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Educational Leadership Essay On Australian Curriculum

Question

Essay:Your primary task is to respond to the topic below by exploring the relevant literature and critically interpreting, analysing and commenting on the major issues and arguments raised in that literature. The essay should be 3800 words in length, including references. Consider the impact of a national or state initiative in curriculum. What are the implications of this initiative for educational leaders? What are the consequences for you in your current or future contexts? Provide some recommendations.

Answer

Introduction
Education is a critical element which is imperative for shaping the future citizens of a nation. Therefore, in order to address the needs of education every country makes certain policies and launches various initiatives that could support the journey of students in academics. The initiative in this educational leadership essay which has been considered for the following essay is the “Australian Curriculum: Foundation to Year 10” which has been implemented on a national scale in Australia.

The initiative has been implemented for facilitating various benefits in the domain of education among which the assessment of students in accordance to nationally established and agreed standards is the foremost. Furthermore, it will also ensure minimizing the knowledge gaps which are caused in scenarios where students have to move between states and territories. Students would be able to obtain similarly significant skills and understanding of academics irrespective of their location of residence in Australia because of a nationally agreed framework (Bowe, Ball & Gold, 2017).

The educational leadership essay would present arguments regarding the various impacts that would be realized from the implementation of the Australian Curriculum alongside discussing the various implications of the initiative for educational leaders. It is also imperative to outline the personal views on the possible consequences that the initiative could have on own present and future contexts.

The initiative:
Prior to delving in the impacts rendered by the national initiative considered for this essay i.e. the Australian Curriculum, it is essential to understand the objectives and various factors that led to the formation of this initiative. The key changes which can be accounted as the driving forces for shaping the national initiative were outlined in the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians in 2008 (Glatthorn et al., 2018).

First Change: First of all, the aspects of rapid increase in international mobility and global integration in the course of the last decade were taken into account alongside the proliferation of appealing and new opportunities. Such a change established the requirements for fostering acceptable notions and respect for religious, social and cultural diversity along with developing a sense of global citizenship (Yin, Lee & Wang, 2014).

Second Change: The second key change that was outlined in the declaration reflected on the growing influence of China, India as well as other Asian countries on the world thereby calling for improving literacy about Asia to foster promising relationships with Asia. The next factor identified in the declaration focused on the rapid changes in nature of jobs available to the youth of Australia owing to the higher demands of education and skill development for catering the emerging trends in technological change and globalization (Cooper, 2014). However, the opportunity for a candidate to secure employment in skilled jobs is particularly strengthened by completing vocational or university education. Therefore, the Australian education system needs to encourage young students for completing secondary education and follow viable approaches for higher education and training.

The increasing prevalence of social, economic and environmental pressures with varying levels of complexity presents untoward challenges that demand countries to work in collaboration. Hence, students should be encouraged to develop competences in understanding and utilization of scientific principles and concepts as well as gaining abilities that can support problem solving in innovative and creative ways (Ismail et al., 2017).

Final Change: The final change that was outlined in the declaration is the increasing and consistent advancements in the domain of information and communication technology (ICT). This emphasized on the necessity for improving the effectiveness of the ICT technologies employed in learning over the course of the next decade (Smith et al., 2018).

Primary Factors: Now that the primary factors that were outlined as reasons for the formation of the Australian Curriculum have been highlighted, it is essential to identify the goals that this initiative intends to accomplish. The understanding of the basic objective of the curriculum to support young Australians in their pursuit of education also includes the prospects of their development as successful learners, active and informed citizens and confident and creative people (Pringsheim et al. , 2017). The Australian Curriculum wants to help young Australians to be successful learners by developing their capacity to anticipate their active role in personal learning and improving numeracy and literacy skills alongside the competences for creative user of technology. The development of students as confident individuals with sense of self-worth, personal identity and self awareness along with sense of optimism about their lives and future and the capability for identifying opportunities as well as making and maintaining healthy relationships with others is also an objective of the national initiative for Australian curriculum (Kårhus, 2016).

