Learning across the curriculum content, including the cross-curriculum priorities and general capabilities, assists students to achieve the broad learning outcomes defined in the NESA Statement of Equity Principles, the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians (December 2008) and in the Australian Government's Core Skills for Work Developmental Framework (2013).
Cross-curriculum priorities enable students to develop understanding about and address the contemporary issues they face.
The cross-curriculum priorities are:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures
- Asia and Australia's engagement with Asia
General capabilities encompass the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours to assist students to live and work successfully in the 21st century.
The general capabilities are:
- Critical and creative thinking
- Ethical understanding
- Information and communication technology capability
- Intercultural understanding
- Personal and social capability
NESA syllabuses include other areas identified as important learning for all students:
- Civics and citizenship
- Difference and diversity
- Work and enterprise
Learning across the curriculum content is incorporated, and identified by icons, in the content of the Biology Stage 6 Syllabus in the following ways.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities have diverse cultures, social structures and a history of unique, complex knowledge systems. In Biology students are provided with opportunities to learn about how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples have developed and refined knowledge about the world through observation, making predictions, testing (trial and error) and responding to environmental factors within specific contexts. Students investigate examples of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ understanding of the environment and the ways in which traditional knowledge and Western scientific knowledge can be complementary.
When planning and programming content relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures teachers are encouraged to:
- involve local Aboriginal communities and/or appropriate knowledge holders in determining suitable resources, or to use Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander authored or endorsed publications
- read the Principles and Protocols relating to teaching and learning about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures and the involvement of local Aboriginal communities.
Asia and Australia's engagement with Asia
Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia provides rich and engaging contexts for developing students’ scientific and technological knowledge, understanding and skills. In Biology students are provided with opportunities to recognise that the Asia region includes diverse environments. They are provided with opportunities to appreciate how interactions within and between these environments and the impacts of human activity influence the region, including Australia, and have significance for the rest of the world.
Asia plays an important role in scientific and technological research and development in areas such as medicine, natural resource management and natural disaster prediction and management.
Sustainability is concerned with the ongoing capacity of the Earth to maintain all life. It provides authentic contexts for exploring, investigating and understanding systems in natural and human-made environments. In Biology students are provided with opportunities to investigate relationships between systems and system components, and consider the sustainability of food sources and the natural and human environments. They engage in ethical debate and with different perspectives in solving ethical problems.
Critical and creative thinking
Critical and creative thinking are integral to activities where students learn to generate and evaluate knowledge, clarify concepts and ideas, seek possibilities, consider alternatives and solve problems. Critical and creative thinking are embedded in the skills and processes of Working Scientifically. In order to make evidence-based decisions, students are provided with opportunities to develop critical and creative thinking skills through: asking and posing questions; making predictions; engaging in practical and secondary-sourced investigations; and analysing and evaluating evidence.
Students are provided with opportunities to develop the capability to assess ethical values and principles, and to understand how reasoning can assist ethical judgement. In Biology students are provided with opportunities to form and make ethical judgements in relation to scientific investigations, design, codes of practice, and the use of scientific information and applications. Students explore the importance of reporting honestly, based on evidence. They apply ethical guidelines in their investigations, particularly in regard to the implications for others and the environment.
Information and communication technology capability
Information and communication technology (ICT) can be used effectively and appropriately to access, create and communicate information and ideas, solve problems and work collaboratively. In Biology students are provided with opportunities to develop ICT capability when they: develop design ideas and solutions; research science concepts and applications; investigate scientific phenomena; and communicate their scientific and technological understandings. In particular, they have opportunities to learn to: access information; collect, analyse and represent data; model and interpret concepts and relationships; and communicate scientific and technological ideas, processes and information.
Students develop intercultural understanding as they learn to understand themselves in relation to others. This involves students valuing their own cultures and those of others, and engaging with people of diverse cultures in ways that recognise commonalities and differences, create connections and cultivate respect. In Biology students are provided with opportunities to appreciate how diverse cultural perspectives have impacted on the development, breadth and diversity of scientific knowledge and applications. They learn about and engage with issues requiring cultural sensitivity, and learn that scientists work in culturally diverse teams to address issues and solve problems of national and international importance.
Literacy is the ability to use a repertoire of knowledge and skills to communicate and comprehend effectively, using a variety of modes and media. Being ‘literate’ is more than the acquisition of technical skills – it includes the ability to identify, understand, interpret, create and communicate effectively using written, visual and digital forms of expression and communication for a number of purposes. In Biology students are provided with opportunities to understand that language varies according to the context and engage with different forms of written and spoken language to communicate scientific concepts. They learn that scientific information can also be presented in the form of diagrams, flow charts, tables, graphs and models.
Numeracy involves recognising and understanding the role of mathematics in the world. Students become numerate as they develop the confidence, willingness and ability to apply mathematics in their lives in constructive and meaningful ways. In Biology students are provided with opportunities to develop numeracy skills through practical measurement and the collection, representation and interpretation of data from first-hand investigations and secondary sources. Students consider issues of uncertainty and reliability in measurement and have opportunities to learn data-analysis skills, identifying trends and patterns from numerical data and graphs. They apply mathematical equations and concepts in order to solve problems.
Personal and social capability
Civics and citizenship
Civics and citizenship content involves knowledge and understanding of how our Australian society operates. In Biology students are provided with opportunities to broaden their understanding of aspects of civics and citizenship related to the application of scientific ideas and technological advances, including ecological sustainability and the development of environmental and sustainable practices at a local, regional and national level.
Difference and diversity
Difference and diversity comprise gender, race and socio-economic circumstances. Students are provided with opportunities to understand and appreciate the difference and diversity they experience in their everyday lives. Working Scientifically provides opportunities for students to work collaboratively, where they can develop an appreciation of the values and ideas of all group members. This appreciation also enables students to identify individual rights, challenge stereotypes and engage with opinions that are different to their own.
Work and enterprise
Students can develop work-related skills and an appreciation of the value of working individually and collaboratively when conducting investigations. In Biology students are provided with opportunities to prioritise safe practices and understand the potential risks and hazards present when conducting investigations. They engage with risk assessment while working safely in the laboratory or the field.