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Welcome to the new Curriculum Perspectives! This is our first online edition for which we have received significant assistance from our colleagues at Springer. There have been some First On Line articles since January as the system allows us to make these available as soon as they have been through the production process. You can access these articles directly from the ACSA website in the same way you can access the journal.
Khaled Alazzi’s article on teachers and multicultural education in Jordan raises some important issues. That teachers do not pay great attention to multicultural education in their classrooms is not surprising because neither does their education system as a whole. In an examination driven context, teachers place their emphasis on preparing students for those examinations. Without an explicit message from the system about multicultural values, schools will focus on what they think is important. This is an important lesson for all education systems, especially at a time internationally when support and recognition for diversity is under threat.
Christopher McCaw then takes us to a middle school class to show how strong students’ ideas are about their learning. Some time ago it was argued that middle schools, or at the very least an acknowledgement of the need for a middle schooling process, was an important way to cater for the needs of young adolescents. Those needs are still there. After reading this article, it is clear we need to continue paying attention to them if young people are to receive the support and care required at this particular times of their lives.
Agathi Argyriadi and Marina Sotiropoulou-Zormpala show that developing young people’s language skills can be an engaging and enjoyable process for very young children. They report on a study where arts activities were integrated into language learning, and the results are very positive. We need more research on children’s learning to help us understand what teachers can do in creative and innovative ways.
Karen Guo, Kiyomi Kuramochi and WanYing Huang explore the early childhood curriculum across three different countries – Australia, Japan and China. This kind of international investigation with our Asian neighbors can yield important insights as it does in this article. There is a distinctively Western view about the focus of the early years of schooling, and this is represented most strongly in Australia but also in Japan and China. Yet in the latter two countries there are also some unique characteristics that may be described as more academically oriented in the case of China and community oriented in the case of Japan. Culture and history do make a difference!
Deborah Henderson and Libby Tudball provide an overview of Civic and Citizenship Education as part of the Australian Curriculum. It is such an important area for young people, and I suspect it deserves much more attention than it currently gets. We need more debates such as the one highlighted here. More importantly, we need action in order to move forward. As mentioned earlier, if education systems do not allocate a priority to Civic and Citizenship education, then schools will find it difficult to chart an approach that suits their context.
Point and Counterpoint highlights Climate Change Education and I am very grateful to Dr. Hilary Whitehouse and her team for providing such an insightful collection of papers. If we are to overcome current levels of ignorance about climate change it has to start with those who will inherit its implications. You do not need to be an environmental scientist to appreciate these contributions. But you do need to be a concerned citizen - concerned about the future, concerned about policy and concerned about the ways we can all contribute to a more environmentally sensitive and caring lifestyle. I would like our politicians to read this collection of articles and clear their heads of climate change skepticism. We need policies in this country to acknowledge and accept realities – both scientific and social. This collection of articles is a good start!
The Editorial Team would like to expand the Book Review Section and to this end Dr. Mallihai Tambyah from the Queensland University of Technology has joined the team as Book Review Editor. If you come across books that you think should be reviewed please let her know (email@example.com). At the same time, Professor Kathryn Moyle has stepped down from her position as Associate Editor and I would like to thank her for her contribution to the development of the journal. I hope you will enjoy reading this edition and please let us have your feedback.