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ERIC Number: EJ937336
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0022-0620
Neo-Liberal Individualism and a New Essentialism: A Comparison of Two Australian Curriculum Documents
Smith, Dorothy V.
Journal of Educational Administration and History, v43 n1 p25-41 2011
This article explores a significant shift in the science curriculum in Victoria, Australia, in the mid-1990s by using the idea of essentialism to compare two science curriculum documents that span the shift. The accounts given in these documents of desirable approaches to teaching science, science itself and the proper scope of curriculum, are compared to show that the document written in the mid-1990s is open to a more essentialist reading than its predecessor. I argue that the market-driven approach to education frames each learner as a neo-liberal individual separated from society; consequently, it leaves ideas of community largely unexamined and unsupported. As a result, important curriculum and policy debates are short-circuited and essentialist explanations for commonality become easier to accept. I describe this as new de facto essentialism, in that it arises from an insistence on individuality that denies the agency of society, rather than a consideration of positive evidence. Finally, I briefly examine the shaping paper for science in the first Australian National Curriculum for potential to avoid essentialist readings. (Contains 53 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia