Aboriginal people's aspirations and the Australian Curriculum: a critical analysis

Chloe Parkinson*, Tiffany Jones

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    15 Citations (Scopus)


    A culturally inclusive curriculum has increasingly been considered beneficial to all students. The national Australian Curriculum set out to be inclusive, containing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures cross-curriculum priority. Some education discourses can assume however that inclusion is an unproblematic good, and a true representation of the ‘reality’ of Aboriginal Peoples’ lived experiences and aspirations. This article presents a study exploring how the aspirations of Aboriginal people are supported in dominant education discourses mobilised within the Australian Curriculum. The study firstly applied Critical Discourse Analysis to the Curriculum policy corpus, to explore the Indigenous education discourses privileged and marginalised within it. It then utilised informant interviews with members of an Aboriginal community, to explore their education aspirations for the community’s children. The results revealed a critical gap between the Curriculum’s positioning of Aboriginal knowledges, histories and cultures; and the Aboriginal community’s aspirations for their children’s education. They highlight the need for the Curriculum to offer critical-oriented learning opportunities whilst remaining flexible, to support localised aspirations and approaches.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)75-97
    Number of pages23
    JournalEducational Research for Policy and Practice
    Issue number1
    Early online date10 May 2018
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019


    • curriculum
    • Indigenous education
    • discourse
    • aspiration


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