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The Humanities Conference 2003

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Presentation Details

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Teaching the Value of Diversity Against the National Discourse of the War on Terror

Dr Cathy Day, Sue McGinty.

Teaching the valuing of difference is an important element of curriculum in Queensland secondary schools. The intention of this curriculum focus is to influence student understanding of the cultural and other influences on the Australian identity. Currently there is a national focus in the Australian media on the “War on Terror” as a consequence of September 11 and the Bali bombing. The researchers investigated the impact of the terrorism focus on the teaching of diversity utilising focus groups and interviews with principals, teachers and students. The issues considered included changes to school policy, teaching issues and student responses to this new world order. This research raises significant issues associated with identity formation for the ‘next world order’ in Australian students.


Dr Cathy Day  (Australia)
Director - School Services

Catholic Education Office Townsville

Sue McGinty  (Australia)
Director of Research, School of Indigenous Australian Studies

James Cook University, Townsville

Sue McGinty is currently Director of Research at the School of Indigenous Australian Studies at James Cook University. She researches issues pertaining to socio-cultural perspectives in education. She has recently published two books with Peter Lang (New York) entitled “Resilience, Gender and Success at School” (1999), and “The politics and machinations of educational research: International case studies” (2001), and one with the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies entitled “Karrayili: Adult education in a remote Australian community” (2000). In June 2002 she completed three major research projects for the Indigenous Education Consultative Body to the Queensland Government. She has taught courses in qualitative research methods in Sweden and Australia.

  • Teaching Diversity
  • Secondary Schools
  • Australian Identity

(30 min Conference Paper, English)