Question Every Rule

The greatest crimes in the world are not committed by people breaking the rules but by people following the rules. BANKSY

Something has become apparent lately. There are a lot of “rules” in education.

No. I’m not writing about the Ten Rules of the Classroom — that’s a totally different blog post. I’m thinking about the things we are told that we “have” to do as educators.

About five years ago, at a new school, I was asked, “Erm, have you used the compulsory template for teaching expositions from the Australian Curriculum?”

Turns out that there is no such thing. Of course.

Years ago, I was told that every Year 6 class had to be taught Ancient Egypt.

Turns out that’s not true either.

I’ve been told that I must explicitly teach or assess every content descriptor in the AC. Not true (although the new one is due out, so we’ll see).

Oh, and, Australian schools don’t have to have an A-E report unless your department or school leader or system says that you do. That’s not in the legislation.

We’ve all been told that a Year 12 result is the only way to get to university. That’s definitely not true anymore. Thank goodness brave educators questioned that! That’s why the system is changing for the better, for our students.

How did this happen?

I don’t think anyone meant to do it. I think it’s been a case of someone telling someone telling someone telling someone. Perhaps “it just made sense” in that person’s interpretation or perhaps the original rule was vague.

Perhaps we forgot to check what was true or we forgot to ask ‘why?’… or, perhaps, we didn’t want to ask why.

I’m lucky because I’m in a new school and we’re trying to get it “right”, so we’re questioning as much as we can think of. But, for those in established schools, it’s not so easily done.

So, what really are the rules?

I’m not sure but I don’t think there are as many constraints as we think. So, why don’t we start questioning all the rules, and let’s find out how big and broad and wild our learning can be.



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