With the establishment of the Australian Curriculum and Assessment Reporting Authority (ACARA), a new hierarchy of knowledge has been suggested – with English, Maths, Science, and one half of SOSE – the history curriculum, being offered in the first phase. The second half of SOSE gets the nod in the second phase of the national curriculum roll out, with HPE a distant third. Professor Alan Reid from the 2009 Garth Boomer Memorial Lecture noted that “usually, official texts spell out the whole of the intended curriculum – what is in it, what weighting is given to each section, what is core and elective – with the whole piece having an overall coherence or integrity. The national curriculum has none of this. Each part is being treated separate to the other…simply a number of stand alone subjects.” cited by Emmel & Penney (2010). While the subjects in phase one and two are developed, trialled and benefit from feedback cycles, HPE is well behind in the roll out of phase three. The Australian Primary Schools association called the national curriculum a “cluttered curriculum”, whereby coherency will be increasingly hard to achieve in this fragmented, contested space (Emmel & Penney, 2010).
What does this mean for you? Right now? Next year? Down the track?
For example, your reading for this week draws upon the ACHPER National Statement on the future of HPE. “HPE is the area of the curriculum that provides education for children to learn how to lead healthy lifestyles now and in the future; that is, lifestyles characterised by and recognising the importance of health and physical activity for physical, social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. It is the area of the curriculum that is directly concerned with the development of skills, knowledge and understandings, values and attitudes that will counter so-called lifestyle diseases that are widely acknowledged as representing an unprecedented threat to the health and economic future in Australia…it engages students in learning related to contemporary adolescent health issues.
The main differences here are with the inclusion of more than 4 main concept areas – in SOSE, which we are currently using, we have Time, continuity and change, Place and space, Culture and identity, Political and Economic Systems
Both the QSA essential learnings for HPE & SOSE, and the national curriculum have moved towards a synthesis or integration of what you learn and how you learn it – recognising an important epistemological shift in knowledge construction/reproduction that what and how you learn cannot be artificially separated. They are intertwined. Consider the example where students learn about our shared Australian history and Indigenous people’s experience of our shared history, will students whose learning is from old history books, from the “colonisers” perspective, be the same as the learning that would come from local area investigations, or story telling? Of course not. So the “how” of learning is as important as the “what” and our curriculum is a great example of that philosophy. So, the message here is not to be caught up about what is “the right” content to teach in History, Geography, SOSE or HPE. It is the “what + how”, which is driven by “why?’.
Classification refers to the degree of boundary maintenance between contents, which is concerned with the insulation of boundaries between curricula (the strength of boundaries between subjects). Strong classification means curriculum is highly differentiated and separated into traditional subjects, and weak classification refers to a curriculum that is integrated and in which the boundaries between the subjects are fragile (Sadovnik, 2001, p. 3)
Basil Bernstein (1924-2000) was a well regarded sociologist and curriculum theorists whose theory provides you with some useful tools for today, next week and down the track. By analysing how curriculum is produced, recontexualised and reproduced, you can keep up with what the Dept was doing 5 years ago (and the legacy in schools), what it is using today, and cope with whatever they throw at you in the future. Using the concept of classification, Bernstein outlined two types of curriculum codes – collection and integration. Collection = strongly classified, with well maintained boundaries between subjects, and integrated means weakly classified, with weak or no boundaries between subjects. Bernstein equated an integrated curriculum as a marker of “modern” society (Sadovnik. 2001, p.3).
