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 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:
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.
Across the Australian Curriculum, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures priority provides opportunities for all learners to deepen their knowledge of Australia by engaging with the world’s oldest continuous living cultures. Students will understand that contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are strong, resilient, rich and diverse. The knowledge and understanding gained through this priority will enhance the ability of young people to participate positively in the ongoing development of Australia.
The Australian Curriculum: Civics and Citizenship values Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and perspectives. Students are introduced to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander customary law and develop an understanding of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ experiences of Australia’s legal system. They examine the unique identities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and how they shape national Australian identity. They consider how these communities are maintaining and developing their identities and what this means for Australia as a whole.
Across the Australian Curriculum, this priority will ensure that students learn about and recognise the diversity within and between the countries of the Asia region. Students 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.
In the Australian Curriculum: Civics and Citizenship, the priority of Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia provides rich and engaging opportunities for developing students’ civics and citizenship knowledge, understanding and skills. In particular, the curriculum recognises that Australia’s engagement with Asia has the capacity to build understanding and appreciation of diversity within Australian society and contribute to harmonious local, regional and global communities. In examining what shapes personal and national identity, students are encouraged to investigate the cultural or religious groups to which Australians of Asian heritage belong. In studying Australian citizenship, students have an opportunity to explore the experiences of people of Asian heritage who have migrated to Australia and taken up Australian citizenship. Students can also have opportunities to reflect on how Australians can participate in the Asia region as active and informed citizens.
Across the Australian Curriculum, the Sustainability priority allows young Australians to develop the knowledge, skills, values and worldviews necessary for them to act in ways that contribute to more sustainable patterns of living. Education for sustainability enables 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.
In the Australian Curriculum: Civics and Citizenship, the priority of Sustainability can provide a context for developing students’ civics and citizenship knowledge, understanding and skills. In the knowledge and understanding strand, students have the opportunity to explore sustainability issues as they relate to government services and the different levels of government. They develop the understanding that sustaining a resilient democracy depends on the informed participation of its citizens, and develop skills and dispositions to support active citizenship. They explore contemporary issues and develop action plans and possible solutions to local, national and global issues which have social, economic and environmental perspectives.
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