‘There’s No Asian Way of Looking at Physics’, Says Perth Teacher Marko Vojkovic

Paige Taylor and Mark Coultan, The Australian, January 11, 2014

For many years, Perth chemistry and physics teacher Marko Vojkovic has been at the front of the fight against what he describes as sociology in the teaching of sciences.

He led opposition to Western Australia’s ill-fated outcomes-based education curriculum in 2007 and says he recognised some of its telltale signs when teachers got their first glimpses of the national curriculum in 2010.

For example, the edict that sustainability, the Asian century and indigenous perspective should be taught as part of physics and chemistry did not sit well with Mr Vojkovic. “I don’t think there’s a particularly Asian way of looking at physics–these are nature’s laws,” he said.

The Coalition’s plans to shift back to a curriculum it describes as “orthodox” is the latest chapter in what has been a deeply divisive issue within the sector in recent years.

In March 2010, the then prime minister Kevin Rudd and his education minister Julia Gillard announced plans to rework the national curriculum to incorporate themes of Aboriginal histories and culture, sustainability, and Australia’s engagement with Asia across the key subject areas of English, mathematics, science and history.

The plan was based on the Melbourne Declaration, which was, in the words of its preamble, about building “a democratic, equitable and just society–a society that is prosperous, cohesive and culturally diverse”. It called for a sense of global citizenship, and said Australian children had to become “Asia literate”. It sought to emphasise Australia’s indigenous cultures “as a key part of the nation’s history, present and future”.

Now the national curriculum, as developed by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority has incorporated those ideas in each subject outline. For example, as part of the “cross-curriculum priorities” of mathematics, students would “explore connections between representations of number and pattern and how they relate to aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures”.

Since the Rudd/Gillard initiative, tens of millions of dollars and four years of work by an army of education bureaucrats and consultants have been developing national English, maths, science and history curriculums, with the threads of Aboriginal culture, sustainability and our links to Asia woven through them.

Most states have already introduced it. NSW, the last and the most recalcitrant state, is due to introduce most of the curriculum in a few weeks. All the while, the performance of Australian school students compared to those in other OECD nations continues to fall.

In announcing the recalibration of the curriculum, Education Minister Christopher Pyne has once again changed the education landscape. And for many in the sector, it’s a timely move.

Peter Ridd, the acting head of the School of Engineering and Physical Science at Townsville’s James Cook University, who was previously a schoolteacher, is scathing about the curriculum’s emphasis on infusing areas such as indigenous and Asian studies as well as sustainability in science and maths teaching. “Maths is the most multicultural of subjects. I often tell my students that it was the Arabs who invented algebra,” he said. “But there’s no correct answer for English-speaking people in maths which is different from a correct answer for an Asian or European person . . . Should we tell students that algebra was invented by Arabs? Yes. But to embed this sort of stuff in the curriculum so it’s part of everything we teach is nonsense.”

Catherine Attard, president of the Mathematical Association of NSW, predicted the review would provide an opportunity to arrest the chronic decline in students studying higher levels of mathematics. “Any review is a positive thing. The national curriculum was meant to be a dynamic document and that the government wants to review it is absolutely fine,” said Dr Attard, a former primary teacher and now University of Western Sydney senior lecturer in mathematics pedagogy.

Australian Science Teachers Association president Robyn Aitken said if the government kept tinkering with the curriculum, teachers could become increasingly frustrated and simply throw the book away. “The worst thing about all this is the uncertainty about it. We’re only two years into implementation, so we’re not really up to reviewing it yet. It was a really big step that we actually got a national curriculum in place. It took a whole lot of steps . . . and it’s never easy to get agreement from all the states.”

She said it was “not a big or onerous issue” for teachers to incorporate the cross-curriculum priorities. A lesson on space could include references to the sustainability of space junk, and traditional Aboriginal beliefs about star patterns.

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  • Spartacus

    “In March 2010, the then prime minister Kevin Rudd and his education
    minister Julia Gillard announced plans to rework the national curriculum
    to incorporate themes of Aboriginal histories and culture,
    sustainability, and Australia’s engagement with Asia across the key
    subject areas of English, mathematics, science and history.”

    ….

    “All the while, the performance of Australian school students compared to those in other OECD nations continues to fall.”

    ——————————————————————————————————————–

    Anyone see a connection there ?

