The school as a cubbyhouse: Aboriginal students, their teachers and the curriculum in an inner city primary school

Year: 1996

Author: Munns, Geoff

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper reports on research which examines curriculum and classroom practices in an inner city primary school. It reveals how the curriculum is influenced by students' oppositional behaviour at a whole school and classroom level, and how teachers' responses to oppositional behaviour result in a curriculum which is implicated in the continuing educational disadvantage of a large group of the school's Koori (Aboriginal) students. Theoretical underpinnings are drawn from resistance theory. However, the study offers a different perspective on previous research in this tradition by focussing on the perspectives of teachers and closely examining the nature of the school curriculum. Students' positions are explored through community and teacher interviews and through school and classroom observation. The data and the discussion focus on curriculum and classroom practices produced in the exchange between the school's Koori students and the teachers. It is argued that this curriculum contributes to social reproduction by not eliminating the conditions of resistance contained within the school and its context. A model is proposed which serves the dual purpose of providing an analytical framework within the specific research context, and a heuristic device through which other schools might contextualise their curriculum.