Controversial issues in the Australian educational context : Dimension of politics, policy and practice

Journal article


McPherson, Amy, Forster, Daniella and Kerr, Kylie. (2023). Controversial issues in the Australian educational context : Dimension of politics, policy and practice. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education. 51(2), pp. 113-127. https://doi.org/10.1080/1359866X.2022.2152310
AuthorsMcPherson, Amy, Forster, Daniella and Kerr, Kylie
Abstract

In recent years, a number of controversies related to climate change, racism and Black Lives Matter, and gender and sexual diversity have characterised public debate in Australia about politically charged content in schools. This paper explores one jurisdiction’s “Controversial Issues in Schools” policy through three broad areas of discussion. We begin by analysing the current social and political context in Australia at both a state and national level to consider how debates around controversial issues in schools have been utilised to exploit both existing and emerging cultural divisions. We then examine some of the philosophical claims central to the “Controversial Issues in Schools” policy before considering a single case of teacher deliberation in relation to the policy. The paper argues that the policy does little to support teachers in bringing up controversial issues in the classroom particularly given the ways teacher conduct in relation to controversial issues is treated in public discourse. Engaging with controversial issues as a matter of teacher conduct fails to acknowledge the epistemic, ethical, and political nature of controversial issues and teachers’ deliberation in relation to such concerns and constructs teacher conduct as a central concern.

Keywordscontroversial issues; controversial issues in schools policy; professional ethics; teacher conduct
Year2023
JournalAsia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education
Journal citation51 (2), pp. 113-127
PublisherRoutledge
ISSN1359-866X
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/1359866X.2022.2152310
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85143150576
Page range113-127
Publisher's version
License
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online29 Nov 2022
Publication process dates
Accepted31 Oct 2022
Deposited23 Jun 2023
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