Asia Pacific Education Review

, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 69–82 | Cite as

Teachers ’ conversations about civic education: Policy and practice in Australian schools

  • Kerry J. Kennedy
  • Simon Jimenez
  • Di Mayer
  • Suzanne Mellor
  • Janet Smith
Regional and Comparative Studies


Civic education has been a priority for many countries in the Asia Pacific region over the past decade. Governments of different persuasions have recognized the need to provide stability and cohesion in their societies. This has been particularly so at a time when globalization and other forces threaten to fragment the nation state and co-opt its citizens into broader realms of allegiance and commitment.

Policy makers have not been slow to come up with new directions for civic education in the school curriculum and the literature now abounds with examples from different countries. Yet missing from this flurry of policy development has been recognition of the role that teachers play in constructing civic education programs at the school level. In the end, it is teachers in classrooms who determine how centralized polices are understood and implemented.

Drawing on a sample of Australian teachers, the purpose of this paper is to highlight the role that teachers play in constructing and reconstructing civic education policy in schools and classrooms. Interviews conducted with teachers in four Australian States/Territories have revealed that teachers ’ personal views of civics are more likely to influence them than external policies, their focus is more on citizenship than formal civics programs and that they are reluctant to develop programs where civic knowledge is formalized and disciplined based.


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Copyright information

© Education Research Institute 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kerry J. Kennedy
    • 1
  • Simon Jimenez
    • 2
  • Di Mayer
    • 3
  • Suzanne Mellor
    • 4
  • Janet Smith
    • 5
  1. 1.Hong Kong Institute of EducationHong KongChina
  2. 2.University of SydneyAustralia
  3. 3.University of QueenslandAustralia
  4. 4.Australian Council for Educational ResearchAustralia
  5. 5.University of CanberraAustralia

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