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The Australian Education System Essay

967 words - 4 pages

The Australian education system, in particular "university education, involves an important shift to a new approach to learning- the analytical approach" (Ballard & Clanchy 1984:11). The academic culture of Australia requires students to critically evaluate and challenge whatever is taught. Tertiary educators tend to expect specific behaviours from all of their students, international and local alike. This essay explores three different expectations in the following order: self-directed learning and risk taking, critical thinking and finally motivation.Self-directed or independent learning involves conducting individual research and using your own resources to study. As illustrated by Ballard & Clanchy (1984:13), tertiary teachers expect students to be able to work with minimal supervision, when doing assigned tasks. A reason for this could be to prepare the students, to be more decisive and mature in their approach to the various difficulties that they may face later on in the course, and even their chosen work field. Along with the expectation of independent learning, most apprentices are also expected to be able to take some risks, to successfully learn in a new environment, such as the university. Educators at the tertiary level count on the students to display an initiative themselves while learning as well as participate dynamically during activities. This is probably to ensure that upon completion of the course, students are able to settle into a new environment such as the workforce without difficulty. As explained by Robertson (1999:78), successful learners need to adapt to this change of education levels by endeavouring to overcome any sort of inhibitions, in order to express themselves and therefore meet the expectations of their university lecturers and tutors.Another key expectation common to most Australian university academics is for students to critically analyse whatever material is presented to them. Meaning, undergraduates are expected to be able to evaluate information and opinions in a systematic, purposeful and efficient manner in order to reach logical conclusions. As evidenced by Ballard & Clanchy (1984:10), this expectation involves comparing and examining all information provided by the teachers at the university, noting the major similarities and differences, while aiming to reach a suitable conclusion. For instance, in Australia, at a tertiary level, learners are not only expected to draw out suitable evaluations from a given material, but also offer personal views, on the basis of supporting evidence. Failing to do so, may possibly lead to failing the task altogether, as described by the example of the Japanese economics student (1984, cited in Ballard & Clanchy 1984:11). One explanation as to why reflective, reasonable and rational thinking is deemed to be extremely crucial to the cognitive development of tertiary students is for the reason that this particular aspect of learning shows how well a...

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