The bad ideas holding Australia back

Filling the pail

This week saw more evidence of Australia falling behind its international peers. A new study found that Year 6 students’ aptitude for science has not improved in a decade. In my view, there are a number of bad ideas that are entrenched within the education sector and that prevent us making progress. Chief among these are ideas about teaching methods and behaviour management.


Over and over again, inquiry learning is pushed as a modern, revolutionary teaching method that will better prepare students for the future. We have the celebrity educational consultants promoting inquiry learning as a replacement for conventional subjects in primary schools. Incredibly, there are those who suggest it as a solution to our poor showing in Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) science even though PISA itself provides evidence against the use of inquiry methods: in the last round of PISA testing, students were asked about the teaching…

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