Intention and Reality - Australian Curriculum Studies Association

Intention and Reality
Bringing Engagement with Asia into
the classroom
Ian Keese B.Sc; B.A; Dip.Ed; FACE
[email protected]
ACSA Biennial Conference 25-27 September 2013
Presenter Background
• Teaching experience
• Departmental – Board of Studies
• Writing
Areas of historical study
• Academic
• Teaching
• Focus on Asia and Middle East
• Selected examples of our past engagements
• Evidence of recent decline – Languages
• A critique of recent attempts to address this
– The Australian Curriculum History
– The White Paper –Australia in the Asian Century
– Federal Coalition Policy Statements
• Reflect on how the situation may be improved
Everything old is new again …
Admonishing comments about Australian’s
ignorance of Asia followed by exhortations to
wake up have occurred so often as to be a
regular feature of Australian life. They are as
Australian as Vegemite – only older
Walker and Sobocinska, Australia’s Asia: from Yellow Peril to
Asian Century (2012)
Asia as threat:
Alfred Deakin 1893
… in the event of the great catastrophe
occurring, the local interests which we
hold so dear, and the industrial
democracy which it is our first aim to
preserve, might perish in a common
in this youngest part of the world
we are actually within hail of the oldest
portions, and that almost within the
shadow of its most absolute military
despotism our nation should be building
up ultra democracies of the most pacific
Collins St Melbourne c 1890
… and Asia as something to admire
Deakin quoting Max Muller:
If I were asked under what sky the human mind has most fully
developed some of its choicest gifts, has most deeply pondered on
the greatest problems of life, and has found solutions of some of
them which well deserve the attention even of those who have
studied Plato and Kant, I should point to India.
And if I were to ask myself from what literature we, in Europe, we
who have been nurtured almost exclusively on the thoughts of
Greeks and Romans, and of one Semitic race, the Jewish, may draw
that corrective which is most wanted, in order to make our inner
life more perfect, more comprehensive, more universal, in fact,
more truly human again I should point to India.
A forecast made in 1893
The so-called 'higher races of men’ … would
in a few decades find themselves 'elbowed
and hustled and perhaps even thrust aside' by
people whom they had assumed to be
innately servile; he made a particular point of
China's potential, claiming that it only needed
a dynamic new religion like Islam, the genius
of a ruler like Peter the Great and modern
European industrial techniques to become one
Charles Pearson 1830-1894
of the world's most formidable powers
From Australian Dictionary of Biography – John Tregenza
Japan: Admiration …
… and British alliance
Oh, East is East, and West is West…
But there is neither East nor West,
Border, nor Breed, nor Birth
When two strong men stand face to face,
tho’ they come from the ends of the earth!
…but as seen by Australia
BRITANNIA: Now my good little son. I’ve got married
again. This is your new father. You must be very fond
of him
Source; The Bulletin 1 March 1902
Relations 1930s to 1970s
‘The questions is not whether the Waterside Workers are right or wrong in their views on what
the international policy of Australia should be; it is whether that policy is to be determined by the
duly constituted Government of the country or by some industrial section (26th November, 1938)
Malayan Emergency 1955 -1962
Australian troops on parade in Kuala Lumpur
The Colombo Plan
A booklet first produced
by the Immigration
Reform Group in 1960 –
an informal group of
academics, professional
people and clergy
Vietnam War 1962-1973
The “Mystical” Asia re-appears
1965 Don Dunstan successfully moves that “White Australia”
be deleted from the Labor Party Platform
1966 Harold Holt eases restrictions
1972 Whitlam removes all racial descriptions
Personal engagement
Taught in Melbourne Business college
Taught at Fort Street High School (Sydney)
600 students of Japanese in Melbourne
Strong in Universities esp. Monash, ANU, UQ.
Japanese tourist industry
Series of national Japanese textbooks (Directed by
Professor Antony Alfonso, ANU)
Business involvement – Qantas slide kits
Now: Slight decrease at secondary level, significant decline at
Tertiary and Primary
• Late 20th Cent. Australia a world leader in
teaching language, politics, anthropology,
• Between 2000 and 2008 a decline of 18%
studying language and this is continuing.
