Beyond 'food, flags and festivals'? School leaders imagining inter-cultural understanding in three Victorian secondary schools

Year: 2013

Author: Charles, Claire, Arber, Ruth, Halse, Christine, Mahoney, Caroline

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The inclusion of the general capability, ‘intercultural understanding' within the new Australian Curriculum opens up an opportunity for Australian schools to rethink their approaches to educating for diversity across the curriculum, as well as raising questions about how intercultural understanding (ICU) might be distinct, and different from ‘multi-cultural' education, and other previous iterations within Australian and international curriculum and policy frameworks. In this paper we draw on ethnographic data generated in the context of an ARC project on intercultural understanding in primary and secondary schools. The 12 Victorian schools participating in this project have opted to undertake a process of school redesign for intercultural understanding. Drawing on data generated from discussions with three secondary school principals, in this paper we explore how these school leaders, working in very different school contexts, imagine and constitute ICU in secondary schooling, and how their constructions of ICU may be shaped and informed by their particular school and social context.