Tensions between policy and practice: Reconciliation agendas in the Australian Curriculum English
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In various parts of the world, Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples are actively working towards Reconciliation. In Australia, the context in which we each undertake our work as educationalists and researchers, the Reconciliation agenda has been pushed into schools and English teachers have been called on to share responsibility for facilitating the move towards a new national order. The recently introduced Australian Curriculum mandates that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures be embedded with “a strong” but “varying presence” into each learning area (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, 2013). In this paper we consider the tensions between policy and practice, when discourses external to education are recontextualised into the discipline of English. We do so by applying an analytical framework based on Bernstein’s (1990, 1996, 2000) sociological theories about the structure of instructional and regulative discourses. Our findings suggest that the space to exert Reconciliatory agendas in the Australian Curriculum English is ambiguous and thus holds the potential to not only marginalise Indigenous knowledges but also to create tensions between policy and practice for non-Indigenous teachers of English.
English Teaching: Practice and Critique
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Curriculum and Pedagogy not elsewhere classified