Work Smarter, Not Harder

Eight learning areas, seven general capabilities, 3 cross-curriculum priorities make up what is the Australian Curriculum.

With over 100 outcomes (in year 1, for example) in the learning areas alone and only 200 days of school a year it is hard to fathom how on earth one can cover such a vast range of skills in such a short time frame!

It is almost enough to make you run and jump into your reading nook tent and close the Velcro curtains…

reading tent

However, it is not all doom and gloom!

The term ‘work smarter not harder’ has been around since the 1930’s and there is a reason it has stuck all this time. It does not mean that work is not hard or does not require persistence, passion and perseverance because it does. Any dedicated teacher knows that!


When Allan F. Mogensen, the creator of work simplification, coined this phrase, I believe he was talking about looking around you and utilising the tools, techniques and technologies to do what you do better. Also, I highly doubt that some 88 years ago the tools and technologies we are so privileged to have at our disposal had even been a flicker of a neuron. So with such a diverse range of tools and technologies, the question becomes what techniques can we use to cover this mammoth curriculum while still caring for the students in our charge and differentiating to assist all our cherubs to be the best they can be (such a huge responsibility when you think about it).


“synthesis, blend, amalgamation, merge, coalition, union, unification, uniting, incorporate, associate, mix, fuse, link, relate, amalgamate, synthesize, network, wed, dub, unite, commingle, coalesce, conjoin, cooperate, join, bind, marry, bond, put together, hitch on, hook on, plug into, slap on, tack on, tag on…”


Regardless of the word or phrase, they all lead to the same point…

integration pencil


From a pedagogical point of view, this can take many different forms such as inquiry learning, project-based learning or an integrated curriculum model. We are time poor, and the ‘lifestyle’ that is teaching can be all consuming. We have the tools, and the technologies are constantly changing at an exponential rate offering new and unique possibilities. The techniques in which we engage our students need to adapt to accommodate these changes so that we ‘work smarter, not harder’.

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