    • sbuffalonative

      One thing that jumped out at me was the word ‘sustainability’. I’m guessing Aboriginals are seen as the true environmentalist and we should learn from them. Only, to an Aboriginal, sustainability means ‘do nothing’.

    • MikeofAges

      According to Orwell, three blocs — Eurasia, Eastasia and Oceania. If it’s good enough for grandpa, it’s good enough for me.

    • NeanderthalDNA

      “Sociology” has devolved into nothing more than disguised Marxism. Should be obliterated in it’s present form from all existence.
      Of course the Marxists turncoats want to inject this garbage into the hard sciences. They know the hard sciences, in the form of genetics, will destroy their big, evil, lie if left unmolested.
      I spit on Franz Boas. Just a sleazy way of saying Karl Marx.

  • Rhialto

    To maximize education and protect students: Do not allow pedophiles or Liberals on school property.

    • bigone4u

      Pedophiles or liberals? They are usually one and the same.

  • WR_the_realist

    Aboriginal Australian mathematics:

    1, 2, 3, …. uh, whatever.

    • A sheep entered the corral.
      Nognawaa counted the sheep (in his own way) by tossing a rock into a bucket.

  • dd121

    Cultural marxism gone made. Are they also going to force whites to study and believe the Abo creation myths?

    • Max Krakah

      Did I understand the article wrong? They have decided to ditch that stuff, isn’t that what they mean when they say the coalition decided to switch back to an “orthodox” program?

      • dd121

        I read it to mean they were injecting more PC cultural “sensitivity” into the curriculum. Are you saying we should actually read these articles before commenting? 🙂

        • me

          HA!

        • Max Krakah

          The article is not really clear about this. I take it that since the ABO and asian centric curriculum was started in 2010 and that since they are now talking about swathing back to a more orthodox curriculum, and it is now 2014, that that would mean the multiculti stuff has been rejected.

    • NeanderthalDNA

      “There’s no Asian way of looking at physics.”

      Well, there IS a Black way of looking at math.

      1. If you spend $100 a month on penny ante lottery tickets and win $20 a month from the same, you just made $20!!! Start planning for retirement!

      2. Nothing plus nothing equals something. This goes a long way in explaining their understanding of welfare as well as their own cumulative achievements.

      3. 100 minus 85 = 0. 100 minus 70 = 0. Many degenerate whites share this misconception.

      4. 1 + 1 = getting crunk! I don’t even know what that means nor do I care to. It makes as much sense as a typical negro and I long since ceased trying to get into their heads any more than needed to survive them. The inside of a negro’s undersized melon is nowhere any White should go lest their own IQ drop by ten to twenty points.

  • Nathanwartooth

    When the Arabs invented maths, they were not crossbred with the Africans yet.

    At least I assume this to be true. To go from a society where they are inventing maths to the society we see today, I’m going to blame it on the ~15% African heritage they now have.

    • GeneticsareDestiny

      They were also probably a lot less inbred back then. Their long-term inbreeding has amplified the negative alleles present in their population and has probably dragged their IQs down too.

      • CaptainCroMag

        Yes, constant first cousin marriage has been proven to drop a population’s IQ. With Arabs, it’s been going on for centuries.

      • Bossman

        They began to become inbred when they declared Christians and Jews to be enemies of Islam.

    • Bossman

      I blame it on Islam.

    • sbuffalonative

      The Arabs had access to the Greek text that had been lost to Europeans during the Medieval period. That’s why they knew about Math and Physiology. They didn’t come up with this stuff on their own. Notice how once European had access to this knowledge, they experienced the Renaissance. The Arabs, on the other hand, never went beyond the knowledge they had from the Greeks.

      • MikeofAges

        Arab Scholasticism. Then Islam fundamentalism took over, and there was nothing. That’s probably the arc of things..

      • Nathanwartooth

        That is pretty interesting. I didn’t know that.

      • Max Krakah

        It is also interesting to note that the Mongols swept into Mesopotamia and destroyed the ancient irrigation system. The arabs never rebuilt it and their population there remained small. It was only rebuilt by the British, and it was only after that that the population of Iraq could grow.

      • saxonsun

        Thanks for pointing this out. The Arabs clearly took most of their knowledge from the Greeks–as most have.

      • MBlanc46

        And much of what gets attributed to the Arabs if fact came from the Persians who because part of the Arab empire.

    • Max Krakah

      Arabs did not invent math. It came from India. The big misconception is that arabs invented the “Zero” and all math. Not true, they just introduced it to Europe, but they got it from India.

