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Produced by Asia Education Foundation, this digest shares recent research relevant to fostering the development of Asian languages and studies, and intercultural understanding in Australian schools.

May 2015 edition


Halse, C. (Ed.) (2015). Asia literate schooling in the Asian century. Abingdon, NY: Routledge.  

This edited volume brings together expert analyses of concepts, policies and practices of schooling in the context of building Asia literacy. It focuses on three key questions: What does Asia literate schooling mean? Why is it important? How might or ought schools do Asia literacy? Contributors to the volume tackle these questions from a variety of perspectives, such as Asia literacy as experiential learning, the Asia literacy narrative, professional standards and ethics, and the feasibility of implementing cross-curricular studies of Asia. 

Practical relevance

This extensive work is most relevant to education systems and school educators who wish to explore the idea of Asia literate schooling in greater detail. It also relates to the Asia and Australia's engagement with Asia cross-curriculum priority of the Australian Curriculum.

Martin, F., Healy, C., Iwabuchi, K., Khoo, O., Maree, C., Yi, K., & Yue, A. (2015). Australia’s "Asian Century": Time, Space and Public Culture. The Asia-Pacific Journal, 13(6). 


This article explores Australia's relationship with Asia, concluding that Australia is commonly regarded as being 'in but not of Asia' and Asia is seen as being 'in but not of Australia'. To build Australia's engagement with Asia, the authors advocate focusing on Australia's constitutive connections with the region and people's everyday cross-cultural experiences.

Practical relevance

This article provides further justification of the need for intercultural understanding and greater Asia awareness and engagement in Australia. It relates closely to the Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia cross-curriculum priority and Intercultural understanding general capability of the Australian Curriculum.

Watkins, M., Lean, G., & Noble, G. (2015): Multicultural education: the state of play from an Australian perspective. Race Ethnicity and Education, DOI: 10.1080/13613324.2015.1013929


This article discusses key findings of the first large-scale survey of more than 5,000 government school teachers in New South Wales on issues of multicultural and English as a Second Language (ESL) education. The findings illustrate the (often) untapped cultural and linguistic diversity of teachers and shows how their pre-service training and subsequent professional development in the broad area of multicultural education requires further development, despite positive signs of improvement. The article provides insights into how multicultural education is practised in schools in order to achieve relevant goals such as developing English proficiency among students of non-English background, combating racism, promoting equal chances for all students, and fostering intercultural understanding.     

Practical relevance

The issues around multicultural education tackled by the article are most relevant to the teacher education (pre-service and in-service) sector. However, it is also related to the Australian Curriculum, especially around student diversity, the Intercultural understanding general capability, and the cross-curriculum priorities of Asia and Australia's engagement with Asia and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures

Casinader, N. (2015). Transnationalism in the Australian Curriculum: new horizons or destinations of the past? Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, DOI: 10.1080/01596306.2015.1023701  


This article describes the Australian Curriculum as the 'national substantiation of Australia's educational priorities' (p. 1) to prepare young Australians for the challenges and opportunities of a globalised future. Yet, the author argues that the Australian Curriculum does not sufficiently prepare students for transnational contexts. While there is merit in the Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia cross-curriculum priority and Intercultural understanding general capability, he asserts that the curriculum, in general, remains 'more of a protective reinforcement of older conceptions of a "Western" community than one centred on forward-looking global principles' (p. 1).    

Practical relevance

This article is especially relevant to those who wish to develop a more critical understanding of how transnationalism and interculturalism is handled in the Australian Curriculum, within the context of a diverse and interconnected world. It is related to the Intercultural understanding general capability and Asia and Australia's engagement with Asia cross-curriculum priority of the Australian Curriculum.


The views expressed within this update, or any of the articles it contains, do not necessarily represent those of AEF or the Australian Government Department of Education and Training.

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