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Cross-curriculum priorities

The Australian Curriculum is designed to meet the needs of students by delivering a relevant, contemporary and engaging curriculum that builds on the educational goals of the Melbourne Declaration. The Melbourne Declaration identified three key areas that need to be addressed for the benefit of both individuals and Australia as a whole. In the Australian Curriculum these have become priorities that provide students with the tools and language to engage with and better understand their world at a range of levels. The priorities provide dimensions which will enrich the curriculum through development of considered and focused content that fits naturally within learning areas. They enable the delivery of learning area content at the same time as developing knowledge, understanding and skills relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia or Sustainability. Incorporation of the priorities will encourage conversations between learning areas and between students, teachers and the wider community. 

Cross-curriculum priorities are addressed through learning areas and are identified wherever they are developed or applied in content descriptions. They are also identified where they offer opportunities to add depth and richness to student learning in content elaborations. They will have a strong but varying presence depending on their relevance to the learning area.


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures priority provides the opportunity for all young Australians to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, deep knowledge traditions and holistic world views. This knowledge and understanding will enrich all learners’ ability to participate positively in the ongoing development of Australia through a deepening knowledge and connection with the world’s oldest continuous living cultures.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures priority has been developed around the three key concepts of Country/Place, Peoples and Cultures. Each concept contains a number of organising ideas that provide a scaffold for developing related knowledge, understanding and skills. These are embedded in each learning area according to the relevance of its content to the organising ideas. An organising idea may draw on content from more than one learning area. Taken as a set, the organising ideas provide a coherent framework for the priority.

The first key concept highlights the special connection to Country/Place by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and celebrates the unique belief systems that connect people physically and spiritually to Country/Place.

The second key concept examines the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ culture through language, ways of life and experiences as expressed through historical, social and political lenses. It provides opportunities for students to gain a deeper understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ ways of being, knowing, thinking and doing.

The third key concept addresses the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander societies. It examines kinship structures and the significant contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on a local, national and global scale.

In the development of this cross-curriculum priority, ACARA has consulted with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander educators, with representatives from the Indigenous Education Consultative Bodies, and with community members through face-to-face meetings and through national forums. ACARA has also involved Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teachers with expertise in the learning areas to provide advice about how the priority could be incorporated into that learning area.


Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia

The Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia priority provides the opportunity for students to celebrate the social, cultural, political and economic links that connect Australia with Asia.

This priority will ensure that students learn about and recognise the diversity within and between the countries of the Asia region. They will develop knowledge and understanding of Asian societies, cultures, beliefs and environments, and the connections between the peoples of Asia, Australia, and the rest of the world. Asia literacy provides students with the skills to communicate and engage with the peoples of Asia so they can effectively live, work and learn in the region.

The Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia priority has been developed around three key concepts; Asia and its diversity, achievements and contributions of the peoples of Asia and Asia-Australia engagement. These concepts are regarded as fundamental to learning in the priority. Each concept comprises a number of organising ideas that provide a scaffold for developing related knowledge, understanding and skills. These are embedded in each learning area according to the relevance of its content to the organising ideas. An organising idea may draw on content from more than one learning area. Taken as a set, the organising ideas provide a coherent framework for the priority.

The first key concept highlights the diversity within and between the countries of the Asia region, from their cultures, societies and traditions through to their diverse environments and the effects of these on the lives of people.

The second key concept examines the past and continuing achievements of the peoples of Asia, identifies their contribution to world history and acknowledges the influences that the Asia region has on the world’s aesthetic, and creative pursuits.

The third key concept addresses the nature of past and ongoing links between Australia and Asia, and develops the knowledge, understanding and skills, which make it possible to engage actively and effectively with peoples of the Asia region.

ACARA has consulted both with educators who have deep knowledge of the Asia region and organisations like the Asia Education Foundation in developing this specific cross-curriculum priority. It has also involved practising teachers from learning areas and with expertise in Asian Studies to provide advice about how the priority could be incorporated into each learning area.


Sustainability

The Sustainability priority provides the opportunity for students to develop an appreciation of the necessity of acting for a more sustainable future and so address the ongoing capacity of Earth to maintain all life and meet the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations.

This priority will allow all young Australians to develop the knowledge, skills, values and world views necessary for them to act in ways that contribute to more sustainable patterns of living. It will enable individuals and communities to reflect on ways of interpreting and engaging with the world. The Sustainability priority is futures-oriented, focusing on protecting environments and creating a more ecologically and socially just world through informed action. Actions that support more sustainable patterns of living require consideration of environmental, social, cultural and economic systems and their interdependence.

The Sustainability priority is futures-oriented and calls on students to act sustainably as individuals and to participate in collective endeavours that are shared across local, regional and global communities. It emphasises the interdependence of environmental, social, cultural and economic systems.

The Sustainability priority has been developed around three key concepts: systems, world views and, futures. These concepts are seen as fundamental to learning about sustainability. Each key concept contains a set of organising ideas that provide a scaffold for developing related knowledge, understanding and skills. These are embedded in each learning area according to the relevance of its content to the organising idea. An organising idea may draw on content from more than one learning area. Taken as a set, the organising ideas provide a coherent framework of the priority.

The first key concept explores the interdependent and dynamic nature of systems that support all life on Earth as well as the promotion of healthy social, economic and ecological patterns of living for our collective wellbeing and survival.

The second key concept presents the issues surrounding sustainability in a global context. This concept allows for a diversity of world views on ecosystems, values and social justice to be discussed and linked to individual and community actions for sustainability.

The third key concept is aimed at building the capacities for thinking and acting in ways that are necessary to create a more sustainable future. The concept seeks to develop reflective thinking processes and empower young people to design action that will lead to a more equitable, respectful and sustainable future.

ACARA has consulted both with educators who have deep knowledge of sustainability and organisations such as National Education for Sustainability Network, the Australian Association of Environmental Educators and the Australian Youth Climate Coalition in developing this specific cross-curriculum priority. It has also involved practising teachers with expertise in sustainability from each of the learning areas to provide advice on how the priority could be incorporated into each learning area.

Further information can be found on the cross-curriculum priorities home page on the Australian Curriculum website at www.australiancurriculum.edu.au.

Documents

Terms of Reference for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group Contact Details