The Australian Curriculum also aims at establishing students as active and informed citizens by maintaining their ethical and moral integrity as well as commitment to understanding of national values of justice, democracy, diversity and equity along with participation in civic life in Australia. From a critical perspective, the different propositions that have shaped up the initiative can be clearly identified. First of all, the Australian Curriculum identifies the privilege of each student for accessing knowledge, understanding and required skills for developing the base for prolific and lifelong learning and participation in Australia. The establishment of a clear line of order for students and teachers alike is another trait that can be identified in the Australian Curriculum

The teachers are aware of the continuum and thus stay informed about the content they have to teach students and students on the other hand are aware of the expected levels of quality of learning as well as the course content to be studied at a particular time in the progress through school. The consideration for the different rates of student development and the existing levels of learning in case of individual students in the Australian Curriculum is also observed as a crucial proposition that has shaped the initiative. It is also essential to observe the alignment of the Australian Curriculum with the Early Years Learning Framework.

The Australian Curriculum
The Australian Curriculum is also found to be influential in assisting the youth of Australia to improve their competences as members of the community by development of foundation skills as well as encouraging the students to pursue higher education in different academic disciplines or technical trades and professions. For the teachers, the proposition of the Australian Curriculum is simplicity in expression as well as consistency that enables teachers to plan the delivery of education within as well as across learning areas (Yin, Lee & Wang, 2014). While the Australian Curriculum holds complete control over specification of the content that students should learn during schooling, it also outlines that the content should be delivered effectively to students within the allocated teaching time as well as the resources available with students and teachers. However, it can also be stated that the allocation of time and resources is the privilege of the school authorities (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, 2010).

The Australian Curriculum is also found to be influential in assisting the youth of Australia to improve their competences as members of the community by development of foundation skills as well as encouraging the students to pursue higher education in different academic disciplines or technical trades and professions. For the teachers, the proposition of the Australian Curriculum is simplicity in expression as well as consistency that enables teachers to plan the delivery of education within as well as across learning areas (Yin, Lee & Wang, 2014). While the Australian Curriculum holds complete control over specification of the content that students should learn during schooling, it also outlines that the content should be delivered effectively to students within the allocated teaching time as well as the resources available with students and teachers. However, it can also be stated that the allocation of time and resources is the privilege of the school authorities (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, 2010).

Implications for school leadership:
The concerns of educational reform in Australia have been largely associated with political and educational interests along with the recognition of a plethora of known factors which have played differing roles in promotion and obstructing implementation. It is essential to argue that the implementation of curriculum has been largely obstructed by the ideology of New Public Management (NPM) which is an integral aspect in the formulation of government educational policy since the early 1980s ranging through the McGaw Report and the Beazley inquiry. Before identifying the detrimental implications of the Australian Curriculum initiative for school leaders let us explore some information about the course of curriculum changes in history and with their relevant outcomes.

It is essential to note the history of curriculum reforms because the Australian Curriculum initiative is in its initial stages of implementation and school leaders have a formidable role in its implementation (Ismail et al., 2017). The references to literature in this educational leadership essay related to the implementation of new curriculum reforms and its impact on educational leadership with focus on the perception of curriculum by school leaders as well as the distinct positive traits and negative aspects related to the Australian Curriculum would also be considered as notable information base to address the requirements of this report. The primary concerns to be identified in the implications of the Australian Curriculum for school leaders include the strategies adopted by them for implementation of the initiative and the challenges and opportunities encountered by them in this case.

The Course Coordinating Committee was established in 1980 which was primarily directed towards the purpose of inquiring into non-academic students being held back in secondary school due to the shortage of employment opportunities. The result of this reform was identified in recommendations for creation of a unit that would work in unison with schools for development of suitable curriculum and liaison programs in communities that would provide such students with better opportunities at employment. The Unit Curriculum implemented from 1980-1998 was particularly developed for addressing the changing needs of senior secondary students (Yin, Lee & Wang, 2014). This initiative was largely directed towards emphasizing the requirement of focusing on skill development as a crucial element similar to acquisition of academic knowledge.

The next reform in the curriculum was found in the case of Outcomes Based Education (OBE) which was tailored to NPM theories for allowing students with the flexibility to obtain education and be assessed in accordance to their competences and abilities (Dilkes, Cunningham & Gray, 2014). The Curriculum Framework in effect from 1999-2014 was designed with the objective of including the broader concepts that should be covered from kindergarten to year 10 of education and considered core values as well as mapped progression of key understandings and skills as its basis. However, this framework was criticized on the grounds of increased workload of teachers, hard for interpretation and drastic variations in implementation. Finally, the Australian Curriculum was put in place in 2013 with the sole objective of complying with the common goals outlined in the Melbourne Declaration (Dilkes, Cunningham & Gray, 2014, p 46).

