then you are a good driver. Clearly you are not and experience and circumstances continually teach you and your driving skill and knowledge continue to grow. That does not stop us being measured from time to time to demonstrate our proficiency and maybe there are stages in our lives when we should be. However, this is an example of how in all phases of life developmental learning can frame our understandings. So, it is in learning through schooling.

Your assaults on these changes have succeeded in undermining teacher morale and public confidence in classroom teachers but not succeeded in changing governemnt attitudes to supporting curriculum in any real manner.

Posted by WAChris, Tuesday, 11 July 2006 10:36:26 AM
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Oi Kev, what's this I hear about you receiving copious largesse from John Howard and Phillip Morris, the tobacco company? Pretty postmodern of you to be developing smoking information kits for schools sponsored by a tobacco company, don't you think? I guess that depends on what the kids were being told about it.

Do you recommend they flatten their ciggie packets to use as bookmarks when they're reading Dickens? No wonder you don't like outcomes focus - it could draw attention to the outcomes of your tobacco company sponsored involvement in education.

You're a funny old chap. Come over to my place sometime and learn the pleasures of smoking trout instead. It would make you seem far less hypocritical.
Posted by chainsmoker, Tuesday, 11 July 2006 11:25:08 AM
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Sorry, I'm a Mum and I hardly understood a word of this article, though I did get the feeling the author favours a "fill the kids with facts then test em on it" style of education.

I've never had a problem understanding my kids reports, however, even though they went to those supposedly last bastions of politically correct bureaucrateese co-ed state comprehensive schools ( both doing really well, eldest off to Sydney Uni into her first choice of course). I always knew "working beyond" was an A, and "working towards" a D, just sounded more positive and hopeful, I thought, than the cold judgement of a D or worse.

I can't understand all the fuss about outcomes and reports. It seems manufactured to me. I've never heard a parent - and I mix with hundreds of them - say they didn't know how their kids were doing. I'm no fan of the NSW English course for the HSC, however, teaches bad writing, but I just tell my girls its a game they've got to play due directly to theorists - like the author - who push their own particular barrow and insist the rest of us play along. But my kid's teachers have always been clear about how my girls were doing, both in their reports and at parent teacher interviews - feedback not always pleasant, either. I am confused about the conflict, but this article only confused me further.

All I want from my girl's schooling is that they learn the basics ( very well achieved by their primary and infants schools) and then learn how to learn, and hopefully to love learning, rather than regard it as a chore and a burden. I don't see them as little briefcases that need to be stuffed with facts or with someone elses opinion on what is "good" anything and what is "bad". I want them to have their own opinion and be educated well enough to be able to back it up
Posted by ena, Tuesday, 11 July 2006 11:35:50 AM
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The writer asks: “Why is outcomes-based education under attack from both sides of the political spectrum?”

1. Because it’s easier to attack what you don’t understand than to understand it.
2. Because there’s votes in attacking OBE.
3. Because any politician (or school principal) who supports OBE is excoriated by the writer in the national press as an unAustralian, anti-Christian, postmodern pinko.

And many other reasons. But certainly not because OBE “embodies a dumbed-down and politically correct approach to education”.

The way to get a curriculum that’s really “dumbed-down and politically correct” is to involve politicians in the making of it. And that includes the writer, whose extensive political activities are public knowledge.

I look forward to the sort of brave new curriculum that the new curriculum micro-managers are cooking up for us. How about ‘The New Objective Non-Ideological and Cant-Free History of Australian Industrial Relations’ by Julie Bishop: “Once upon a time, the Australian workplace was a wilderness inhabited by unenlightened savages. Then, in 1996 and 2006, a series of brilliant reforms led us to nirvana where employers and staff negotiate on equal terms in an atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding.”

I’m sure that a majority of serving Federal MPs would agree there is nothing politically correct or dumbed-down about that. (Coming soon from Windschuttle Publications!)

And how is it “increasingly obvious that Australia's adoption of [OBE] has allowed standards to fall and put generations of students at risk”? (And no, the polemic ‘Why our schools are failing’ isn’t evidence.) At risk of what? At risk of some unspecified, unnamed, amorphous, all-encompassing “risk” that, in current-affairs speak, “no responsible parent can afford to ignore”? Sorry, but one of the things OBE taught me is to recognise propaganda when I see it.

The only thing that’s “increasingly obvious” is that the writer continues in the practice of selective evidence-gathering, one-sided presentation and a career-wrecking McCarthyist demolition job on those who, in his opinion, are engaged in thoughtcrimes. And he has the hide, as recently as this week, to accuse others of indulging in “ideology and cant”.
Posted by Mercurius, Tuesday, 11 July 2006 11:39:51 AM
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