• Now considered a language at risk
Importance of Indonesia
• Now 16th largest economy – and possibly 7th largest
by 2030
• Third largest population in Asia after China and India
• Near neighbour (Darwin to Jakarta closer than
Auckland to Sydney)
• One of world’s largest democracies
• Largest Islamic population of any country
• Constitution recognises freedom of religion
• More Christians than Australia
What Australians think of Indonesia
Source: The Lowy Institute Poll 2013 (selected items)
• Increase from 2000-2008 from 78,765 to
• Year 12 increase 2,935 to 5,256
• Growth comes from native speakers
• Decline for those for whom it is a second
Asian Literacy
• Knowledge, skills and understanding
• History, geography, arts, literature and language
• Social inclusion
• Ability to live and work in the region
Focus in History
• Countries of Asia
– Diversity of region
– Contributions of Asian countries
– Dynamic nature of socio-political relationships within
• Australia-Asia relations
– History of Asia Australia engagement
– Contribution of people from Asian countries
– Role played by Australians in Asia
Australian Curriculum History 7-8
History 9 - 10
A “typical” course in History
Years 7 – 8
Egypt or Greece or Rome
Ancient India (Asoka) or Ancient China
Medieval Europe
Shogunate Japan (Tokugawa period)
Black Death
Years 9 -10
Industrial Revolution
Australia c. 1800 – 1914
World War I
World War II
Rights and Freedoms
Popular Culture or Environmental Movement
An “ideal” Secondary History
Convey a sense of movement over time
• Migration out of Africa
• Development of separate civilisations and beliefs – and
common features of each
• Interactions between these civilisations
• Globalisation in progress
Give some weight to all major religions/traditions/philosophies
• Greco-Roman
• Judaeo-Christian
• Islamic
• Confucian
• Hindu
• Buddhist
Explore Australia’s long past and post settlement history
How to do this
1. Begin with the Inquiry Questions at the start of
each year’s program
2. Use the Overview as the structure/outcomes for
the year
3. Select sequences from the content area to
develop these themes, with a focus on three but
drawing similarities and contrasts from other
The Asian Century
Most of the focus is NOT on
engaging with Asia but on:
• Being in a position to
compete with Asia
• Gaining economic advantage
from developing economies
• Maintaining security in a
world of new powers
Relation to Curriculum: Schools
• All schools will engage with at least one school in Asia to
support the teaching of a priority Asian language.
• Measures to track how Australian students are increasing
their knowledge of Asia
• Detailed strategies for studies of Asia to become a core part
of school education
• Access to at least one priority Asian language: Chinese
(Mandarin), Hindi, Indonesian and Japanese
• Ensure that every Australian student has continuous access to
high quality Asian language curriculums
• Detailed strategies for studies of Asia and Asian languages
take-up in schools
Relation to Curriculum: Universities
• By 2025, 10 of Australia’s universities will be in the world’s top
• Boost the number of Australian students studying in Asia
through closer links with regional institutions, and improve
financial support and information for students who study in
• Support universities to increase the number of students who
undertake Asian studies and Asian languages as part of their
university education.
• Encourage every Australian university to have a presence in
Asia and establish an exchange arrangement involving
transferable credits with at least one major Asian university.
The Coalition Policy
• “New” Colombo Plan Policy
• Revive the teaching of ‘foreign’ languages
with Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian and
Hindi being four among thirteen
• Restore the focus on science, technology,
engineering and mathematics
• Depoliticise the history curriculum
Developing an Asia Literate Workforce
The Asia Literate Teacher:
• Possesses expert knowledge of content, assessment strategies
and pedagogy for teaching Asia related curriculum;
• Demonstrates familiarity with a wide range of Asia related
teaching resources;
• Actively builds intercultural understanding;
• Frequently, purposefully and seamlessly integrates Asia into
the curriculum;
• Uses ICT to connect their students with students in Asia; and
• Leads Asia related learning within and beyond the school.
Source: Asia Literacy and the Australian Teaching Workforce
Motivators to become an Asia literate teacher (800 responses)
Source: Asia Literacy and the Australian Teaching Workforce – Summary report p 8
Enablers for teachers
• Experience of Asia from work, study, travel, or
family connections;
• Substantial, ongoing tertiary study and/or
professional learning;
• School connections to the countries of Asia;
• Support from their school and school system;
• School teaches an Asian language
Conclusions: inhibitors
• Our relationship with Asia has always been in flux
between admiration and rejection.
• Current decline in numbers doing most Asian
• In absence of any major crisis most Australians
content to remain in relative ignorance
• History Curriculum and White Paper promote
engagement with Asia but unlikely to succeed without
long-term backup.
Conclusion: strategies
• Asia relevant content, knowledge and skills included
in all initial teacher education programs
• Targeted programs to attract Asia-ready teachers.
• Educate community and build up community
• Direct experience of Asia through exchange, travel
and study programs
Thank you!
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