      • Alexandra1973

        I heard it was the Mayans that invented zero, but I don’t know if that’s true or not.

        I do give ’em credit for peanut butter though.

        • Bossman

          Peanut butter? I didn’t know that; I’ll have to check that out. The Aztecs invented chocolate.

        • Max Krakah

          If they invented it independently, it is not relevant because we are talking about who introduced it to Europe. Europe was using “arabic” numbers long before we discovered the new world.

    • MBlanc46

      The Arabs invented mathematics? I don’t think so. Real mathematics–the articulation of axiomatic systems, not mere calculation–is a product of the ancient Greeks. There’s not a shred of evidence that anyone else has ever come up with the idea independently.

      • Nathanwartooth

        It always seemed like one of those lies to make “minorities” look better. Like all of the inventions attributed to blacks. But thanks for the explanation.

      • Bossman

        How about the Egyptians? What were they? Euclid could’ve been a Greek-speaking Egyptian. He worked from Alexandria Egypt. Algebra is an Arabic word: Al Jabr.

        • MBlanc46

          The Egyptians were very good calculators, but not mathematicians. And Alexandria, of course, was a Greek city, founded by Alexander of Macedon and his Greek army. There’s no reason to think that Pythagoras was anything but an Ionian Greek. The Ionians (Greeks who had colonized what’s now the Anatolian coast) were among the first Greek philosophers. So far as the Arabs go, they’d be illiterate camel jockeys for another millennium after the “Elements” were written. “Admiral” comes from an Arabic word, too; I suppose the next thing you’ll be telling us is that the Arabs invented navies.

    • Anna Tree

      The muslims didn’t invent maths, they just translated from the Greek, Persians, Hindus etc

      If it weren’t for the muslims, the works of Plato, Aristotle or of those Persians and Hindus mathematicians or scientists etc
      wouldn’t have been lost! It is the muslims who burned libraries and
      forbade anything that contradicted the koran, if it wasn’t for the
      muslims forcing islam on all the middle east, all those books were going
      to Europe before islam without any problems. What we call the dark age
      of Europe is exactly the terrible consequence of islam spreading its
      claws on all those Christian lands like Assyria, Egypt or the
      Zoroastrian Persians, blocking notably the exchange of ideas between the
      East and the West etc

      And still the Europeans did okay, even when the muslims quite separated
      them from the Orthodox Christian countries of the Middle East (converted
      to islam by the sword) or from India (later attacked too, millions
      converted, enslaved or mass-killed).

      The crusades were the reaction to centuries of jihad (killing, raping,
      pillaging, enslaving) against christians. The 1st Crusade was launched
      in 1096. Prior to that, Muslims conquered and killed Non-muslims in
      Syria 635, Palestine 638, Persia 642, Eqypt 642, North Africa 642-698,
      Kabul 711, the Indus region/Samarkand/Spain 712, Toulouse 721,
      Kyrgyzstan 751, Armenia 1071. Muslim expansion into Europe was only
      stopped at Tours in 732 and the gates of Vienna 1683.
      Nowadays a country like Greece is publishing more books than the whole muslim word!

  • MekongDelta69

    Aboriginal number concepts = Counting your fingers and toes (if you have them).

    • Andy

      Assuming a standard deviation of 12-15, only about a third of Aborigines have an IQ of 60 or higher.

    • sbuffalonative

      I thought their counting system consisted of One and then more than one.

  • Pelagian

    Good luck making that building stand up.

  • Truthseeker

    The plan was based on the Melbourne Declaration, which was, in the words
    of its preamble, about building “a democratic, equitable and just
    society–a society that is prosperous, cohesive and culturally diverse”.
    It called for a sense of global citizenship, and said Australian
    children had to become “Asia literate”. It sought to emphasise
    Australia’s indigenous cultures “as a key part of the nation’s history,
    present and future”.

    This Cultural Marxist babble is chilling. It’s scary to me that there are people pushing this stuff, and duping so many well-meaning people into honestly believing that such a model is feasible.

    I maintain some optimism though. White people didn’t become such a successful race by being idiots. Whatever dysgenic effects we’ve suffered as a result of our success, we still have IQ advantages and enough productive thinkers to be successful in the future. There’s no intellectual way to defend this tripe, so a lot of white people are going to wake up and reject it. You can only hold us down for so long before we fight back.