Observation
The observation of these reforms that have been noted in the history of education in Australia suggests that while the basic goal has remained vested in the improvement of opportunities for academic and societal involvement of young Australians, the concerns of implementation have been varying in each case. Hence, it would be appropriate to consider the known factors in literature that have been found to influence implementation of curriculum reforms (Pringsheim et al. , 2017). The disposition of teachers towards reform in curriculum is largely driven by their inclination to impose a change as well as their abilities to do the same.

The observation of these reforms that have been noted in the history of education in Australia suggests that while the basic goal has remained vested in the improvement of opportunities for academic and societal involvement of young Australians, the concerns of implementation have been varying in each case. Hence, it would be appropriate to consider the known factors in literature that have been found to influence implementation of curriculum reforms (Pringsheim et al. , 2017). The disposition of teachers towards reform in curriculum is largely driven by their inclination to impose a change as well as their abilities to do the same.

Furthermore, it can also be noted in this educational leadership essay that while commitment, goodwill and motivation of school leaders and teachers are inherent traits, they could be substantially influenced by the different events experienced by them. Therefore, these above mentioned factors could also pose formidable challenges from the perspective of school leaders in context of the implementation of Australian Curriculum initiative (Dilkes, Cunningham & Gray, 2014).

Significance Of School Leaders
The significance of school leaders in implementation of the Australian Curriculum refers to the variety of implications that can be encountered by school leadership with the initiative. An understanding of the role of school leadership in detail would provide clear insights into the different advantages and issues for school leaders arising due to the implementation of Australian Curriculum initiative (Mulford, 2003, p 17). The common inference derived from research regarding leadership and teacher satisfaction is that the satisfaction of an employee with their work as well as their positive perception of the organization associated with considerably extensive and sophisticated people management practices is the determinant of the future productivity of the organization.

People Management Practices
The people management practices include references to the measures which are directed towards empowering staff for enjoying their work to the maximum without perceiving any oppression, encouragement for innovation, questioning and thinking as well as measures for developing cooperation through investment in social capital and mutual trust within the organization (Bowe, Ball & Gold, 2017). However, in context of the educational sector many teachers have identified that the educational reforms driven by central government were randomly timed and externally imposed initiatives with stunningly bad management and did not have any scope for their involvement (Mulford, 2003,p 18). Furthermore, stress has also been identified as a notable factor induced due to the launch of new national initiatives for reform in curriculum thereby influencing professional relationships negatively. This is a scenario where school leadership could work productively for enabling an easy pass through the increasing and conflicting external pressures.

The presence of a highly competent and appropriately supported school leadership could improve a sense of ownership and objectivity in the perception of teachers about their job. The school leadership has the power to vest professional autonomy in teachers that is found to be a positive element for increasing the attractiveness of the profession alongside improvements in the quality of classroom teaching practices (Mulford, 2003, p 19). The concern of professional autonomy would bring us to a discussion on teacher leadership that can be a prolific strategy in dealing with the implementation of a national initiative of curriculum reforms. There has been increasing awareness about the fact that leadership is not vested in a single office, authority or individual and on the contrary it is found to be vested in diverse organizational contexts in schools.

Studies on teacher leadership
Studies on teacher leadership have stated that performance of teachers is substantially improved in cases of leadership which has been associated with different professional backgrounds and works in collaboration with the different teacher leaders. Furthermore, the influence of teacher leadership in sustainability of educational institutions has also been noted explicitly in various research findings implying towards the factor of internal capacity of a school in maintenance and support for developmental work (Dilkes, Cunningham & Gray, 2014).

The inference that can be derived from this information is that the sustainability of an organization in event of the implementation of a national initiative for curriculum reform is largely subject to the realization of leadership capability of many rather than a few. It could also be noted that extending leadership to the vicinity of the classroom rather than being implemented from a single office would be productive for accomplishing improvements in learning (Mulford, 2003, p 19). However, teacher leadership always faces considerable setbacks from the top down leadership model followed in many schools. Therefore, owing to the significance of teacher leadership in learning improvement it is inevitable to note that the school leadership or the senior management would play a crucial role in the implementation of Australian Curriculum.

