Teaching ethical understanding in the Australian curriculum: opportunities to promote critical pedagogies in the classroom

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Abstract

A closer look at teacher aspirations and expectations reveals student outcomes that align with core tenants of critical pedagogies. However, for many teachers, encouraging their students to be active participants in the learning process means provoking thought, and this is best facilitated by bringing controversial issues into the classroom. In spite of the potential for controversial issues to generate students’ questions, which can lead to critical learning discussions, this learning potential is overtaken with concerns for sparking conflict between schools, parents and other stakeholder groups. However, with the introduction of the Australian curriculum and in particular the ethics capability within, many Australian teachers now have to take into serious consideration how to work with controversy in the classroom. This chapter draws on research by the author about Primary and Secondary school teachers’ experiences in teaching the Ethical Understanding Capability within the Australian curriculum. In particular, this chapter presents how teachers are mobilising critical pedagogies in the teaching of this capability to enable students to develop a ‘strong personal and socially oriented ethical outlook’ (ACARA, 2010).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEngaging Critical Pedagogy in Education
Subtitle of host publicationGlobal Phenomenon, Local Praxis
EditorsFida Sanjakdar, Michael W. Apple
Place of PublicationAbingdon UK
PublisherRoutledge
Chapter10
Pages179-194
Number of pages16
Edition1st
ISBN (Electronic)9781003307570
ISBN (Print)9781032309996, 9781032310008
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2025

Publication series

NameRoutledge Research in Education

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