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stella2.0, Finland and Ministerial paper no 6
10-08-2013, 08:54 AM
Post: #1
stella2.0, Finland and Ministerial paper no 6
I'm posting this on behalf of Prue ... (thanks Prue!)


I know I talked enthusiastically about the Victorian Government’s Ministerial Paper number 6 Curriculum Development and Planning in Victoria (1984) “issued for public information and discussion” as the guideline for schools in fulfilling their responsibilities under the Education Act.

I think it’s helpful to remind ourselves of the language of that policy, not so much as a nostalgic exercise, but because it gives us new (or old as the case may be) ways of reading our current guiding policies – including policies on teacher standards. The position it takes if far from where we are in Australia today, though very close to Garth Boomer. Not so far, funnily enough, from Finland, where, according to Finnish educationalist Dr. Pasi Sahlberg, there are as many curriculums as schools. His Dean’s Lecture ‘How Finland Remains Immune to the Global Education Reform Movement’ given in 2011 (I think) at Melb. Uni is terrific to watch



I’ve selected a few statements from Ministerial Paper no 6 – so read them knowing that I am the filter. The context for the paper is that individual school councils were responsible for school policy and school curricula.

3.1 The term “curriculum” is often used to refer to the course of study or to the subjects to be taught in a school In this Paper, curriculum refers not only to the content of courses but also to the effects on student learning of such matters as staffing policy, facilities, teaching and learning styles, school organisation, and assessment and reporting procedurs.

3.2 Every curriculum is also an expression of values. Some are explicit and some are indicated by the practices of the school. Where particular values are clearly understood and supported, they can provide a firm basis for curriculum planning; whre they are either not clear or not publicly recognised, decisions about curriculum are likely to be controversial, arbitrary or trivial.

3.2 School communities may not easily reach agreement about values. In a society as diverse as ours, different groups hold different beliefs and values. Such differences should be respected. But there is much common ground among all groups . . . schools should seek to identify these common values as a basis for educational policy and to find ways of reconciling differences where values conflict.

5.4 . . . . Unless the school is a place where significant decisions are made, it cannot provide a model which will assist in preparing young people for life in a democratic community.

5.5 . . . . Teaching staff and parents understand the needs and problems of their students and can often best see how everyday life and experience are related to school learning for those students. Students can also contribute views about the kinds of learning they feel most appropriate for them. Teachers, working closely with students and parents are best placed to choose materials and activities appropriate for individual students. Parents, teaching staff and students who have taken part in planning a school’s curriculum are more likely to be committed to making it work.

5.6 . . . . Consensus about curriculum policy and its implementation is likely to grow best out of ongoing discussions and negotiation between all the parties concerned.

8.2 . . . . [Schools] can ensure that all young people receive an education which enables them to participate fully in society, to contribute to overcoming injustice and inequality, and to solve the problems of our society.

8.3 . . . . As institutions within a democratic society schools should ensure that their own processes are democratic. They should:
(a) involve teaching staff, parents, students (as they mature), and where appropriate, other members of the community in discussion and planning of the school’s educational program
(b) see that the members of its community are provided with the information and assistance (eg interpreters, in-service) they may need to contribute effectively . . .

9.1 The Government intends that all students have access to educational experiences that are challenging, purposeful and comprehensive

9.2 . . . . Real access requires that programs take account of differences in social and cultural background and that teaching methods provide for differences in pace and style of learning

9.3 . . . effective access requires that schools . . . . ensure that test scores and general measures of ability are not used to stream students into particular classes and that classes are organised to cater for students with a range of previous learning

9.4 The Government’s commitment to extending real access to education is best understood in conjunction with its objective that all children experience success at school.

9.5 . . . . when we speak of students succeeding we intend that they should achieve something of value to themselves and others.

9.8 In seeking to ensure success for all students schools should:
(a). . . , (b). . . , © . . . , and
(d) ensure that assessment policies do not emphasise comparisons between students . . .
In section 10 ‘Approaches to teaching and learning’ schools are reminded that they must enable students to develop a sense of themselves as learners, learn in a variety of ways, and relate learning to action. Guidelines are given to help schools achieve this.

I’d be interested to hear responses to either the Finnish approach or to these extracts from Ministerial Paper no 6
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11-27-2013, 10:15 AM
Post: #2
RE: stella2.0, Finland and Ministerial paper no 6
(10-08-2013 08:54 AM)scottb Wrote:  I'm posting this on behalf of Prue ... (thanks Prue!)


I know I talked enthusiastically about the Victorian Government’s Ministerial Paper number 6 Curriculum Development and Planning in Victoria (1984) “issued for public information and discussion” as the guideline for schools in fulfilling their responsibilities under the Education Act.