School leadership
School leadership is also responsible for translating various challenges on to the implementation of Australian Curriculum initiative. The research on the implementation of Australian Curriculum in this educational leadership essay and the involvement of school leaders on the local school level has been minimal. The identification of challenges that are encountered by leaders as well as the enablers for implementation is restricted substantially. Furthermore, there is limited information available on the significance of professional development for supporting or restraining the efforts of school leaders in implementation of a national initiative in curriculum. Many authors such as Reid have raised concerns regarding the unplanned and deliberate approach followed in development of policy and implementation in case of the Australian Curriculum (Mulford, 2003,p 17).

This implies the presence of policy catch-up in the case of Australian Curriculum owing to the development of problems within the policy platform because of policy development without appropriate consultation with the profession, hasty and reactive responses to cover up for the identified setbacks or the inclination for simplification of complex issues (Pringsheim et al. , 2017). This factor can be assumed as a prominent entity in the initial design of the Australian Curriculum that showed lack of curriculum design and its representation as a mere collection of subjects and learning areas with only four subjects as the object of emphasis. This implies that the other non-subject areas of academic importance were not taken into account and the following remedies were merely meant for filling the gaps.

The implementation of the remedies or catch-up developments in the Australian Curriculum would present notable challenges for school leaders and teachers to interpret the developments appropriately alongside being able for its effective implementation. The next profound challenge that is encountered by school leadership and teachers in context of the national initiative considered for this essay is the lack of infrastructure for supporting schools and teachers (Mulford, 2003, p 18). This also draws attention towards the need for appropriate specification of tasks and roles across different levels of government on a public platform in order to ensure that the Australian Curriculum is actually a national approach rather than being the aggregate of state efforts.

The common factors noted in the design of the Australian Curriculum such as overstuffing of specified content alongside its mention at different age levels as well as the disparity between pedagogies and content assessment are responsible for restricting the well-resourced and practical support for teachers, thereby implying another challenge for school leaders. Another prominent setback that school leaders could experience in the implementation of the Australian Curriculum is information overload and haphazard integration of concepts into specified content thereby making the development of these concepts difficult especially for teachers (Dao, 2017,p 89). Contemporary studies in the field of implementation of the Australian Curriculum have led to the identification of other fundamental issues that can be faced by school leaders. The first problem that is identified for school leaders is the lack of adequate time for understanding the change in curriculum as well as helping their teachers for interpreting the same in order to make a productive transition (Dao, 2017, p 83).

The second concern that was identified reflected on the lack of resources which has been outlined previously in this discussion. The final and most crucial factor was vested in consultation with rural schools about the implementation of Australian Curriculum in order to ensure that the students do not have any disadvantage or are marginalized by the implementation of the national initiative (Dao, 2017, p 89). Furthermore, school leaders are also troubled by the different pitfalls in understanding year level requirements as well as collection of evidence regarding the standards and reporting of the requirements to teachers and students.

Personal opinion:
After a careful evaluation of the broader aspects related to the implementation of the national initiative of curriculum reform in Australia in the form of the Australian Curriculum, it is inevitable to draw out a personal perspective on what this initiative could mean for own present and future contexts. As a part of the educational community in Australia, it is clearly observed that the Australian Curriculum is a mixed outcome of the different political and economic agendas of governance. It is clearly observed that the focus of the national initiative in concern is the intention of Australian government to enable its young citizens to be prepared for globalization, technological advancements and the evolving skill requirements for various jobs in Australia (Pringsheim et al. , 2017). Therefore, the change in the curriculum implemented on a national level would present notable concerns both positive and negative for school leaders, teachers and students. Students would be able to obtain major benefits such as assessment in a uniform framework thereby obtaining an objective impression of their academic performance.

Teachers and school leaders on the other hand would have to encounter formidable challenges in the short term albeit with the prospects for future owing to implications of formalization of the Australian Curriculum with the progress in implementation. Coming to the concerns of school leadership, it is identified as the most pivotal element leading to productivity in implementation of educational reforms. From a personal viewpoint, it can be stated that school leaders adopting a facilitative leadership approach have better chances at effective implementation of the Australian Curriculum.

