Powers of Curriculum

Sociological Perspectives on Education

Brad Gobby, Rebecca Walker

Powers of Curriculum

Sociological Perspectives on Education

Brad Gobby, Rebecca Walker






5 Oct 2017




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Powers of Curriculum explores education in Australia today through the notion and practices of curriculum. It broadens our conception of curriculum to include the lived experiences of learners in educational settings. It explores historical and current forces within and beyond education that constitute curriculum, and how curriculum powerfully shapes learners and their experiences of learning. As educators are central to the enactment and experiences of curriculum, the authors aim to equip readers with critical and post-structuralist ideas, concepts and perspectives that can make a positive difference to the lives of children and young people in the early childhood, primary and secondary phases of education.

This resource explores a diverse range of topics related to curriculum, education, culture and society. The text is organised into three parts: Understanding Curriculum; Unpacking Curriculum Contexts; and Enacting Curriculum Experiences. The first part introduces you to the notion of curriculum and its relationship to education. The second part examines a range of social, cultural and political issues that influence the enactment and experiences of curriculum across diverse settings. The final part explores the practical dimension to your learning about curriculum. The authors encourage you to use the book’s concepts and ideas to open education to new thoughts and practices.

The authors encourage readers to use the book’s concepts and ideas to create learning experiences that are rich, engaging, intellectually stimulating, respectful and meaningful from the point of view of learners.

Key Features

  • Explores complex sociological and philosophical concepts in ways that are accessible to pre-service teachers and will genuinely equip them to make a positive difference in the lives of children and young people.
  • Ask yourself questions are intended to use readers’ personal thoughts, beliefs and experiences to reflect on what they are reading.
  • Theory in action feature encourages readers to consider how the ideas they are reading about surface in people’s experiences, and can be applied to educational contexts.
  • Questions, activities, suggested internet search terms and resources are provided at the end of each chapter for further exploring the topics and information covered.


    Part One: Understanding Curriculum

  1. What is Curriculum?
  2. Schooling, Its History and Power
  3. Questioning How and What We Know: New Concepts to Approach Education
  4. Educators' Philosophies: Encountering and Weaving Images
  5. Critically Reflective Practice: What Is It and Why Is It Needed Now?
  6. Neoliberalism, Education and Curriculum
  7. Part Two: Unpacking Curriculum Contexts

  8. The Education System and SES: Mapping Disadvantage
  9. The Trap of Binary Thinking: Problematising Gender and Social Disadvantage
  10. Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience in Education
  11. Identity Formation: Consumerism and Popular Culture
  12. Rethinking Australia’s Cultural Diversity
  13. Understanding the Techniques of Colonialism: Indigenous Educational Justice
  14. Testing Times for Assessment and Pedagogy
  15. Part Three: Enacting Curriculum Experiences

  16. Learner Diversity and School Practices
  17. The Virtual Schoolbag and Pedagogies of Engagement
  18. Environment: The Third Teacher
  19. Planning, Programming and Embedding Curriculum
  20. Student-centred Approaches to Planning in Primary and Secondary Schools
  21. Glossary


Brad Gobby is a Lecturer in the School of Education at Curtin University.

Rebecca Walker is a Lecturer in the School of Education at Curtin University.


Lilly Brown is an educator and researcher at the University of Melbourne.

Barry Down is Professor and City of Rockingham Chair in Education at Murdoch University where he teaches in social studies education.

Stefania Giamminuti is a Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Education, Curtin University (Perth, WA).

Christina Gowlett is a lecturer in the School of Education at The University of Queensland.

Alma Fleethas worked in the early childhood sector in Australia and the UK for decades. She supervises PhD students at Macquarie University and enjoys projects with Semann & Slattery.

Saul Karnovsky is a Doctoral candidate at Curtin University’s School of Education.

Amanda Keddie is a professor of education within REDI (Research for Educational Impact) at Deakin University (Melbourne).

Kelli McGraw is a Lecturer in the Faculty of Education at Queensland University of Technology.  

Glenda McGregor, is a Senior Lecturer and Deputy Head of School (Academic) in the School of Education and Professional Studies at Griffith University, Australia.

Jane Merewether is a lecturer in early childhood education at Curtin University.  

Zsuzsanna Millei is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Social Research and Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education at the University of Tampere, Finland.

Martin Mills is Head of the School of Education, at The University of Queensland, Australia.

Richard Niesche is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Education at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.

Jane Pearce is a Research Fellow and former Associate Dean in the School of Education at Murdoch University.

Eva Bendix Petersen is professor in the Department of People and Technology at Roskilde University in Denmark.

Sophie Rudolph is a Lecturer in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne

Glenn C. Savage is a policy sociologist and public policy researcher at the University of Western Australia.

Joel Windle is Assistant Professor at the Fluminense Federal University in Brazil and Senior Adjunct Researcher at Monash University.

Lecturer Resources

The following resource are available to lecturers who prescribe Powers of Curriculum for their course:

  • An Instructors Resource Manual to help apply the text to your teaching.