Everything's big in Oz

26th January 2007 at 00:00
James Gordon, an English and computing teacher at Selkirk High, who is doing a Masters degree through the CT programme, was particularly interested in the cross-curricular approach he saw in the education system in Victoria.

"We come from insular, discrete departments where we don't have a history of cross-curricular and inter-departmental disciplines," he said. "Things like pupil reflection, electronic portfolios, and pupil autonomy in making choices are big."

Mr Gordon has introduced his S3 and S5 pupils to a paper format of the Australian pupils' electronic portfolios, which they use as a self-evaluation tool across the three strands of their curriculum.

"At Fitzroy High, I saw pupils making observations on their work and getting in touch with other pupils," he added. "They were improving their learning themselves.

"At Mordialloc College, they had taken the entire first year into one classroom. They created groups to learn together on themes and in cohorts.

It was the most extreme example of the new devolved curriculum in Australia."

At Mordialloc, he saw 10 teachers teaching together in the same classroom, and at Fitzroy, four. While one group was being taught a particular lesson or workshop, others would be working on their portfolios.

Mr Gordon predicts that making Scottish secondary schools truly cross-curricular will be a big challenge in reforming the curriculum.

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