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Curriculum planning and design


Asia capable teachers demonstrate knowledge of content and teaching strategies to develop and implement research-based teaching and learning programs in which Asia literacy is valued. They design and implement teaching and learning programs using knowledge of curriculum, assessment and reporting requirements.

Adapted from AITSL: Australian Professional Standards for Teachers

Curriculum planning models

A wide range of curriculum planning models can be used to design relevant and engaging curriculum.

Each state and territory has published a range of advice, support materials, templates and tools for school leaders and teachers to access to support curriculum planning and design.

  • Explore the curriculum planning guidelines for your state and territory.
  • Consider how your school currently uses these frameworks and what aspects might still be able to be implemented.

Inquiry-based learning

Inquiry Based Learning uses questions generated from the interests, perspectives and experiences of the learner. Students will identify and research issues and questions to develop their own knowledge or solutions. 

Understanding by Design (UbD) in a Nutshell & Understanding by Design downloads
Understanding by Design focuses on 'teaching for understanding', with the emphasis on 'backward design', the practice of looking at the outcomes first in order to design curriculum units, performance assessments, and classroom instruction. 

Learning by Design is an inclusive approach to Learner Diversity, by building into curriculum the idea that not every learner will bring the same world experiences and interests to learning, and creating pedagogical scaffolds which do not assume that every learner has to be on the same page at the same time. The approach also uses the idea of Multimodality, in which learners move between written, oral, visual, audio, tactile, gestural and spatial modes of meaning-making.

Project-based learning

Project-based learning (PBL) is an approach in which students actively explore real-world problems and challenges, and acquire a deeper knowledge.

The basis of PBL lies in the authenticity or real-life application of the research. Students working as a team are given a 'driving question' to respond to or answer, then directed to create an artefact to present their gained knowledge.

Successful PBL schools have a culture of inquiry that shapes the way both teachers and students work.  When this culture is matched with the strong practice of PBL pedagogy, powerful learning outcomes can be achieved.

From Exploring the challenges and opportunities of Project-Based Learning Report

Intercultural learning framework

What Works 3: Achieving intercultural understanding in English and History provides a framework/continuum that teachers can use when planning their curriculum. 

This framework (adapted from Banks, 1999) can be used as a tool to explore what is required to support transformative intercultural learning.

Contributions Additive  Transformation Social action

Teachers incorporate relevant content from different cultures into their teaching, e.g. by selecting books and activities that celebrate holidays, heroes, and special events from various cultures.

Culturally diverse books and issues are not generally a feature of the curriculum. Students' cultural literacy depends largely on their teachers' interests in intercultural understanding.


Teachers use resources by and about people from diverse cultures to add multicultural content, concepts, themes and perspectives to the curriculum.

But because the basic structure of the curriculum has not been altered to promote critical and creative thinking about cultural differences, this approach, though knowledge building, does not necessarily transform thinking. 

 The structure of the curriculum is designed to encourage students to view common concepts, issues, themes, and problems from diverse cultural perspectives. This type of instruction involves critical thinking and the acknowledgment of diversity as a basic premise.

It allows students to appreciate multiple ways of seeing and understanding, develop empathy for various points of view, and learn how to manage difference in the process.

This approach combines the transformation approach with learning activities that advocate social change. Teachers help students not only to understand and question social issues, but to also do something important to address them.

For example, after studying a unit about immigration, students could write opinion pieces to newspaper editors, letters to government officials, etc.

Grey Right arrow

Catalytic (first-steps) Transformative Action-oriented

This framework for the stages of Intercultural learning (adapted from Banks, 1999) can be used as a tool to explore what is required to plan and design curriculum for transformative intercultural learning. See the Intercultural understanding toolkit for more.


  • Review a unit of work against the Intercultural learning continuum.
  • Identify where the unit fits along the continuum.
  • Consider what changes you could make for the unit to align to transformation or social action.

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