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Cross-curriculum priorities

The Australian Curriculum has been written to equip young Australians with the skills, knowledge and understanding that enable them to engage effectively with and prosper in a globalised world. Students gain personal and social benefits and are better equipped to make sense of the world in which they live and make an important contribution to building the social, intellectual and creative capital of our nation.

Accordingly, the Australian Curriculum must be relevant to the lives of students and address the contemporary issues they face. With these considerations and the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians (2008) in mind, the curriculum gives special attention to the following three priorities:

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

In the Work Studies Years 9–10 curriculum, these priorities have a strong but varying presence, depending on the nature of school and workplace context. The cross-curriculum priorities are defined on the Australian Curriculum website.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures

The Work Studies Years 9–10 curriculum incorporates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures from a number of perspectives.

As students explore concepts of self-identity, they have opportunities to develop understanding of the unique sense of identity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. They learn how identity is strongly linked to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ unique belief systems and their spiritual connection to the land, sea, sky and waterways, and the influence these have on relationships within the world of work.

When exploring how social and cultural factors can influence work behaviours and the expectations and prosperity of population groups, students gain an understanding of the lived experiences of a range of different population groups including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. In doing so, students explore a range of practices and strategies used within different communities to maintain and balance work and family life.

Students may explore Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experiences of employment by engaging with role models and reflecting on historical perspectives in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment.

Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia

This priority provides a regional context for learning in all areas of the curriculum. Countries of the Asia region are growing rapidly and the power and influence they have in all areas of global endeavour is extensive. An understanding of Asia underpins the capacity of Australian students to be active and informed citizens, working together to build harmonious local, regional and global communities.

The Work Studies Years 9–10 curriculum enables students to explore and appreciate the diversity of ethnic backgrounds, cultures and traditions within the countries of the Asia region, including Australia. In this curriculum, students develop communication and interpersonal skills that reflect intercultural understanding, building awareness of and respect for the diverse range of beliefs and customs that are important to the peoples of Asia.

Students are provided with opportunities to explore the concept of the 21st century as the Asian century and examine the implications for workplaces in Australia and the importance of Asia-relevant skills to 21st century workforce. They investigate the way work culture and patterns are informed by and impact on the cultures and beliefs of the peoples of Asia.


Sustainability addresses the ongoing capacity of Earth to maintain all life. Sustainable patterns of living meet the needs of the present population without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Work Studies provides opportunities for students to observe and reflect on ways individuals apply workplace practices that value and protect environments as well as the health and welfare of themselves and other workers. In reviewing work-related experiences, students reflect on personal behaviours and practices that contribute to more sustainable enterprises.

Students recognise the relationship between social and environmental sustainability and how one is necessary for the other. They investigate the role of work in maintaining and supporting social sustainability by exploring the rights and responsibilities of employers and workers.

Through study of the operation of organisations, students appreciate the interdependence of economic, social and environmental factors in moving towards more sustainable industries. When applying their skills and knowledge to solve problems or implement projects, they take into account sustainability as a key factor in realising solutions. They recognise the need for respecting diversity and social justice to achieve outcomes that lead to a more sustainable future.

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