    • Max Krakah

      It really is chilling, it is a “replacement” agenda only couched in soft, sugar coated terms.

  • bigone4u

    Knowing how to throw a boomerang is a very different, lower level ability than being able to describe its movement in flight using physics equaltions. Explaining how a boomerang works is a white thing. Watering down the curriculum so that a boomerang throwing abo feels good about himself is the epitome of white libtard self loathing. It’s disgusting, but libtards never stop, so somebody has to stand up to them. Good on me mates on the big island.

    • David Ashton

      Still, I’ve always thought it quite a clever invention.

      Not as good as Sydney Harbour Bridge, but not bad for the outback many centuries ago.

  • Spartacus

    “One stick, two stick, three stick, no need more stick !”

  • So CAL Snowman

    I thought “Asian Physics” was whatever patents and technology the Chinese could steal from the White man.

    • Max Krakah

      The worlds first steam car was made in China—-BY A BELGIAN, Ferdinand Verbiest , a Jesuit missionary in China. The Emperor drove it around a few times, nothing else was ever done with it, nothing developed from it.

  • Groovy

    The Arabs did not invent algebra. Google it.

    • SirMe

      Wasn’t it the Indians??

    • Bossman

      Who did? Who invented Al Jabr?

    • Extropico

      Quite true. The Persian al Khwarizmi wrote a compendium of previous Indian and Greek works which Renaissance Europeans mistakenly viewed as original scholarly writing.

      • dd121

        I was always suspicious of the story of the Arabs inventing algebra. They just never seemed that sophisticated or advanced.

      • Bossman

        The name ” Al Khwarizmi” sounds more Arabic than Persian. The Greeks invented geometry and the Arabs, Persians and Indians added Algebra and trigonometry to it.

  • White Light

    I was reading the Wikipedia article about “Australian Aboriginal astronomy:”

    The Yolngu say that Walu, the Sun-woman, lights a small fire each morning, which we see as the dawn.[6] She paints herself with red ochre, some of which spills onto the clouds, creating the sunrise. She then lights a torch and carries it across the sky from east to west, creating daylight. At the end of her journey, as she descends from the sky, some of her ochre paints again rubs off onto the clouds, creating the sunset. She then puts out her torch, and throughout the night travels underground back to her starting camp in the east.[4]

    The Yolngu tell that Ngalindi, the Moon-man, was once young and slim (the waxing Moon), but grew fat and lazy (the full Moon). His wives chopped bits off him with their axes (the waning Moon); to escape them he climbed a tall tree towards the Sun, but died from the wounds (the new Moon). After remaining dead for three days, he rose again to repeat the cycle, and continues doing so till this day.[4] The Kuwema people in the Northern Territory say that he grows fat at each full Moon by devouring the spirits of those who disobey the tribal laws.[4][6][7]

    The Yolngu also associated the Moon with the tides.[4]

    Eclipses

    The Warlpiri people explain a solar eclipse as being the Sun-woman being hidden by the Moon-man as he makes love to her.[4] This explanation is shared by other groups, such as theWirangu.[8] On the other hand, a lunar eclipse is caused when the Moon-man is pursued and threatened by the Sun-woman.[4][9]

    Where would science be without the contributions of these people? This definitely needs to be taught in science classes.

    • Andy

      In white societies, those are called mythology and folktales.

    • David Ashton

      Yes, but that tides bit seemed reasonable to me.

    • Brian

      It’s fair to talk about these stories in an anthropology class, or perhaps religion or folklore. Science class? Negatory.

    • me

      The Abo theory that we’re living in a dream, and that dreams are the ‘true’ reality, kind of fits in with the libtard’s philosophies of life, the universe, and everything. Maybe that’s why the liberal crowd admire one of the dumbest ethnic and cultural groups to ever appear on the planet.

  • The Final Solution

    “a democratic, equitable and just society–a society that is prosperous, cohesive and culturally diverse”
    Cultural diversity is the opposite of cohesion. I wonder if the Asians are teaching about the European foundations of their success. And the aborigines have contributed nothing to the development of the human race. Nothing in all of human history, and especially not anything in the realm of science and math. This is maddening. I know some native cultures don’t even have integers that go beyond three or four. After that they just say “many”.

    • me

      Well, they did contribute to David Bowie’s success in the 1980s, with that PC drivel of a music video…..

    • Max Krakah

      It is the language of snake oil salesmen,

  • The intellectual dishonesty behind this kind of thinking is really poisonous.

