These are testing times for humanity and the planet. In August 2021, the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its Sixth Assessment Report. Drawing on the work of more than 230 leading scientists from countries across the world and a total of 78,007 expert and government review comments, the Report effectively synthesises such data to provide an update on changes to the Earth’s climate since the last report was issued in 2013. It makes clear that climate change continues to be induced by human activities such as deforestation and fossil fuel burning and affects weather and climate extremes in every region on Earth in multiple ways. Together with the dire warning that there is limited time to address this threat to the future, we are also facing the continued spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Delta variant. These and other matters, such as increased levels of poverty and institutionalised racism, challenge us to think about the role of education in preparing young people for such an uncertain future, and how we conceptualise curriculum in this process.
In this edition of the journal, authors from various countries and contexts provide insights into how curriculum is envisaged, made and remade across different sites of activity. Miron Bhowmik examines the acculturation experiences of minoritised youth in Hong Kong and calls for strengthening culturally responsive policy, practice, intervention, and research to better support minoritised youth. In the paper that follows, Kehinde Lawrence and Mncedisi Maphalala explore opportunities for social justice through inclusion in the curriculum and pedagogical practices in higher institution spaces. They do this by sharing the findings from their systematic review of past scientific studies carried out in South Africa that focussed on social justice in the higher education curriculum and pedagogy delivery. Following this, Christopher Khayeka-Wandabwa and his colleagues present the outcomes of their scoping review into the nature of education curriculum reforms and transitions in Kenya. The authors highlight those curriculum reforms and transitions as both local and international and note the political, social, and intellectual, historical and cultural nature of such reforms.
The next set of articles is from Australian authors. John Buchanan’s position paper draws from literature, including policy documents and syllabuses, to highlight the challenges for sustainability education in Australian and elsewhere. In terms similar to those noted at the beginning of the editorial with reference to the United Nation’s (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report, Buchanan argues that changes in policy and practice are urgently needed if we are to secure the planet for future generations. Karen Maras’s paper evaluates the extent to which Visual Arts syllabus content currently known as the “Conceptual Framework” represents core concepts and principles for learning in Visual Arts K-12 in New South Wales (NSW). Maras advocates for maintaining the Conceptual Framework in the revised Visual Arts curriculum, arguing that it represents a conceptual core and principles for learning that are essential to teaching and learning. Linda Lorenza’s paper also focuses on the Arts in NSW. Lorenza explores how eight arts specialist teachers in NSW schools responded to the Australian curriculum: The Arts, together with their in-school experiences in the light of the school principal’s view of the arts. She notes that the leadership focus of the principal influences the allocation of resources for the arts, as well as whether the arts were scheduled within the regular school timetable or outside of school hours. In the next paper, John Williams and Michael Davies examine the role of teacher educator professional learning in reconfiguring physical education (PE) via an innovative approach to autoethnography. The authors contend that while this research was specific to a PE context, it can be relevant for other educators especially those who find themselves teaching unfamiliar content outside of their own area of expertise.
In the Australian Curriculum section, Emeritus Professor Bill Green, presents an extended and elaborated version of the Garth Boomer Memorial Address, he delivered at the (online) bi-annual national conference of the Australian Curriculum Studies Association of Australia (ASCA) on June 3, this year. Garth Boomer was one of Australia’s major contributors to the advancement of school-based curriculum development. Through his publications and work in a range of positions, notably as Director of the Curriculum Development Centre, and Chairman of the Commonwealth Schools Commission, amongst others, Boomer encouraged teachers to see education as a collaborative partnership between themselves and their students and advocated for teachers being responsible for what is taught in their classrooms. Bill Green’s deeply theorised paper not only provides a thorough examination of Boomer’s contribution to curriculum scholarship, but in doing so, makes clear his own contribution to how we might conceptualise — and reconceptualise — curriculum. Bill Green is surely one of our great curriculum scholars.
I am indebted to Associate Professor Bronwyn Ewing and her colleagues, Jerry Flores, Kati Barahona-López, and Kate Quane for the Point and Counterpoint papers in this edition that focus on the rights of children in juvenile detention centres to receive an education which enables them to believe they matter and can reach their potential. As Ewing notes: How do children matter in countries that would rather incarcerate than educate? How do children matter in countries that have stolen land, broken treaties and then are called troublemakers or disruptive? How do children matter in countries that see them as property or a commodity? How do children matter in countries that measure knowledge against a “gap” that they created? How do juvenile detention centres give children and young people purpose and allow them to grow? How do teachers in juvenile detention centres allow children and young people to see why they matter to themselves?
Two insightful book reviews are included in this edition. Ian Davies examines Keith Heggart’s book on young Australians’ conceptions and characterisations of citizenship. Kerry Kennedy reviews an important publication edited by Mark Priestley, Danie Alvunger, Stavroula Philippou and Tiina Soini that explores curriculum development and making across multiple sites in Europe.
To conclude, changes are afoot in the editorial team. Associate Professor Judy Anderson is stepping down from her position as Associate Editor, and I would like to thank Judy for her dedicated work and contribution to the development of the journal. Dr Mallihai Tambyah has also decided to relinquish her role as Book Review Editor. I acknowledge Mallihai’s work and thank her for her contribution. This is the last edition of Curriculum Perspectives for which I shall be Editor. After 4 years in this role and 5 years as Associate Editor, I am handing over to Associate Professor Philip Roberts from the University of Canberra. Deborah Price from the University of South Australia has kindly agreed to take on an Associate Editor role. I have worked with Phil during the past 4 years when he was an Associate Editor, and of course, with Deb as ACSA President, and have no doubt I am leaving the journal in good hands. I am sure the new team will continue building the journal’s scholarly depth and international reach.
At this point, it is worth noting that Curriculum Perspectives was established as ACSA’s key publication in 1980. Our late and very dear colleague, Associate Professor Colin Marsh, was founding editor and made CP Australia’s first and most authoritative curriculum studies journal until his untimely death on 6th August 2012. Following the loss of Colin, Professor Kerry Kennedy, a foundation member of ACSA, immediately stepped into the role of Editor to ensure the October edition of 2012 was published. As Editor, Kerry grew the journal’s international reach and oversaw its development into an online journal with Springer. It was a privilege to work with Kerry during those 5 years and see the journal develop in this way. I have been supported in my work by Katherine Schoo, ACSA’s Executive Director and by the Editorial Board and the ACSA Executive. I thank them and extend this appreciation to my colleagues at Springer, which continues to be responsible for our online journal. My sincere thanks to Lawrence Liu, Senior Editor at Springer Nature’s Singapore office and Hermine Vloemans, the publisher’s Project Coordinator of Production, based in Dordrecht, the Netherlands. What a pleasure it has been to work with you both. Thank you also to Uthara Udayan, JEO Assistant, who is based in Springer’s Chennai office in India.
I look forward to continuing my membership of ACSA and to keeping in touch with the new editorial team at Curriculum Perspectives. I wish them well for a rewarding time researching and theorising curriculum at such a significant and challenging time. To all our readers — please keep safe and well.
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Henderson, D.J. Editor’s introduction. Curric Perspect 41, 129–130 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41297-021-00150-8