NAPLAN and Didactic Teaching


Phil Cullen

The redneck testocracy, now in control of schooling in Australia, has firm beliefs about teaching and learning.

  1. Fear is the best motivator to force children to learn.
  2. Learning should be measured only in numbers.
  3. High-stakes Testing causes the most fear and distress to children.
  4. Didactic Teaching is the easiest way to distress children.

These sorts of political misology, fundamental to the requirements of Kleinism imported from New York in 2008, are unacceptable to most teachers; but Orwellian hectoring and clownish tyranny, bordering on fascism, maintain the status quo and will continue to do so for some years unless parents do something about it. No matter which of the right-wing major parties in Australia takes control at the September elections, all that can be expected is more of the same

Chris%20Pyne[4]Chris-carp urges a ‘robust’ curriculum and a return to ‘explicit instruction pedagogy’ while Peter-prat regurgitates all that Her Immenseness, Australia’s thoughtless agent for Klein, demands….e.g. Reading blitzes, ‘top 5 by ’25’ all by numbers….all the inanities provided to her by specious academic ‘experts’ and testucating school-knowledgeless sciolists.

The former professes didactic teaching for all as the answer to something-or-other that needs straightening; while the other supports it by his continued naplanning. If either knows what the future looks like, they should tell the teachers because their main task is to prepare generations of children for an unknown future. Let us assure both that teaching a group of anxious youngsters is a very complicated and skilful operation. Teachers cope in outstanding fashion with a curriculum that is forced on them by folk who pretend to know more than they do.

Post-election, Chris intends forcing one form of instruction selected from his list of two known strategies: 1. Didactic and 2. Those Other Sorts. Parents need to consider his proposition very seriously. First, extract the electionese; then consider visiting a school…with a measuring stick.

Measuring stick? Imagine a continuum about the width of this page with hundreds of check-points across the page. Each check-point represents a particular teaching strategy ranging from the most didactic [sermon] on the left to the most maieutic [ basic child inquisitiveness] on the right.

Imagine, in the middle of this continuum there is a large group of strategies that represent group activities.

The teaching strategies towards the left are usually called ADULT-CONTROLLED [Didactic] while the ones on the right called CHILD-ORIENTED [Maieutic].

This continuum represents a huge range of teaching strategies that can be used for descriptive purposes between the two ends. If one notes the amount of teacher control, one can classify the kind of style by noting the ‘presence’ of the teacher . How does the teacher use the space – dominate, share, hard to find. Why? As you move from Year 12 to Year 1 with your observations, do you feel that, as the [generic] teacher is moving away from ‘the stage’ to an encouraging inconspicuous presence as learning traits emerge from the learner?

Most teachers use a range of such strategies during the course of each day. They can bounce forward and backward through dozens of them in the course of the day. It is likely that you will see more of the left-hand kind in a high school; and more of the right hand end In an infants school, a day-care or pre-school centre.

To force, by political control and domination of learning, the use of one kind in preference to professional judgements is specious, corrupts ideological and pedagogical purposes and ruins children’s cognitive growth. However: [SMH. 28-02-13 ‘Old school is way to go, says Pyne’.]


Think very seriously about the NAPLANing of Year 3 children. Aged 7 and 8, they will be just starting school in many western countries.

At that age, they prefer to play; they are very curious; they prefer to be happy; they like handling things in preference to paper-and-pencil drills; they are thrilled and motivated by achievement; learning is active ad celebratory; they are easily distressed by not doing well at something or ‘beaten’ by somebody else….and, at this stage of their life, the enrichment of their creative talents is vital. They are very fragile little human-beings….being treated abominably.

Each grows and develops at a different rate in every little thing they do, but, once each year, at NAPLAN-time during the first few months, Australian politicians and their testucating functionaries insist that each little Year 3 child must contest a one-size-fits-all testing procedure that interferes severely with normal, professionally-based teaching routines and natural intellectual development. NAPLAN treats children as lifeless wooden pieces to be pushed around for political purposes. It’s probably the greatest cognitive threat known to humankind. It is cruel, damaging and unnecessary.

For success in such contests between individuals, classes and schools, good scores are imperative. Teacher and school reputations are at stake…. in the high-stakes class.

Didactic forms of instruction [Apostles : Chris and Peter] involving rote-learning, plenty of heads-down sit-still practice, as well as overdone repetition and tension building become part and parcel of NAPLAN test preparation…..all following two years of learning joy for Year 3 children! That’s the kind of classroom life for Years 3,5,7,9 under the command of didactic zombic structuralists.

A healthy Australian knowledge economy competing for a place in world affairs is being seriously threatened at its foundations.

Mum and Dad, don’t you think that Australia needs to call a halt to the NAPLAN pestilence and start thinking from the child’s frame of reference…as Finland did thirty years ago? You like your kids, don’t you and are concerned for their future aren’t you? You can be sure that neither side of our present-day political kakistocracy gives a rats. Our unfortunate kids have to suffer in the future because care-less politicians have control in both major parties.

Say NO to both of them…..unless they say NO to NAPLAN.


I know of no greater sin that the oppression of the innocent.” [Gandhi]

Mr. Pyne. You make me sick. I’m a TEACHER and your sickly efforts o debase my chosen profession and hurt my loving pupils is despicable. I do hope that you lose the election and have to return to your former occupation. If it is an honourable one, as mine is, you are a disgrace to it.” [Vicki Kovacich]


Phil Cullen

March 9th  2013


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s