Progressive but not new
As a teacher with more than 50 years experience your article “Innovative curriculum program for college” stirred my interest, for there is rarely anything new in education (Gaz 2/10).
Each generation of teachers is required to show that they can instigate, manage or adapt to change in their performance reviews lest they be considered stagnant, inflexible, or incapable of moving with the times.
Consequently, change is expected in schools regardless of whether or not it is effective. I’m pleased to say that the change proposed by Mr van Breugel and the staff at Warragul Regional College has been proven to be beneficial in the past. However, it is far from innovative and the philosophies of Dr Zhao are not original.
In the mid-1970s my colleagues and I at Bonbeach High School were amongst the first in Victoria to provide a student-driven curriculum in the junior school.
Electives were offered to students in Years 7 and 8 and the most popular were presented in a vertical timetable.
This enabled classes containing students from both year levels which were based on student interest rather than age, exactly as WRC is planning to do. It was a highly successful program that students wholeheartedly endorsed. So much so, that it was expanded to the middle school as well, and was subsequently adopted by many other schools.
It should be noted that Dr Zhao was only 11 years old at the time so, while WRC’s proposed model is progressive, it is not new as your heading suggests, nor is it a product of Dr Zhao’s intellect. I wish the college every success with the changes it is making to its curriculum.
Bruce Bowering, Drouin West