Designing Curriculum Materials for Multzcultural Education: Lessons from an Australian Development Project

Kerry J. Kennedy, Gilbert McDONALD

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This article is concerned with the decision-making processes that took place in a multicultural curriculum development project. An examination of those processes has highlighted some significant issues concerning the nature of multicultural education. The project was entitled “An Indian Ocean People.” It sought to portray the family life styles of ethnic groups whose country of origin was in the Indian Ocean region but who were now resident in Western Australia. Four main issues emerged during the project team's deliberations. These involved consideration of how the cultural characteristics of ethnic groups can best be portrayed, the role of studying countries of origin as part of multicultural education, the pursuit of cultural maintenance or cultural awareness as outcomes of multicultural education and the role of multicultural education as a component of the existing school curriculum. The resolution of these issues was a complex process, yet in the end some important points were made. The problem of stereotyping ethnic groups was avoided by using real families rather than abstract “average” families. A distinction was made between multicultural education (education about ethnic groups in their new cultural environment) and international education (education about life styles in countries of origin). Multicultural education was seen to be for all students and the emphasis was on awareness and appreciation of diversity rather than on cultural maintenance. Finally, care had to be taken to ensure that the materials were designed flexibly in terms of organization and sequencing of content so they could be easily integrated into existing subject areas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-326
Number of pages16
JournalCurriculum Inquiry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 1986
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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