thread: What do you think about your school curriculum?

  1. #1
    BellyBelly Member

    Oct 2006
    Sydney
    4,081

    What do you think about your school curriculum?

    I must admit to generally not feeling very strongly about what my kids study at school because I guess I trust the system and the professionals who design it.
    But I'm really struggling with my daughter's current unit of study. She is 7 and in year 2. They are learning to use persuasive language. Essentially, they are learning debate.
    I suppose a lot of kids are capable of this but I just don't think my DD gets it! I think the concept is just too advanced for her. She had to choose a topic and she chose "Cats should be kept inside after dark". She thought of 3 points and we worked out the body of her talk together. I really had to guide her through it and it just felt so wrong - it's not my talk for goodness' sake! She "wrote" it, but it really was a group effort

    Is this a national standard? Do you ever come across units of study that you think are inappropriate for your child's development?

  2. #2
    BellyBelly Member

    Nov 2011
    SE Melbourne
    2,975

    Re: What do you think about your school curriculum?

    There is so much ridiculousness like that in schools. It drives me bonkers. I agree. I dont see why it can't wait. What's wrong with writing the good old fashioned story....? Now they have to write a narrative... Sigh.

  3. #3
    Registered User

    Apr 2008
    Melbourne
    6,745

    Re: What do you think about your school curriculum?

    My DD started doing persuasive this year at the start of grade 3. She didn't have an issue with understanding it - she is a born arguer though The teacher did say that it is something that many kids just don't get for a while but it is a learned skill to be able to put their point across with reasons to back up their argument. I wouldn't be too concerned if she doesn't get it just yet.

    I can't think of anything that the kids have told me about that I'm not a fan of - I know there are things that I think they could focus on more but they don't seem to do anything that is totally irrelevant.

  4. #4
    Life Member. Every Australian needs a Farmer.

    Dec 2005
    In Bankworld with Barbara
    14,222

    Re: What do you think about your school curriculum?

    It's really important that they learn that there are different text 'types' such as narratives, information reports, expositions, discussions, recounts and explanations. Its about teaching them that different types of texts have different purposes and we use them for different things. Overall, it helps them with their comprehension of what they read. I don't think what your child's school is doing is inappropriate and like with anything, some kids will take longer than others to fully understand the concept and context of each one, and each year it's built on progressively so they might learn how to do a very basic exposition in year 2, but the next year they will need more detail etc. it sounds like what your DD has done is fine (even with your help) because she's still learning the basic fundamentals of that particular text type. I know my school does a scope and sequence outlining which text type will be focused on each term, so for one term they will do narratives and the majority of their work will focus on this text type. Next term it might be information reports. We scaffold the students and support them and provide highly detailed lessons that explain it so they understand it, as well as giving them a lot of guidance and support while writing.

  5. #5
    BellyBelly Member

    Oct 2006
    Sydney
    4,081

    Re: What do you think about your school curriculum?

    Thanks for explaining how it all works, Trillian. It has really changed since I was at school! I didn't know what an exposition was until I was writing essays in high school.
    Spoke to her teacher this afternoon and she said DD did really well. I did reveal that we wrote it together but she said she was more focused on how confident she was as a speaker and in getting her point across. She said DD has done very well with exposition in general during class so I suppose she does get it after all.

  6. #6
    Life Member. Every Australian needs a Farmer.

    Dec 2005
    In Bankworld with Barbara
    14,222

    Re: What do you think about your school curriculum?

    It's very different to when we were at school. I think the trouble is that most people would think of it as being an essay and that it's way beyond what kids that young should be doing, but it's all part of the 'new literacies' that teaches children to be more active consumers of text I suppose is the best way to describe it. We want kids to be able to think critically about text and how they can use it for the right purpose, for example, if they want to tell a story, they would write a narrative and they know that a narrative has a particular structure to write it. Or if they are trying to convince a parent to buy them something, then they would use a persuasive text and they would know the language they need to use to persuade you to buy them a pony LOL. It's a far broader concept of teaching than the simple fiction/non fiction texts that we were exposed to as kids.

  7. #7
    BellyBelly Member

    Oct 2006
    Sydney
    4,081

    Re: What do you think about your school curriculum?

    I should have known better than to think my DDs would struggle with persuasive language. I have been answering "why" questions to both of them and indeed responding to carefully formulated rebuttals for years.
    It was also interesting when chatting to the teacher that some of the kids had to get their heads around the idea that they weren't being told an answer. She said that in the early years so much of it is "the right answer" and "the wrong answer" that they took a while to understand there were no "wrong answers" in this unit, only their opinion. The kids were like, "But... but... What's the answer??" lol.

  8. #8
    Life Member. Every Australian needs a Farmer.

    Dec 2005
    In Bankworld with Barbara
    14,222

    Re: What do you think about your school curriculum?

    That's something I notice with the years 5 and 6 students too. They just don't know how to have their own opinion and articulate it properly in writing. They can tell you, but they struggle with writing it out. It's also hard for some of them to understand that there can also be more than one viewpoint on a topic as well and that two people can be arguing for the same thing, but be coming at it from different perspectives. It sounds like your DD is doing just great.

  9. #9
    BellyBelly Member

    Mar 2004
    Melbourne
    1,301

    Re: What do you think about your school curriculum?

    Strange? DS1 is 9 in Grade 4 and just did the same task. DS2 is 7 in Grade 2 and there is no way he would be ready for a task like that!

  10. #10
    BellyBelly Member

    Oct 2006
    Sydney
    4,081

    Re: What do you think about your school curriculum?

    Maybe your DS would surprise you, Jessica. I thought DD was struggling but it turns out not. I think my idea of what they were doing was a bit off.

  11. #11
    Registered User

    Aug 2006
    On the other side of this screen!!!
    11,129

    Re: What do you think about your school curriculum?

    I think this is one really interesting part of the curriculum. I remember being in school and pretty much every time we had to write something it was narrative, ie, what I did on the weekend, a story about something with a beginning, middle and end. But when you think about real life - how often do you need to write a narrative? You don't. You need to be able to write emails, and messages to get things done, business cases to get money, letters and job applications to persuade people they want to hire you. The earlier we start teaching kids that they have a choice in how they express that type of communication, hopefully the more skilled they will be at applying that later in life.

  12. #12
    BellyBelly Member

    Mar 2004
    Melbourne
    1,301

    Re: What do you think about your school curriculum?

    I guess the curriculum evolves and progresses well then. My DS could have written something at a grade 2 level, but sounds like it's part of the curriculum as practice for later years, and they aren't really graded on the writing but the presenting part. Makes sense.