As an editor with an educational publishing company that publish many
books, both for teachers and students of all ages (but predominantly
primary years), I must say there is a concern over what our kids are
being taught, and also the prevalence of American content. One of our
main aims is to "version" out all Americanisms, both verbal and
pictorial; and to be as accurate as possible in content. We get a
large number of already-published books on licence from the US, and
in many cases we have freedom to alter the content to be more
Australian-inclusive. As I come from a birds/editing background
(Assistant Editor of HANZAB for over a decade), I am given many of
the books involving natural history! With, in many cases, freedom to
check facts and re-write. I have recently written small, informative
chapters for primary kids on bowerbirds, on the pros and cons of
feeding birds (ALL American books love feeding birds), honeyeaters,
birds of Lake Eyre, reptiles (e.g. alligators changed to crocodiles,
rattlesnakes to Tiger Snakes, etc.), and more. We put out many
different types of books, but in the natural history field we have
published small but informative books on rainforests and global
warming, ecosystems and habitat degradation, animals, plants,
geography, and so on. Nothing massive, but it's getting the right
stuff out there. My point is not to advertise my anonymous company,
but to say that in some cases there is a change in attitude, and
teachers are responding positively. The feedback we get inspires us
to do more, which I must say includes going over books we have
already done and improving them, and doing our best to ensure our
school books are relevant, accurate, and Australian.
PS As an editor I take no responsibility for any punctuation, content
or grammatical errors in the above posting. They are typos.
At 09:16 PM 26-02-07, Carl Clifford wrote:
Don't blame the teachers, they only have to use such texts. School
texts are written by an anonymous melange of media officers, "senior
educators" and academics. My former wife regularly expressed her
exasperation at the content of texts she was required to use.
Unfortunately the situation is frequently no better in the area of
tertiary education. I remember some of my texts giving me a laugh.
On 27/02/2007, at 10:44 AM, Michael Tarburton wrote:
So although it appears we cannot be sure how many bird watchers there
are in Australia, it is clear that as we are not getting through to
our teachers that publish text books. There are either not enough of
us or we are not doing as much as we can to educate our society on
our native birds.
The authors of this current text actually make many false
statements. Just one more example relating to birds follows.
They claim that "the fossil record also gives evidence that species
have changed over time, and may show how new species arose." They use
Archaeopteryx as an example and claim that its morphology has allowed
scientists to deduce "that birds have evolved from a dinosaur ancestor."
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