Email to Christopher Pyne

Dear Mr Pyne,

Best of luck with your difficult portfolio, Education.

As a retired Child Psychologist, once a teacher, and like your latest curriculum advisors, coming from a long line of professional educationalists from my grandparents to two of my children, I make the following points.

(1) One does not become an expert on education merely from having been a receiver of education (even, as I have done, at university level on education). Like any job it requires hands on experience to consolidate knowledge.

(2) Education of children is all about providing role models to interest them in learning, teaching them HOW to think not WHAT to think and then providing them with some help in locating and accessing resources and understandings. When a child is prepared to logically (and politely) disagree with propositions put to them by parents, teachers, and, dare I say, politicians, then the job has been well done, particularly as far as social issues go.

In recent years teachers and what and how they teach has come under increasing scrutiny and criticism. Much of this criticism and assessment comes from anecdotal personal experience rather than properly analyzed research.

As Minister for Education it is your job to go in and bat for students and teachers and be a role model for the community as an educated person yourself.  Perhaps to praise sometimes and particularly to model the toleration of disagreement, even within a particular question.

To undermine curricula and question political motivation of the individual teacher is not good role modeling.

If I were your political teacher (and bear in mind, by your definition I MUST know a lot about being a politician as I have been voting for 55 years and have never belonged to any particular party, rather have been an issues voter) I would say, “As Education Minister Christopher, stop  posturing and get on with supporting those in the community committed to the delivery of education to our Australian population.”

Regards

Anne Powles
(with apologies I provide my educational qualifications as for once they seem relevant )
BA, LLM, Dip Ed, MEd (Psych)

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About Anne Powles

I am retired from paid employment. During my working life I have been variously and sometimes contemporaneously, wife, mother of four, lawyer, teacher and psychologist. I have also been a serial education junkie. As are we all, I have been an observer of the world around me. Here I have recorded some of my memories, observations and theorisings.
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