Geography and the Australian curriculum: unfulfilled knowledges in secondary school education

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    Abstract

    The introduction of geography as a separate discipline within the Australian Curriculum offers hope for revitalisation of the subject in Australian school education after decades of decline. Since the 1990s, the subject has been largely submerged within an integrated curriculum framework that has had significant consequences for the presence and character of secondary school geography. Its inclusion in the learning area of SOSE (Studies of Society and Environment) within schools has diluted the degree, breadth and depth of geographical education. However, in spite of the hope provided by its re-institution, the process of national curriculum construction has had disconcerting consequences for the type of geography being offered to Australian students at the secondary level. Building on critical overviews of the history of secondary geography as an Australian school subject since the 1980s, recent philosophical discourse on approaches to geographical knowledge in a school context, and the author?s personal experience as a geographical educator and researcher, this paper argues that the nature of knowledge embodied by the new geography study design inYears 7?10 is flawed in both its scope and its direction. While reflecting many of the characteristics of a social realist approach to geographical knowledge, the Australian Curriculum minimises the elements of critical analysis that provide geography with its unique educational identity and value.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)95 - 105
    Number of pages11
    JournalGeographical Research
    Volume53
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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