But Debra Bateman, dean of education at Flinders University and an expert in curriculum development, said the proposed changes to Australia’s curriculum reflected an increasingly sophisticated understanding of Indigenous reconciliation and the place of Australia in the world.
“The story is not a singular narrative,” said Professor Bateman.
“In Australia, for a very long time, we’ve kind of depended on a narrative of sameness, that being Australian means we reflect a whole range of stereotypes.”
The debate over the proposed changes – which also includes the replacement of reference to the nation’s “Christian heritage” with references to its multi-faith cultural diversity – reflects a “long-standing tension between the traditional and mainstream cultural view and the emerging and changing world. view, ”she said.
Victoria has its own program, which has the same cross-cutting priorities as the national version. Reservoir East director James Cumming said all the necessary materials are already in the two existing programs to take a more “open” approach to teaching First Nations culture and history.
“When we talk about the Australian curriculum there’s a lot of smoke and mirrors, with people jumping up and down and talking about what they’re going to lose, but to me that’s what you’ll gain by teaching. a broader perception of what history is. Said Mr. Cumming.
At the Knox School, an independent coeducational school in Wantirna South that uses the Victorian curriculum, Australian history is also taught as something “contested,” principal Allan Shaw said.
“We’re trying to show kids that there are different perspectives on this,” Shaw said.
“That often history is written by the winners, one, and, two, it’s not necessarily the whole truth or the only truth.
“History is often a contested space once you get past the bald facts of who happened where and when.
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