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Applying a Capabilities Approach to Cross Curricular Priorities for Students with Disabilities Dr Deborah Price University of South Australia ACSA Darwin,

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Presentation on theme: "Applying a Capabilities Approach to Cross Curricular Priorities for Students with Disabilities Dr Deborah Price University of South Australia ACSA Darwin,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Applying a Capabilities Approach to Cross Curricular Priorities for Students with Disabilities Dr Deborah Price University of South Australia ACSA Darwin, September, 2013

2 Applying a Capabilities Approach to Cross Curriculum Priorities for Students with Disabilities  The Australian Curriculum is for all  Aim: To apply the capabilities approach of Amartya Sen (1985) and Martha Nussbaum (2003) as a powerful theoretical framework.  Apply Nussbaum’s 10 Central Human Capabilities as a benchmark against which to assess how the learning needs of students with disabilities are being met in the national curriculum.  The cross-curriculum priorities are used as a case study

3 Setting the scene Tensions  Initial invisibility of SWD in Australian Curriculum  Curriculum content for SWD should have been part of the overarching blueprint for the development of the national curriculum (Muskovitis, 2010, p.51).  Making the curriculum accessible after the fact;  time consuming  challenging for the team  beneficial to only a small number of children at a given time or within an activity (Lieber, Horn, Palmer and Fleming, 2008, p.20) Response  Amendments to draft curriculum materials and shaping papers  Overarching statements addressing student diversity including SWD  Consultation reference groups  Extending literacy capability continuum (1a to 1e)  Explicit teaching and learning examples in English, Maths, Science and History learning areas  Students with Disability paper was open for public consultation in 2012  Student Diversity and the Australian Curriculum, Advice for principals, schools and teachers released in January 2013

4 Including Students with Disabilities in the Cross Curriculum Priorities  How will the cross curriculum priorities inclusively address the needs of SWD?; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia Sustainability  The cross curriculum priorities are designed to embed in all learning areas, contemporary and relevant issues in the lives of students to equip them with the skills, knowledge and understandings to prosper in a globalized world and contribute to the social, intellectual and creative capital of the nation (ACARA).  The cross curriculum priorities may be addressed for SWD through applying Sen and Nussbaum’s Central Capability approach

5 Applying the Central Capabilities approach for SWD  Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum advance a capabilities approach whereby securing a right to someone requires more than the absence of negative state actions.  Focusing from the start on what people are actually able to do and be therefore places you well to foreground and address inequalities (Nussbaum, 2003).  Individuals need to be in a position of capability to function for rights to be secured.  Capabilities are distinct from functioning; they focus on what a person is or actually chooses to do, the set of alternatives they have…real opportunities...real choices (Anand et al. 2005).

6 Central Human Capabilities 10 Central Capabilities  Life  Bodily health  Bodily integrity  Senses, imagination and thought  Emotions  Practical reason  Affiliation  Other species  Play  Control over one’s environment. (Nussbaum, 2003) Australian Curriculum  So how can SWD fundamental entitlements to the ten capabilities be applied to the Cross Curriculum Priorities?

7 Sustainability and central capabilities Sustainability addresses the ongoing capacity of Earth to maintain all life and promotes sustainability through individual and collective actions. They necessitate a renewed and balanced approach to the way humans interact with each other and the environment (ACARA). Central CapabilitySystems: Organising Idea Being able to live life, affiliate, have control over one’s environment through direct interaction with their ecosystem Systems OI.2 that all life forms, including human life, are connected through ecosystems on which they depend for their wellbeing and survival. Opportunities to live with, interact, recognise and show concern for others including humans, animals, plants and nature promotes affiliation and other species Development of emotions, attachments to things and people; to love those for care for them, experience longing, gratitude and justified anger Play, to laugh, to play, to enjoy recreational activities Systems OI.3 identifying how sustainable patterns of living rely on the interdependence of healthy social, economic and ecological systems

8 Sustainability and central capabilities Central CapabilityWorldviews: Organising Idea Awareness of the interrelations between the ecosystem and capacity of bodily health through providing adequate shelter and nourishment Capacity of bodily integrity, being able to move about securely from place to place free from discrimination, judgement and possible assault Worldviews OI.4 recognise the dependence of living things on healthy ecosystems, and value diversity and social justice as essential for achieving sustainability Practical reason to be able to understand the concept of good and engage in critical reflection about one’s life Worldviews OI.5 forming world views through personal experiences