While classification was concerned with the organisation of knowledge into curriculum, framing is related to the transmission of knowledge through pedagogic practices. Framing Refers to “the location of control over the rules of communication” and while classification regulates the voice of a category, framing regulates the form of its legitimate message (Bernstein, 1990, p. 100). Frame refers to the degree of control that teachers and students possess over the selection, organisation, pacing and timing of the knowledge transmitted and received in this pedagogical relationship” (Bernstein, 1973, p. 88). Strong framing equated to a limited degree of options/control for teachers and students and weak framing implied more freedom (Sadovnik, 2001, p.3)
Bernstein’s theory of pedagogic discourse centred on the principle of language as codes. He argued that code refers to a “regulative principle which underlies various message systems, especially curriculum, pedagogy” and evaluation. Bernstein (1973, p.85) noted that “curriculum defines what counts as valid knowledge, pedagogy defines what counts as valid transmission of knowledge, and evaluation defines what counts as a valid realization of the knowledge on the part of the taught (the student)”. The pedagogic rules illustrated above affected the content to be transmitted, acting selectively upon those who can successfully acquire it, thus examining the social class assumptions and consequences of forms of pedagogic practice” (Sadovnik, 2001, p.4)
The recontexualisation field (Bernstein 1996) is a field of practice that serves to mediate, or more specifically, pedagogise knowledge generated in the primary field. Agents within the recontextualising field, located in such curriculum authorities as ACARA, QCAR, QSA, EQ curriculum branches, select, organise, and distribute the discursive resources (syllabi, essential learnings descriptions), which have been generated by the primary field (international discipline, academics, university departments and related agencies in the primary field (Macdonald, Hunter & Tinning, 2007, p.112). Hence Bernstein’s theory was concerned with not only the production, distribution and reproduction of official knowledge, but also how this knowledge is related to structurally determined power relations. He was concerned with more than just descriptions – he was concerned with the consequences for different groups, particularly those social marginalised students who were already at a disadvantage in terms of social capital, language codes and educational access (Sadovnik, 2001, p. 4). This theory provides its users with the foundation for linking micro educational processes to the macrosocial levels of social structure and class and power relations. By considering the inner workings of how schools reproduce what they are ideologically committed to eradicating – social class advantages in school and society.
Teachers (secondary field) rely on the recontextualised pedagogic versions of the primary field (syllabi) which are articulated into curriculum (materials, resources, approaches, assessment). Knowing what and who is in each field helps you cope with change, cope with controversy, and realise the expectations placed upon you in the (re)production of your own curriculum materials. E.g.. The History Wars - When the recontextualised knowledge selectively overlooks or misinterprets knowledge from the primary field, what gets taught and learned in schools is questioned and questionable. The conservative PM prior to the 2007 federal election, John Howard weighed into the Primary field, decrying the teaching of the “black arm band view of history” that included the Australian Indigenous perspective of this country’s occupation as invasion, achieved through genocidal practices. The current Labor govt is also keen to put some distance between what it sees as a history that might perhaps focus too much upon critical or ‘negative’ aspects of Australia’s true history at the expense of “celebratory” history of joint achievements. Kevin Rudd’s view on the teaching of history (ABC PM radio transcript)
Hunter (2006) noted that many HPE related tasks occur in the primary years of schooling where general classroom teachers have the most limited engagement with the primary field of HPE knowledge – that is, fewer contact hours in university disciplinary studies, less opportunity to come to know and understand HPE research and fewer opportunities for HPE professional development.
How do you think you will go with acquainting yourself with all of these documents and contexts? We will spend a bit time over the next 6 weeks looking at ways to embed Indigenous perspectives in SOSE & HPE curricula. Studies of Society and environment are practically impossible without considering Indigenous knowledge and perspectives. The statement and resource materials very helpfully suggest ways to embed Indigenous perspectives and knowledge at critical junctures so rest assured that this is something that makes your job easier, not more difficult. The ACARA history curriculum is also heavily invested in Indigenous studies and your state and national teacher professional standards require you to become competent, if not proficient in embedding Indigenous knowledge and perspectives in your teaching practice & curriculum.
My emphasis on this description of national curriculum policy making is demonstrate that curriculum is always a work in progress. Bernstein also had a wonderful description for curriculum and pedagogy – “imagined”! In that it did not take its final “fixed” form until transmitted and acquired in the classroom – right up until you utter that opening or final sentence, the “imagined” curriculum can change. This unit is all about developing your curriculum skills and confidence to make those changes as required.
7216EDN Health and Physical Education & Social Science Curriculum
HPE is widely regarded as a strongly bounded, well maintained, strongly identified teaching area (Macdonald & Glover, 1997). It is taught in primary school by specialists who strongly identify (and defend) their area, and generalists who may not identify strongly with HPE at all.
SOSE is a modern attempt to break down barriers between formerly well maintained and defined areas of knowledge, bringing together people from different knowledge areas…but is now redefined and classified under the National Curriculum for History & Geography.
And, what will happen to Environmental Education, Peace Studies etc which currently have curriculum space in SOSE?
The Australian Council for Health, Physical Education & Recreation (ACHPER) is the peak organisation representing the discipline and teachers of HPE in Australia. They state:
Belonging in the National Curriculum is predicated on alignment with current National policy goals (e.g. Melbourne Declaration 2008, ACARA general capabilities) and benefit to Australian society (Emmel & Penney, 2010).
