Making decisions in ‘a bit of a bubble’: relevant Australian Curriculum content for students in the Middle East

Maxwell, Jacinta (2020) Making decisions in ‘a bit of a bubble’: relevant Australian Curriculum content for students in the Middle East. Curriculum Perspectives, 40 (1). pp. 49-62. ISSN 0159-7868

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Abstract

The introduction of the Australian national curriculum generated heated debate in Australia. Content that should or should not be required for all students across the country to learn was a contested topic, as was the adaptability of the curriculum to ensure its suitability in schools across the nation. Throughout the development and implementation of the Australian Curriculum, researchers and journalists have reported on the challenges Australian-based school leaders and teachers have experienced when trying to understand the relevance of some curriculum content in their particular context. However, very little attention is being paid to the experiences of staff implementing the curriculum in offshore Australian international schools, despite the fact that schools have been licensed to use Australian curricula and syllabi since the late 1980s. This paper is based on exploratory research undertaken in an offshore Australian international school in the Middle East with a view to gaining insight into teachers’ perceptions of the relevance of Australian Curriculum content for their students. The majority of students at the school are from the United Arab Emirates and the surrounding nations and the majority of teaching staff are not from the region. Many educators interviewed for the research identified students’ ethnicities as a significant influence when teachers interpret Australian Curriculum content and making decisions about what to teach. A key finding from this research is that curriculum decisions, including those made with reference to students’ ethnic backgrounds, are made ‘in-house’ without input from members of the Emirati or broader communities. Teachers indicated that their knowledge of students’ lives and backgrounds is not extensive and that there is scope to build on existing initiatives at the school to increase intercultural understanding and community consultation. Finally, the author calls on scholars to engage with curriculum work occurring in offshore Australian international schools.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Accepted version embargoed until 1 April 2021 (12 months), in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Education (1 Jul 2019 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Education (1 Jul 2019 -)
Date Deposited: 13 Sep 2020 23:58
Last Modified: 01 Apr 2021 22:05
Uncontrolled Keywords: offshore schools, Australian curriculum, relevance, transnational schooling
Fields of Research (2008): 13 Education > 1301 Education Systems > 130199 Education systems not elsewhere classified
13 Education > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130299 Curriculum and Pedagogy not elsewhere classified
13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130302 Comparative and Cross-Cultural Education
Fields of Research (2020): 39 EDUCATION > 3903 Education systems > 390399 Education systems not elsewhere classified
39 EDUCATION > 3901 Curriculum and pedagogy > 390199 Curriculum and pedagogy not elsewhere classified
39 EDUCATION > 3904 Specialist studies in education > 390401 Comparative and cross-cultural education
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): C Society > 93 Education and Training > 9303 Curriculum > 930302 Syllabus and Curriculum Development
E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970113 Expanding Knowledge in Education
C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9599 Other Cultural Understanding > 959999 Cultural Understanding not elsewhere classified
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s41297-020-00101-9
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/39543

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