This observation draws credible mentions of supportive nature of a school leader by anticipating the requirements of the new curriculum and communicating it effectively to teachers so that it can be translated effectively on to the existing education framework. The facilitative leadership approach should also be extended by resolving the concerns of authoritarian leadership approach followed generally by individuals in the top bracket of school management which is a profound setback for inducing any reform in education.

On the other hand, the preferable course of action would be to direct leadership to different members of the teaching and school staff for obtaining higher control over the implementation process in the form of monitoring. The requirements for understanding the micro-political strategies that underpin the implementation of an educational change on a national level are also identified in the case of school leaders and teachers. This factor refers to the proactive approach of school leaders in taking various factors into consideration for addressing different scenarios during the implementation process.

The research also provided insights into the productivity of possible measures by state and territory educational authorities to organize and provide funding for professional development opportunities to school leaders (Kårhus, 2016). The development of facilitative leadership change as well as awareness of the dynamics of implementing the Australian Curriculum alongside being updated with the catch-up developments in the initiative could be assumed as promising measures in the existing and future contexts for school leaders.

Conclusion:
The educational leadership essay focused explicitly on the implementation of the Australian Curriculum which is a national initiative for reforms in education curriculum followed for students from foundation year to year 10. The discussion on the formation of the initiative along with the causes and goals of the initiative was supported with critical inferences citing the propositions that helped in shaping the Australian Curriculum. The following section reflected comprehensively on the implications of the new initiative for school leadership. This was supported by a thorough review of the different stages of educational reforms in Australia and the outcomes of each of them followed by a reflection on the common factor of school leadership response leading to prominent issues for implementation of the plan. The implications of the Australian Curriculum for school leaders were then discussed in detail to identify the different challenges and potential enablers that could work to their benefit in implementation of the initiative. The final section of the educational leadership essay provided a personal perspective on the issue with references to the possible consequences of the Australian curriculum in existing and future contexts as well as outlining promising measures for addressing the setbacks identified in the implications for education leaders. Educational Leadership Essays are being prepared by our management experts from top universities which let us to provide you a reliable essay writing help service.

References
Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2010). The Shape of the Australian Curriculum: Version 2.0. ACARA.

Bowe, R., Ball, S. J., & Gold, A. (2017). Reforming education and changing schools: Case studies in policy sociology. Routledge.

Cooper, H. (2014). The teaching of history in primary schools: Implementing the revised national curriculum. Routledge.

Dilkes, J., Cunningham, C., & Gray, J. (2014). The new Australian curriculum, teachers and change fatigue. Australian Journal of Teacher Education (Online), 39(11), 45.

Dao, L. (2017). Leading the implementation of the national curriculum: A case study in one Queensland school (Doctoral dissertation, Queensland Univ

Glatthorn, A. A., Boschee, F., Whitehead, B. M., & Boschee, B. F. (2018). Curriculum leadership: Strategies for development and implementation. SAGE publications.

Ismail, I. M., Hashim, S., Anis, S. K., Ismail, A., & Ismail, M. E. (2017, November). Implementation of a development in cognitive, psychomotor and socio emotional elements through games to achieve national preschool curriculum standards. In Engineering Education (ICEED), 2017 IEEE 9th International Conference on (pp. 143-148). IEEE.

Kårhus, S. (2016). What limits of legitimate discourse? The case of elite sport as ‘thinkable’official knowledge in the Norwegian national curriculum. Sport, Education and Society, 21(6), 811-827.

Kårhus, S. (2016). What limits of legitimate discourse? The case of elite sport as ‘thinkable’official knowledge in the Norwegian national curriculum. Sport, Education and Society, 21(6), 811-827.

Pringsheim, T., Andrade, B., Doja, A., & Gorman, D. A. (2017). Assessment and treatment of oppositional behaviour, conduct problems, and aggression in children and adolescents: creation and dissemination of a national curriculum. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 62(6), 431-432.

Smith, A., Carey, C., Sadler, J., Smith, H., Stephens, R., & Frith, C. (2018). Undergraduate education in anaesthesia, intensive care, pain, and perioperative medicine: The development of a national curriculum framework. Medical teacher, 1-7.

Yin, H., Lee, J. C. K., & Wang, W. (2014). Dilemmas of leading national curriculum reform in a global era: A Chinese perspective. Educational Management Administration & Leadership, 42(2), 293-311.

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