A Curriculum for a Post-colonial Truck Stop: The Applicability of a National Curriculum to an Evolving Remote Australian Aboriginal Community

By Chloe Parkinson and Colin Francis Baker.

Published by The International Journal of Civic, Political, and Community Studies

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Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: March 14, 2014 $US5.00

This dialogue is about what might be considered appropriate education for the children of the post-colonial truck stop that is the Aboriginal community of Elliott in Australia’s remote Northern Territory. It builds on a paper, The Anatomy of a Post-colonial Truck Stop: Some Dilemmas Facing Four Public Servants, presented at the Tenth International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities Montreal 2012. The dialogue is based on a critical analysis of the new national curriculum, the Australian Curriculum (AC), currently being introduced into all Australian schools, and the lived experience of teachers working in Aboriginal schools. It contrasts the case for the application of Australia’s recently introduced national curriculum with the case for a locally negotiated curriculum that takes account of Article 14 of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. This dialogue has a wider application than the Australian context in that it raises raises questions about the competing roles of the school as a cultural agent for the political entity that owns it and as an ethnographically sensitive seeker of transformational curriculum outcomes for minorities entrusted to its care.

Keywords: Critical Analysis, Australian Education, National Curriculum

The International Journal of Civic, Political, and Community Studies, Volume 11, Issue 1, March 2014, pp.45-55. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: March 14, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 353.714KB)).

Chloe Parkinson

Doctoral Student, School of Education, University of New England, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Chloe Parkinson is a graduate of The University of Queensland and Charles Darwin University. From 2010 to 2012 she taught in a remote Aboriginal community in the Northern Territory, and was appointed to a specialist teaching position to oversee the implementation of the newly-developed Australian Curriculum. She is now a PhD student with the University of New England. Her doctoral dissertation uses Critical Discourse Analysis to examine Indigenous education discourses privileged and marginalised within the Australian Curriculum.

Dr. Colin Francis Baker

Partner, Cross Cultural Solutions, Khancoban, New South Wales, Australia

Dr. Colin Francis Baker is a graduate of the Universities of: Sydney, Calgary and New England and of the Australian Joint Services Staff College. His 2010 doctoral dissertation is titled A Phenomenological Study of a Small School Serving a Remote Aboriginal Community. His research interests reflect a dual career in education and the military in Australia, Canada and Papua New Guinea, the military aspects of which concentrated on officer education and leadership development. He has been a college lecturer, and a college and university librarian. His teaching experience has been in remote or disadvantaged schools including extensive experience in remote community schools in Papua New Guinea. From 1999 to 2007 with his wife Sandra, he ran the highly successful Warrego small school which provided full service schooling and a negotiated curriculum for the Mungalawurru Aboriginal Community in Central Australia. More recently he has undertaken remedial roles as principal of Nangatjatjara and Elliott schools. He is currently involved as a consultant in a number of education related community development projects.