2014

Education, not Indoctrination

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The Australian Government has opened a review into school curriculum content to public submissions.
I’m a qualified teacher but have never practiced the profession. Apparently I was a High Distinction student but not a High Distinction teacher.
During the practical component of my study, I worked in three separate schools with various age groups, mostly focussing on 8 year olds and under.
With this in mind, I wrote a short submission to the Government on what I think needs to change when it comes to our kid’s curriculum:

During my study for my teaching degree (2007 – 2009) I was shocked to discover children in QLD state (government) schools are subjected to religious instruction at least once a week.
Not only is this a waste of valuable teaching time for essential subjects, it is also not taught by a qualified teacher, the class often taken by a lay person from a local Christian church.
If this instruction was provided by someone qualified in teaching and theology, and included all three major religions in Australia, I could happily accept it as an optional course for children of a certain age, perhaps year 5 – 7.
However, this is not the case.

– Children are taught this class from year 1 – an age where children are still learning to distinguish between reality and fantasy. When the ‘teacher’ does not make the distinction between proven fact and mythology, this often leads to the children assuming the stories they are told are true.

– The class is not taught as a mythology, it is taught as truth and fact.

– The class is compulsory – parents must opt-out on behalf of their children. Their children are then forced to sit outside the classroom, fostering a sense of exclusion.

– This class is not governed by a curriculum and adds no measurable value to the outcomes of students.

It is not the place of the government to teach religion in state schools.
It is the place of government schools to focus on maths, English, the arts and history.
This time in the afternoon, once a week, could be better spent teaching children about the genuine and rich history of our country, or undertaking indigenous studies (learning from local elders and community members to foster bi-cultural reconciliation)
If parents wish their children to receive religious instruction, they have sufficient options to allow for this outside school hours as well as a wide range of religious independent schools.
It is unacceptable that such a situation is forced on parents in QLD and should be addressed.

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