    Buying into this crap hinders your ability to think your way out of a paper bag.

    • MBlanc46

      They’re either intellectually dishonest, or they’re clueless. I’d lean toward the latter.

  • Charles W.

    “Aboriginal number concepts”–meaning that they have no numbers except for “none,” “one” and “many”?

    I read in an old white explorer’s account once that when they first encountered the Australian Aborigines, the Aborigines didn’t understand that children were created through sexual intercourse. They thought that women magically became pregnant shortly after they reached puberty.

    • MBlanc46

      The Abos’ number concepts might be of some anthropological significance, but they have zero business in a math course.

    • Max Krakah

      As bad as the Australian Aborigines were,those in Tazmania were worse. They had lost even the rudimentary culture and tools that the ABOS had, They acted like animals.

  • MBlanc46

    “[A] society that is prosperous, cohesive and culturally diverse”.

    It’s possible that you could get two of these simultaneously, but never three.

    • Jack Burton

      The problem is cultural diversity in the West includes cultural suicide and race replacement for Whites.

      “Diversity” as practiced in East Asia is completely different, it does not include anti-Asian discrimination, it does not include the displacement and replacement of native Asian people.

      I watched a video recently about protests in Japan against immigrants and for greater nationalism. Japanese are protesting when their country is 99.99% Asian, and 98% ethnically Japanese.

      What else can we conclude other than Whites are a defeated race.

  • Peter Connor

    These leftist kooks never stop, do they? Aboriginal physics and math should be interesting.

  • Brian

    A lesson on space could include references to the sustainability of
    space junk, and traditional Aboriginal beliefs about star patterns.
    ===
    Were those traditional Abo beliefs correct, or balogna? If the latter, what business do they have in a science classroom?

  • MikeofAges

    But there is an Asian way of looking at physics. The way they do it in Japan, China, and Korea. The rest of it belongs in culture studies or anthropology class.

    • Max Krakah

      Physics is a western science. Asian cultures did not have “science” as we understand it until we introduced it to them.

      • MikeofAges

        I don’t think there is any disagreement. The advanced East Asians adopted Western science verbatim. They acknowledged that there was one way to do it, and that was it. Whether you adopt it from outside or produce it autonomously. That’s the point. Otherwise, more than a little sarcasm.

    • Jack Burton

      The Asian way of looking at science is to watch the White man discover, pioneer, invent and create, then Asians follow and imitate. That’s why it took them so long to land on the moon after the Americans and Russians did, although still a great accomplishment.

      • MikeofAges

        The point is, there is only one physics. You either look at it or you don’t. Whether you developed it autonomously or learned it from someone else.

  • Truth Teller

    Even I know that it was the Indians (Indian, not American) who invented Algebra. As for Ao math concepts there are 1,2, several and many.

    • Jack Burton

      Not really.

      Something as universal as mathematics can’t really be invented, it’s discovered.

      The word algebra itself is of Arabic origin.

      Many civilizations contributed to the development of algebra, the earliest roots being Babylonian, but a complete system, classical algebra is European.

  • MBlanc46

    Thank you, Buddy Hackett.

  • Zaporizhian Sich

    The only way Aussies need to be “Asian literate,” is to know Asians are their enemies. Then they need to learn the how and why they are Aussie’s mortal enemies.

  • Bardon Kaldian

    Abos are not the threat, just a nuisance. Asians are the real threat. And the very epicenter of malignity is the “white” liberal-lefty ethnosuicidal establishment & their lapdogs and hired bumsuckers.

    • ThomasER916

      Abos are like blacks everywhere – they’re the Golem the Culture of Critique summons to commit destruction.

  • LACounty

    Black people started the world? Hahah…well, wtf happened, my little liberal wigger friend? Did the big bad white man do it? You’re the racist, bitch. You hate your own race, you poor brainwashed spineless liberal lonely troll.

  • David Ashton

    Agree with your last para v strongly. Did the Abos have an (Ab)original flag at the time of Janzsoon or Cook?

    Further research on the boomerang would be interesting.

  • Jack Burton

    “Affirmative action” in China has a completely different meaning. The Chinese government is not advocating mass immigration, race replacement and miscegenation. The “minorities” in China are virtually all Mongoloid in race.

    So your arguments are totally out of context and ridiculous.

    A similar context would be if America were 90% of British descent, 9% of other European ethnic groups, and 99% of affirmative action in America benefited a European ethnic group.