9 Sustainability and central capabilities Central CapabilityFutures: Organising Idea Senses, imagination and thought. Freedom of speech, choice and imagination is important in gaining perspectives of the world. Futures-oriented, focusing on protecting environments and creating a more ecologically and socially just world through informed action. Educational practices which engages with all senses of SWD can further elicit futures thinking and actions which can contribute to more ecological and socially just worlds Actions that support more sustainable patterns of living require consideration of environmental, social, cultural and economic systems and their interdependence’

10 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures Central CapabilityCountry/Place: Organising Idea Control over one’s environment, affiliation and other species : Being able to imagine situations of others, concern and respect for others and their sense of place, as well as the importance of connecting with other species including places, animals, plants and nature Country/Place OI.1; OI.2; OI.3 elements of knowledge of the two distinct Indigenous groups, connection to and responsibility of country and place and spiritual connections to land, sea, sky and waterways ACARA describes how ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are strong, rich and diverse. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Identity is central to this priority and is intrinsically linked to living, learning Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, deep knowledge traditions and holistic world view’.

11 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures Central CapabilityCountry/Place: Organising Idea Practical reason, senses, imagination and thought, are possible avenues for SWD to explore ways of being, knowing, thinking and doing Culture OI.5 explore how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s ways of life are uniquely expressed through ways of being, knowing, thinking and doing Central CapabilityPeople: Organising Idea Life, bodily integrity, emotions, practical reason, and affiliation opportunity to explore the productivity of all Australian society members and how each and every one can contribute to society in many ways, when society creates the conditions for them to do so People OI.8; OI.9 understanding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, their family, kinship structures and societal contributions

12 Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia Central CapabilityAsia and its diversity: Organising Idea Affiliation provides opportunity for SWD to live with, interact and respect other people and countries Asia and its diversity OI.1: live with, interact and respect other people and countries aligning with traditions, cultures, belief systems and religions Other species and interrelationships between humans and diverse environments Asia and its diversity OI.2 interrelationships between humans and diverse environments Through applying practical reason, SWD can be encouraged to understand achievements and contributions of others and appreciation for the arts and literature Asia and its diversity; Form a conception of achievements and contributions of the peoples of Asia (OI.3), including art and literature (OI.4) ‘Underpins the capacity of Australian students to be active and informed citizens working together to build harmonious local, regional and global communities, and build Australia’s social, intellectual and creative capital. It also builds understanding of the diversity of cultures and peoples living in Australia, fosters social inclusion and cohesion and is vital to the prosperity of Australia’.

13 Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia Central CapabilityAsia-Australia engagement: Organising Idea Affiliation through collaboration and engagement with people and attachment to people outside of oneself through the emotions capabilities contribute to the notion of citizenship Asia-Australia engagement OI.5: Collaboration and engagement with the peoples of Asia

14 Concluding thoughts and recommendations  Potential for applying Martha Nussbaum’s ten central capabilities as a foundational benchmark for which all students including SWD can live a life of dignity…this includes education  Curriculum developers and educators shared conception, which promotes what students with disabilities can do and be…..provide opportunity  The central capabilities, provide opportunity for SWD to engage in the cross curriculum priorities  Through a capabilities lens, educators can focus from the start on what SWD are actually able to do and be and to empower individuals to be in a position of capability in order to function (Nussbaum, 2003).

15 Recommendations  Future initiatives address the cross curriculum perspectives and how SWD are provided with opportunity given seemingly mainstream benchmarks and expectations.  Elaborations for educators on how SWD can achieve the essential knowledge, understandings and skills of cross curriculum priorities…..given these are deemed ‘essential’ for all students.  To apply a capabilities focus on people, giving them opportunities to achieve various lifestyles and live a good life and less on goals and accumulation of resources (Anand, Hunter & Smith, 2005).

16 References  Anand, P., Hunter, G., & Smith, R. (2005). Capabilities and Wellbeing, Social Indicators Research, 74(1),  Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) 2011, Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, viewed April ,.  Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) 2012, ‘Draft Australian Curriculum materials for students with disability’, Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority, NSW.  Lieber, J., Horn,E., Palmer, S. & Fleming,K. (2008). Access to the general education curriculum for preschoolers with disabilities: Children’s school success. Exceptionality, 16,  Muskovitis, J. (2010). ‘False Start?’, Teacher, 214,  Nussbaum, M. C. (2003). Capabilities as fundamental entitlements. SEN and social justice. Feminist Economics, 9(2-3),  Nussbaum, M.C. (2006a). Creating Capabilities: the Human Developmental Approach. Chptr 2 The Central Capabilities, Cambridge


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