Written by: Helen Champion
Yes. Your response. Responses from teachers are needed. This includes responses from primary classroom teachers (the biggest user group in the curriculum audience), music specialists working in primary, secondary or F-12 settings, those who teach instrumental music, anybody who works in school-based music education, or anticipates they might be working in schools sometime this decade or who has an interest in what is in the curriculum.
By making a response, you’ll be contributing to a project that aims to ensure that the curriculum which will frame Foundation – Year 10 music learning for young people in Australia’s schools over the next few years is one that covers the essentials of music learning. You’ll also be contributing to a curriculum that aims to give teachers the flexibility they need to make the learning engaging for their students.
What follows is detail about the review with links to even more information. At the end are the instructions for making a response. Thank you (in advance) for taking time to contribute.
- Australian Curriculum F-10 is developed by ACARA for implementation by states and territories. It is a framework, not a syllabus. The framework includes 8 learning areas, 7 general capabilities and 3 cross-curriculum priorities. It is published online at https://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/
- Details about the review such as terms of reference, timeline, governance structure and FAQs are available here: https://www.acara.edu.au/curriculum/curriculum-review
- The Australian Curriculum is underpinned by the Alice Springs (Mparntwe) Education Declaration
Reviewing Australian Curriculum: The Arts – Music opens opportunities to
- refine and declutter
- provide teachers with greater clarity about what they are expected to teach
- recognise that the ways that people practice and engage with music is continually changing
- ensure that the curriculum continues to allow teachers to deliver arts learning that is inclusive and accessible
- connect students with music-making in local and global contexts.
At ACARA, preparation for the review began in 2015. States and territories have reported information about how they are implementing (or adapting) Australian Curriculum, or, how it is informing development of local curriculum.
ACARA compared the Australian Curriculum F-10 with curricula from Finland, Singapore, British Columbia (Canada) and New Zealand. Findings from these studies are available in the publications section of the Australian Curriculum website.
ACARA also participated in international curriculum research projects including the OECD Future of Education and Skills 2030 project.
Findings that have influenced the proposed curriculum revisions
This list combines influences on review of all learning areas in the Australian Curriculum, influences on review of the Arts as a learning area and influences on review of the Music curriculum
- specialist teachers reported that the content of Australian Curriculum: The Arts – Music includes the essential content they need to teach using their preferred pedagogies
- primary classroom teachers reported that the curriculum is too detailed, that they’re not sure what they’re expected to teach, and, overall, across the whole curriculum, there’s too much content
- learning about the cultures of First Nations Peoples is of critical and increasing importance in Australia and internationally, and the current version of Australian Curriculum: The Arts could do more in this space
- play, wonder and imagination are important, in the early years and throughout the stages of schooling, into adult life
- how we engage with music as listeners, composers and performers is being changed by technology and the various lifestyles we find ourselves living (think 2020)
- learning about multi-disciplinary forms is important for now and the future. Music isn’t always heard or performed in isolation
- engaging with music is a sensory experience
- music, indeed, all The Arts are central to personal, cultural and community well-being
- sustainability includes sustainable practice, not just in the way we use materials but also ways of thinking and doing
- findings from research about music and fields such as neuroscience are continuing to influence pedagogy
Curriculum review and implementation are a slow process. The timeline is that a version of the curriculum is available for public comment until July 8. In late 2021 following revisions based on feedback during the consultation, Education Ministers will be asked to endorse the curriculum. In early 2022 ACARA will release the curriculum on a redesigned Australian Curriculum website. From there, states and territories will determine when and how it will be implemented.
3 things you can do to contribute to a music curriculum for use in all schools in Australia:
- Go to acara.edu.au and follow the links to the consultation website
- Read the proposed changes for Australian Curriculum F-10: The Arts – Music. You can focus on F-6 (primary school) or 7-10 (secondary school, but not senior secondary, that’s the responsibility of individual states and territories)
- Contribute your feedback by completing relevant questions in the online survey.
Helen Champion is the ACARA Curriculum specialist: The Arts. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org