I think it’s helpful to remind ourselves of the language of that policy, not so much as a nostalgic exercise, but because it gives us new (or old as the case may be) ways of reading our current guiding policies – including policies on teacher standards. The position it takes if far from where we are in Australia today, though very close to Garth Boomer. Not so far, funnily enough, from Finland, where, according to Finnish educationalist Dr. Pasi Sahlberg, there are as many curriculums as schools. His Dean’s Lecture ‘How Finland Remains Immune to the Global Education Reform Movement’ given in 2011 (I think) at Melb. Uni is terrific to watch



I’ve selected a few statements from Ministerial Paper no 6 – so read them knowing that I am the filter. The context for the paper is that individual school councils were responsible for school policy and school curricula.

3.1 The term “curriculum” is often used to refer to the course of study or to the subjects to be taught in a school In this Paper, curriculum refers not only to the content of courses but also to the effects on student learning of such matters as staffing policy, facilities, teaching and learning styles, school organisation, and assessment and reporting procedurs.

3.2 Every curriculum is also an expression of values. Some are explicit and some are indicated by the practices of the school. Where particular values are clearly understood and supported, they can provide a firm basis for curriculum planning; whre they are either not clear or not publicly recognised, decisions about curriculum are likely to be controversial, arbitrary or trivial.

3.2 School communities may not easily reach agreement about values. In a society as diverse as ours, different groups hold different beliefs and values. Such differences should be respected. But there is much common ground among all groups . . . schools should seek to identify these common values as a basis for educational policy and to find ways of reconciling differences where values conflict.

5.4 . . . . Unless the school is a place where significant decisions are made, it cannot provide a model which will assist in preparing young people for life in a democratic community.

5.5 . . . . Teaching staff and parents understand the needs and problems of their students and can often best see how everyday life and experience are related to school learning for those students. Students can also contribute views about the kinds of learning they feel most appropriate for them. Teachers, working closely with students and parents are best placed to choose materials and activities appropriate for individual students. Parents, teaching staff and students who have taken part in planning a school’s curriculum are more likely to be committed to making it work.

5.6 . . . . Consensus about curriculum policy and its implementation is likely to grow best out of ongoing discussions and negotiation between all the parties concerned.

8.2 . . . . [Schools] can ensure that all young people receive an education which enables them to participate fully in society, to contribute to overcoming injustice and inequality, and to solve the problems of our society.

8.3 . . . . As institutions within a democratic society schools should ensure that their own processes are democratic. They should:
(a) involve teaching staff, parents, students (as they mature), and where appropriate, other members of the community in discussion and planning of the school’s educational program
(b) see that the members of its community are provided with the information and assistance (eg interpreters, in-service) they may need to contribute effectively . . .

9.1 The Government intends that all students have access to educational experiences that are challenging, purposeful and comprehensive

9.2 . . . . Real access requires that programs take account of differences in social and cultural background and that teaching methods provide for differences in pace and style of learning

9.3 . . . effective access requires that schools . . . . ensure that test scores and general measures of ability are not used to stream students into particular classes and that classes are organised to cater for students with a range of previous learning

9.4 The Government’s commitment to extending real access to education is best understood in conjunction with its objective that all children experience success at school.

9.5 . . . . when we speak of students succeeding we intend that they should achieve something of value to themselves and others.

9.8 In seeking to ensure success for all students schools should:
(a). . . , (b). . . , © . . . , and
(d) ensure that assessment policies do not emphasise comparisons between students . . .
In section 10 ‘Approaches to teaching and learning’ schools are reminded that they must enable students to develop a sense of themselves as learners, learn in a variety of ways, and relate learning to action. Guidelines are given to help schools achieve this.

I’d be interested to hear responses to either the Finnish approach or to these extracts from Ministerial Paper no 6

Hi Scott

It's hard for me to get past 3.1 and 3.2 here:

3.1 The term “curriculum” is often used to refer to the course of study or to the subjects to be taught in a school In this Paper, curriculum refers not only to the content of courses but also to the effects on student learning of such matters as staffing policy, facilities, teaching and learning styles, school organisation, and assessment and reporting procedurs.

3.2 Every curriculum is also an expression of values. Some are explicit and some are indicated by the practices of the school. Where particular values are clearly understood and supported, they can provide a firm basis for curriculum planning; whre they are either not clear or not publicly recognised, decisions about curriculum are likely to be controversial, arbitrary or trivial.

This is because these statements are so astoundingly different from the way curriculum seems to be understood now. I'm just linking this in to Joe's thread on the silo approach- timetabling is also a really important part of creating what the curriculum is, because whenever you try to do something cross curricular, you come up against this beast of a thing, the timetable, which is truly spoken of as if it is a living creature that cannot be tamed by administrators, and which will bite if you try to touch it. Every school has one of these Timetable Jabberwocks in a cage in the office- there is almost a kind of worship of it. Also a good eg. of managerialism before professionalism, when, like Joe, we have a yearning, a deeply felt professional instinct or need, to involve, say, the drama staff in English lessons.
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