Fundamental to understanding ourselves and others…the study of the past. It provides knowledge, understanding and appreciation of previous events, people, practices and ideas. It orders them, renders them intelligible and discerns patterns of continuity and change.
Provides the means whereby individual and collective identities are formed and sustained.
A way to enrich the present and illuminate the future.
A distinctive and indispensable form of understanding practiced across many generations. Human civilisation is marked by a preservation of the past in oral memory, documents, artefacts, monuments and traditions.
History is a discipline with its own methods and procedures. It deepens our understanding of humanity, creativity, purposes and values. History draws on and contributes to other bodies of knowledge.
Geography is the investigation and understanding of the environmental and human characteristics of the places that make up our world. It is described as the ‘why of where’. Geography answers our questions about why places are like they are, and how they are connected to other places. It explains how and why they are changing, and how and why their characteristics vary from place to place.
Geographical understanding is the ability to see the relationships between items of knowledge; to construct explanatory frameworks and models to illustrate these relationships, and to weave them into an integrated whole. It is also the ability to use geographical knowledge to solve new problems by thinking and acting flexibly with what one knows. A geography curriculum that develops understanding emphasises explanation, helps students to relate new knowledge to existing knowledge, and provides opportunities for them to apply their understanding to questions and problems that they have not previously encountered.
The geographical concepts that are used to organise and understand information are a component of Geographical K&U, but when used to guide analysis they can also be a part of Geographical inquiry (i.e. a skill).
Basil Bernstein (1924 – 2000) Sociologist and curriculum theorist – a theory of pedagogic practice:
“ Classification” – ‘the degree of boundary maintenance between contents’ (Bernstein, 1973, p.205), which is concerned with the insulation of boundaries between curricula (areas of knowledge and subjects).
Strongly classified (C+) Well maintained boundaries between subjects Traditional society & knowledge structures Weakly classified (C-) Weak boundaries between subjects Modern society Non-traditional subjects
Refers to “the location of control over the rules of communication” and while classification regulates the voice of a category, framing regulates the form of its legitimate message (Bernstein, 1990, p. 100).
The degree of teacher & student control over curriculum decision-making.
Strong (F+) limited control ----- Weak (F-) more control
Knowledge Production, Recontextualisation & Reproduction Production of discourse Reproduction of discourse Recontextualisation of discourse International Field University research, policy, Disciplinary knowledge Recontextualising field Govt agencies, curriculum Committees, syllabi Secondary Field School curricula, HPE & SOSE Programs, assessment Primary field Students, parents, communities
Teachers (secondary field) rely on the recontextualised pedagogic versions of the international field (or govt/state demands) which are articulated into curriculum (materials, resources, approaches, assessment).
Knowing what and who is in each field helps you cope with change, cope with controversy, and realise the expectations placed upon you in the (re)production of your own curriculum materials.
E.g.. The History Wars, “black arm-band” view of history, dance in HPE curriculum
Making sense of the “Fields” International field/ the “State” (Govt) New trends, latest research – “obesity epidemic”, international testing regimes/NAPLAN Pedagogic Recontextualising Field Essential Learnings in KLAs, ACARA – National curriculum, textbooks, Dept policy – Eat well Be Active, Smart Moves, other policies Secondary field Your school curriculum – your context, colleagues, your Principal, Local priorities, Assessment practices Primary Field Students, parents, communities
Community demographic/community needs & priorities
Semester Roadmap Wiki Exam 6 – Integrated unit planning & assessment/ rubrics Wiki 5 – Resources – where do you find content and resources for HPE, SOSE & history Wiki Microteach Exam 4 – Planning in HPE & SOSE – understanding ELs, K&U + WoWs, designing lessons & teaching approaches Microteach Exam 3 - Social View of Health – social justice, inclusion & diversity Wikis Exam 2 – Key values for SOSE & History focus/ Inquiry based learning. Designing “worthy topics”. Exam Microteach 1 – HPE & SOSE overview – where you are now, priorities & rationales Assessment links Week/Lecture/tutorial
“ national policy making is inevitably a process of bricolage: a matter of borrowing and copying bits and pieces of ideas from elsewhere, drawing upon and amending locally tried and tested approaches, theories, research, trends and fashions and not infrequently flailing around for anything at all that looks like it might work”.
Thus, destined to be reworked & nuanced as they progress towards practice (p.44).
*The Karl Mannheim Professor of Sociology in Education at Institute of Education, London. See www.ioe.ac.uk .