When schools 'dumb-down' their curriculum, our future as a species suffers.
English too hard for students, principal says | NEWS.com.au
By Justine Ferrari
June 10, 2008 06:00am
Article from: The Australian
THE head of one of the nation's elite private schools has questioned whether English should be compulsory for the senior years, saying the courses being taught are beyond the intellectual ability of most students.
The headmaster of Sydney Church of England Grammar School (Shore) in North Sydney, Tim Wright, told a symposium on a national curriculum in English at the weekend that parents felt alienated from the English syllabus and were deeply cynical about it.
In his speech, Dr Wright said the NSW English course for Years 11 and 12 was a major challenge for many students.
"The intellectual challenge is, in fact, beyond many students," he said.
"It is seen as arbitrary and from time to time the anguished cry comes: 'Why can't we just read the book?'
"I question whether it (English) ought to be compulsory ... at senior level. It is not enough to simply say that like cod liver oil, English is good for you."
The symposium, hosted by the University of Sydney's Arts English and Literacy Education Research Network in the education faculty, was opened by NSW Education Minister John Della Bosca and also heard from the NSW representative on the National Curriculum Board, Tom Alegounarias.
Mr Alegounarias said the content of any national curriculum had to capture what the community -- not teachers -- thought was essential for students to learn.
"The test for inclusion of content will not be what the teaching profession wants, or teacher educators or bureaucrats for that matter," he said.
"Its contents should be measured against its purposes, which are to meet the community's interests. It is an expression of the community's intent and expectations."
Mr Alegounarias dismissed the idea of a curriculum as a technical document or specialised product for teachers alone.