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

Article


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. https://doi.org/10.1007/s41297-020-00101-9
Article Title

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

ERA Journal ID20579
Article CategoryArticle
Authors
AuthorMaxwell, Jacinta
Journal TitleCurriculum Perspectives
Journal Citation40 (1), pp. 49-62
Number of Pages14
Year2020
PublisherSpringer
Place of PublicationAustralia
ISSN0159-7868
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1007/s41297-020-00101-9
Web Address (URL)https://www.springer.com/journal/41297/
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.

Keywordsoffshore schools, Australian curriculum, relevance, transnational schooling
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020390399. Education systems not elsewhere classified
390199. Curriculum and pedagogy not elsewhere classified
390401. Comparative and cross-cultural education
Public Notes

File reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher/author.

Byline AffiliationsSchool of Education
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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