Asia Education Foundation

June 2010

This web forum is for Principals and School leaders to share their school's progress in developing Asia literate curriculum.

How is your school developing an Asia literate curriculum?

This is a critical moment in history for Asia literacy in Australia. There is current cause for optimism with the Melbourne Declaration on Education Goals for Young Australians calling for Asia literate curriculum, and Asia and Australia's engagement with Asia as a cross-curriculum perspective in the Australian Curriculum.



Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has urged that Australia give effect to a much higher Asia literacy in a speech delivered at the Asialink Asia Society National Forum at Parliament House, Canberra.


Opening this forum is Chris Presland, Principal of St Clair High School NSW, who keynote speaker at Round 2 of the Leading 21 Century Schools: Engage with Asia project talking to NSW Principals and School Leaders. Chris is actively involved in the national education landscape and is executive member of the largest state principals' association: NSW Secondary Principals Council.

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  • The National Curriculum Imperative

    In this 1 minute video, Chris describes part of the draft History curriculum and the work for teachers in the months ahead. What do you see as the implications of the focus on Asia in the national curriculum in your school?

    Video: 1:16

9 responses

While we have a fairly active Engaging With Asia program in the English and especially Studies of Society Learning areas at Palmerston High School in the NT, we are embarking on a project to establish Asia literacy across the whole of the senior school. One of our goals is to establish a sister school project with a school in India using video-conferencing and having students in Palmerston and New Delhi working collaboratively on common tasks. It is timely that our staff are reviewing and rewriting programs across all curriculum areas to take our students into the 21st century.
Some implications revolved around the confidence of teachers in incorporating Studies of Asia into their programming. Teachers need examples to guide their ideas and possible resources e.g. Novels in the Middle School or Films to enhance discussion.
As a trial school for the four current areas of the Australian curriculum we have used this work to platform our Engage with Asia programme actions. The Cross curricular links have provided impetus for moving forward and also a really sound scope and sequence for action. The raising awareness with parents and staff has been the focus of our actions to ensure implementation is sound and staff have the capacity to proceed with confidence.

Michael Camilleri

posted 11 June 2010 at 2:41pm
At Mount Lawley Senior High School we have just started our whole school journey Engaging with Asia. We probably reflect many schools who are engaged in this process. We have identified several challenges to engage not only our staff from across the learning areas, but also our local primary schools. We have a committed and large committee at the school level - which helps at the school level. One of the biggest challenges facing us is how we can sustain the development and support of Asian Literacy over the longer term. We have tapped into local Education Department funding to seed the development of relationships with our Primary Schools, however how we sustain these relationships is a big question. We provide money and teacher support in Chinese however this will need to be expanded and sustained long term. Ideas are welcome!
Lindfield East Public School has made considerable ground in creating an Asian literate community. We have audited our Asian Education program and have identified gaps in our curriculum and resourcing. We have also discovered the significant links that we have established in recent years with Asian communities will have a powerful impact on students and teachers once consolidated. An Asian Education committee has been formed in 2010. It will target and guide our teachers and community in embedding an understanding of our global neighbours in the years to come. Strong links with a Nepalese sister school by our SRC is having a major impact, as is the establishment of a Chinese Recital class, the provision of TAFE classes for parents and the links being established with China after a recent Northern Sydney Region Principals visit.
Chatswood Public School is a large multicultural school with 84% of students from NESB. Asia literacy has been a focus for three years. All students learn Mandarin delivered through a community language program. A curriculum audit revealed that there is a strong emphasis on Asia-themed units. In 2011 we will be infusing Asia literacy into Creative Arts programs and H,PE&PD. Asia literacy is supported by the staff and is currently a school target for this year. As a result the school has produced videos, translated the school website into both Korean and Chinese, translates the Annual School Report, teaches English to NESB parents and provides translators for key meetings. The school is currently establishing links with both China and Korea.
It is quite an exciting time to be living in at the moment, as not only do we have educators pushing the desire for engagement with Asia, we also have business pushing a political agenda that is now driving a change that can already can be seen in the draft of the Australian Curriculum. The challenge for schools is to ensure that the engagement is authentic and of value to students. Our curriculum has been heavily weighted towards Anglo-Saxon/European so the challenge will be to develop deep understanding of Asia and the multitude of countries, cultures and perspectives, languages etc that goes into describing what is Asia to enable our teachers to provide learning experiences that engage students and provide deep learning.
With the help of a teacher coach we are adding Asian perspectives to all our existing integrated units. We have begun to write original units for stages 1-3 on China, and are planning to write units based on Korea. Our Japanese language program is in the process of being enhanced to include intercultural language studies. Our future plans include establishing a sister school in Wuhan, central China.
It's great to see some of the terrific iniatives happening in various schools. One of the biggest challenges I see is to enagage schools that don't currently have a significant Asian population. Hopfully some of the impetus for this will come from the cross curricula perpsectives in the new National Curriculum.

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