Australian Curriculum implementation in a remote Aboriginal school: A Curriculum Leader’s search for a transformational compromise

Chloe Parkinson

Abstract


This paper examines the trial implementation of the Australian Curriculum in a remote Aboriginal school. It was a school that at the time was beginning to achieve successes with the development of dual-knowledge, transformational outcomes based curriculum that had its justification in the Northern Territory Curriculum Framework. Drawing on the work of van Manen (1990) this paper uses lived experience as the methodology. It deals with an early-career teacher’s struggle to remain faithful to her employer-directed task of introducing the Australian Curriculum while providing space for the Aboriginal world the school had a responsibility to serve. The discussion is placed within the context of national curriculum development and implementation in Australia. In scrutinizing this teacher’s experience, the paper attempts to examine the broad question of the capability of small schools serving Aboriginal communities to implement national curriculum reform. It then details the issue as not simply a question of compatibility and resourcing but also a complex one of ethics. The experience contributes to the field by highlighting the struggle faced by those teachers caught between governmental reforms and the desires of Aboriginal communities for meaningful inclusion of cultural content within the curriculum.

Keywords


Aboriginal education; national curriculum; curriculum implementation; lived experience

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