It is a daunting challenge for teacher educators to design learning that involves meaningful content and pedagogics to foster the skills needed for twenty-first century. It requires teacher to transform curriculum to best meet their needs as a pre-service teachers for their tomorrow classrooms. It is considered as a pedagogical obligation to ensure inclusivity within their classrooms and ensure equitable education for all the students regardless of their access to all students regardless of their difference of race, age, gender and qualities (Bahn, 2009; Dempsey & Arthur-Kelly, 2007). Most of the times, students realise their differences and accept that not all the individuals are same which calls for the teacher’s role to protect these difference from becoming social barriers and developing into isolation (Tomlinson, 1999) rather developing a curriculum to understand individual differences through adoption of the Australian general curriculum capabilities and cross-curriculum perspectives.
This research is primarily divided in two parts. Part A deals with the analyses and comparisons of the range of curriculum documents and teaching approaches and appraises how a pre-service teacher can integrate the Australian Curriculum general capabilities and cross-curriculum priorities into the selected learning area whereas Part B is about undertaking investigation for middle school students to incorporate some learning outcomes from curriculum by considering cross-curriculum perspective. For doing this research, Economics and Business Studies has been chosen as a learning area for middle school years. Before making comparison between the various curriculum documents in relevance to my chosen learning area, it is worthwhile to discuss the Australian Curriculum and its general capabilities and cross-curriculum capabilities under the Melbourne Declaration on Education Goals for Young Australian (2008).
General Capabilities in Australian Curriculum and Cross-Curriculum Priorities
General capabilities are regarded as the key dimension in Australian curriculum and they are explicitly described in the content of learning areas. These capabilities perform a significant role in the realisation of goals out in the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians. The Melbourne Declaration is aimed at providing the support to all young Australian to transform them into successful learners through building their confidence and creativity and making them an informed and active members of the society (MCEETYA, 2008). There are seven general capabilities identified in the Melbourne Declaration that are said to be essential skills for the learners for twenty-first century. These include knowledge, skills, values, and behaviours together with the curriculum content and cross-cultural learning priorities will support students to work successfully in the contemporary world. These include literacy, numeracy, information and communication technology (ICT), critical and creative thinking, personal and social capability, ethical understanding, and intercultural understanding (ACARA, 2013). The purpose of cross-curriculum priorities is to equip students with the necessary knowledge, skills, and knowledge through addressing challenges of their personal lives and contemporary issues they face. There are three cross-curriculum priorities i.e. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia, and Sustainability.
The structure of Australian curriculum holds various approaches. It maintains use of learning areas as the source of organization but also comprises of the general capabilities and cross-curriculum priorities that are applicable to all learning areas with the aim of adding richness and depth to mentioned areas along with inculcating the sense of interconnectedness and relevance with the student learning (ACARA, 2017). It is evident from the Melbourne Declaration on Education Goals for Young Australians that it is not possible to realise contemporary learning without the inclusion of general capabilities and cross-curriculum priorities into the curriculum of a learning area (Grette, 2012).
In brief, it is evident from the analyses of curriculum documents that Australia is appeared to be the sole country which has incorporated Economic and Business Studies as one of the learning area in their curriculum due to its contribution to the economy whereas some other countries have included these discipline in other leaning areas such as maths, geography and history (Review of the Australian Curriculum, Final Report, undated).
Middle school teachers are obliged to shape, fashion, and transition young minds between the cultural divide of primary school into middle school. The students of this age group are referred as “young adolescents” who are hormonally charged; this can be quite daunting task for teachers to deal with them at best times and quite threatening during the worst times. Middle school teaching is actually a shift from traditional teacher-centric approach to a student-centred where participative engagement approach is followed There are four emerging core attributes and sub attributes for the middle school teacher i.e. the capacity to forge middle school identity, ability to design a wholesome curriculum, exhibit speciality in adolescence, and capacity to sustain the reforms of middle schools: through support systems for the teacher of middle years (ACSA Conference Paper: In search of the middle school teacher, 2009). Note: A middle school teacher has to show comprehensive understanding of the social and global context of the 21st century. The prime focus of middle years schooling is on early adolescence which requires teachers to get specialized in adolescence (NMSA, 1995, 2001; Jackson & Davis, 2000; Chadbourne, 2002).
Rationale behind Study
First, from my personal perspective, the logic behind choosing teaching Economics and Business Studies is due to its relevance to my educational background and corporate experience. Second, the contemporary world is exposed to numerous social, economic, political and environmental challenges due to flow of people, resources, information and finances. In order to respond these challenges effectively, Australian requires informed individuals who can actively participate in making enterprise decisions. It is the need of hour to equip students with the knowledge, understanding and skills to face challenges and shape their social and economic futures for ensuring their contribution in the sustainable development of Australian and global economies. Through this learning area, I will have an opportunity to make students to learn, value, and appreciate the interdependence of economic decisions along with analysing their potential impact on individual consumers, businesses, governments, and other economies. It will also encourage students to develop knowledge and capabilities related to enterprising to cope up with the lifetime challenges.
Indication of general capabilities and one cross-curriculum capability
In teaching Economics and Business, integrating literacy as a general capability from Australian curriculum is of vital role because in this subject students are taught to interpret and examine wide range of business and economic data. For this reason, they are required to learn specialized business and economic terminologies while applying concepts to contemporary problem as it allows them to communicate results with wide range of audience through using multimodal approaches. This learning area demands students to learn and use sophisticated choices regarding language to comprehend the economic and business events and issues. Numeracy is also the most useful general capability for teaching Economic and Economics students due to its use in understanding principles of financial management and encouraging making informed business decisions. Teaching numeracy will allow students to develop their skills of data analysis and interpretation, make conclusions, making future prediction related to economics and outcomes of these predictions.
It is very important to develop an ICT capability while teaching Economics and business because it encourages students to develop creativity and make investigations. It helps them in the locating, evaluating, researching, planning, sharing and displaying of economic/business data. In addition, use of information technology allows Economics and Business students to create, communicate and present data/information to diverse range of audience.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and cultures
Through the inclusion of this cross curriculum priority in the learning area of Economics and Business all learner will be able to develop an understanding of the world’s oldest continuous living culture. It will inculcate the awareness in students regarding the resilience, diversity and strength of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. This priority will expose students to engage and learn diverse contexts for appreciating and valuing the old and novel entrepreneurial behaviour of the world’s oldest culture. This will also allow students to explore the way in which Aboriginal and Torres Islander communities may apply traditional, contemporary and emergent economic approaches to develop and maintain the capacity of their culture, community and economics. In brief, this cross curriculum priority helps students in the identification and analyses of the potential relationship and linkages between people, cultures, county, and their past and recent economic activities.
Statement of Prerequisite Knowledge Required
In answering the aforementioned questions mapped on learning outcomes, students are required to use the business reports, business magazines, annual reports of businesses, legal resources, local/national business men or entrepreneurs, newspapers and suffering relevant websites.
In order to teach this course, I will use the following scaffolding strategies for the student who face struggle while learning the novel concepts;
Connect to the prior knowledge: I will ask the students to share their previous knowledge, experiences and ideas regarding the study contents and have them to construct relevance with their own lives. In this regard, brainstorming, offering hints and suggestions will allow students to establish the connections and bit. Once student get there, it is likely that they will grasp the new concepts as their own.
Intentional Small Group: To support students learning during independent work time, it is important to form small group. You can pair certain students one the basis of their capabilities and personalities because pairing student merely on the basis of their learning capabilities will backfire if their working styles differ (Hosuer, 2017).
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