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Overview

Cross-curriculum priorities

The Australian Curriculum gives special attention to three cross-curriculum priorities:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures
  • Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia
  • sustainability.

The cross-curriculum priorities are embedded in the curriculum and will have a strong but varying presence depending on their relevance to each of the learning areas.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are strong, rich and diverse. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identity is central to this priority. It is intrinsically linked to living and learning in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, deep knowledge of traditions and holistic world view.

A conceptual framework based on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ unique sense of identity has been developed as a tool for embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures within the Australian curriculum. This sense of identity is approached through the interconnected concepts of Country/Place, people and culture. Embracing these elements enhances all areas of the curriculum.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander priority provides opportunities for all learners to deepen their knowledge of Australia by engaging with the world’s oldest continuous living cultures. This knowledge and understanding will enrich their ability to participate positively in the evolving history of Australia.

A direct way of learning about and engaging with diverse Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is to learn an Aboriginal language and/or a Torres Strait Islander language. There is an inseparable connection between Aboriginal languages and Torres Strait Islander languages and land/sea, Country/Place, the environment, fauna and flora. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures are an integral part of the learning of Aboriginal languages and Torres Strait Islander languages.

In learning all languages, there is a scope for making interlinguistic and intercultural comparisons across languages, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages, to develop understanding of concepts related to the linguistic landscape of Australia and to the concepts of language and culture in general.

Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia

In the Australian Curriculum: Languages, the cross-curriculum priority of Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia enables the development of rich and engaging content and contexts for developing students’ capabilities to engage with the languages and cultures of Asia and of people of Asian heritage within Australia.

The Australian Curriculum: Languages enables students to learn the languages of the Asian region, learning to communicate and interact in interculturally appropriate ways, exploring concepts, experiences and perspectives from within and across Asian cultures.

In the languages learning area, students develop an appreciation for the place of Australia within the Asian region, including the interconnections of languages and cultures, peoples and communities, histories and economies. Students learn how Australia is situated within the Asian region, how our national linguistic and cultural identity is continuously evolving both locally, regionally and within an international context.

Sustainability

In the Australian Curriculum: Languages, the priority of sustainability provides a context for developing students’ capability to communicate ideas, understanding and perspectives on issues and concepts related to the environment.

The Australian Curriculum: Languages contributes to students’ capabilities to investigate, analyse and communicate concepts and understandings related to sustainability in broad contexts, and to advocate, generate and evaluate actions for sustainable futures. Within each language, students engage with a range of texts focused on concepts related to sustainability.

These include:

  • environment
  • conservation
  • social and political change
  • linguistic and cultural ecologies
  • change, both within the target language and culture, and across languages and cultures in general.

In this way, students develop knowledge, skills and understanding about sustainability within particular cultural contexts. This is crucial in the context of national and international concerns about, for example, climate change, food shortages and alternative ways of caring for land and agriculture. Through developing a capability to interact with others, negotiating meaning and mutual understanding respectfully and reflecting on communication, students learn to live and work in ways that are both productive and sustainable.

Learning Aboriginal languages and Torres Strait Islander languages contributes to the global effort to exchange knowledge among people with varied practices in caring for the land. It also contributes to the reconciliation process in Australia and goals for language revival.

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