Pro­gres­sive but not new

Warragul & Drouin Gazette - - NEWS -

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

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