Framing the framework: discourses in Australia's national values education policy
In the past, many Australian state schools avoided teaching about values explicitly. However, the Australian government released Australia's first official values education policy in 2005: the National Framework for Values Education in Australian Schools (NFVEAS). This framework represents a local manifestation of the recent international values education movement. This study contributes to an exploration of what, and who, the government's construction of Australian values privileges. It uncovered the dominant discourses inherent in the framework through a critical discourse analysis, framing it in relation to the 16 key values education approaches identified in the literature. The data revealed the document's strong privileging of conservative values education discourses, particularly civics and citizenship education, values inculcation and character education. In practice, some Australian schools have been disrupting this move to conservatism by taking more critical and postmodern approaches. The paper argues for such alternative practices and policy that is more diversified and student-centred.
Educational Research for Policy and Practice