NAPLAN. What a bummer!



 Aussie Friends of Treehorn

protecting school children from nasty excesses

 NAPLAN. What a bummer

“It surpasses rabbits,foxes and toads as the most dangerous import ever. There’ll be no progress in commercial, intellectual  or financial fields whil NAPLAN is around.”

 It is common knowledge that Australian schools are not performing as well as they used to do. There are reasons, and the excuses are endless.  If each of these is traced, one will find a common origin.  We know that the decline started as soon as the NAPLAN testing program got under way.  If we had never started NAPLAN testing we know that we would still be up there near the top.  We would, most certainly, not be sliding swiftly down the OCED ladders of international achievements at PISA tests. It surpasses rabbits, foxes and toads as the most dangerous import ever. There’ll be no progress in commercial, intellectual or financial fields while NAPLAN is around. 

 Australia does  things in a funny way way. It prefers to do as it is told by others like the Testing Industry, despite the consequences.  We have high levels of tolerance for the unethical and dysfunctional. That’s NAPLAN by the way.

There will be no  demise of this stupid habit any time soon, despite the evidence being publically presented that it stinks to high heaven. Politicans and would-be pollies don’t give two hoots about real  school education.  For instance…

 1. There’s the Aurukun school riots undoubtedly caused by pupil boredom and disenchantment with an inappropriate basic curriculum.  Believing that NAPLAN should be the school syllabus and nothing else mattered, there was a heavy concentration by school authorities on improving scores. In the belief that NAPLAN scores improved only when direct crash-bang techniques were used, a packaged, teacher-proof  U.S. spirit-talk called Direct Instruction was purchased to sharpen-up the test scores by push, push, shove from jug to mug methods. Too much stress makes people revolt, personally, within and outside the classroom. Almost all school  pupils demonstrate their displeasure  by developing a distaste for the subject, or the teacher who supervises testing, or the school that approves of it. They lose interest in achieving at anything. In Aurukun, they take things to the brink. They go walk-about to dodge school routines, stay at home to play – which they prefer – or go to school with a chip on their shoulder.

Aurukun has certainly highlighted the issues that need to be discussed if positive learning in schools is required.  It’s off the airways now.  Strange.

 2. ABC TV has shown what was described as a ‘turn-around’ in school achievements.  “The Revolution School” {Said to be….‘An inspiring series about everyday Australian kids and the science behind improving education.’} Kambrya High School has set out to overcome the disengagement with learning that can occur with advice, like Aurukun, from extra-school personnel on how to do things.  Most principals, that I spoke to, thought that the show was a yawn, whilst admiring the willingness of the school personnel  to present operations in the raw. For some, the reading programs brought back memories.

NAPLAN is a serious business at the school. It is said “…to provided a snap-shot of achievements’” and users cite other kinds of NAPLAN lingo.; when, in fact it is causing most of the stress.

 Some suggested that the school seemed to be actually teaching ‘Stress”, encouraging dis-interest in schooling and supporting lack of order. Relentless-ness was endemic in staff to maintain some sort of structure and on the part of the kids to maintain disorder. The ‘wild’ young lass in the first episode seemed to be pleading for genuine love….and a good spanking. [ I think she would have made a splendid Chief Courtesy Officer for the school. Put her in charge of ‘courtesy’] The school, according to commentators on a subsequent radio show suggested that Kambrya school was too busy trying to maintain and improve standards, using the accepted but outmoded structural age-grade structure  where achievement gaps are extreme, instead of arranging learning programs based on individual needs.

 The Templestrowe College was mentioned in a subsequent radio interview or see .This school is organised on levels of ability, not age, and on real pupil choice of learning. .  I imagine NAPLAN testing would be difficult to organise; and quite unnecessary in terms of feed-back.

It can do without NAPLAN testing and there is no way that the school can deliberately prepare for the tests. The curriculum can remain unmolested. and,  if the kids did try the tests, their results  would be high, because of their focus on learning and not on test-prep..

 Australia has the talent, the will and the ability to have the best education system in he world. Why it ties itself to a failed, unAustralian system is difficult to comprehend until you learn of NAPLAN’s origins.

 The power of greedy corporations is excessive and we remain compliant, toady , little Treehorns are green, shrunken relics of what we used to be and what we can be, allowing the big boys to do as they please.. Our political parties are shamelessly professing their commitment to education when they well know that nothing can be done to improve schooling while NAPLAN is around.  We will stay on the PISA pole, sliding down past other countries while this attitude remains.

 Phil Cullen  41 Cominan Avenue  Banora Point  Australia 2486              
07 5524 6443          0407865999

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