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Critical discourse analysis as curriculum development in Pacific island nations: a comparative model for critical investigations of culture and curriculum

Smith, Kevin ORCID: 2014. Critical discourse analysis as curriculum development in Pacific island nations: a comparative model for critical investigations of culture and curriculum. 'Otunuku, Mo'ale, Johansson-Fua, Seu'ula and Nabobo-Baba, Unaisi, eds. Of Waves, Winds and Wonderful Things: a Decade of Rethinking Pacific Education, Suva, Fiji: University of the South Pacific Press, pp. 185-197.

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Although some cultures with histories of colonial occupation have rejected and confronted multiple modes employed by “the colonizer” to maintain and promote hegemonic relationships with “the colonized,” methods of schooling and the ideologies that give shape to their organization continue to create complications regarding the representation of culture. In 2010, I conducted a Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) of Developing the Curriculum Cymreig, guidance produced by the Welsh government for the implementation of a curricular initiative intended to incorporate a “Welsh dimension” into the curricula of all schools in Wales. At the heart of the document was a concern with the promotion of Welshness and its various representations in school curricula. In 2011, I was involved in creating initial teacher training programs and curriculum development for a number of Pacific Island Nations. Wales and many Pacific island countries possess a number of postcolonial commonalities that continue to complicate how curriculum and culture interact. In each context, curriculum is used as a method for constructing and promoting cultural identity. However, in considering government guidance for curriculum development, critical investigations of the methods and goals of such activities are not endorsed. In this chapter, I focus on Pacific schooling in discussing the potential of critical discourse analysis as a form of critique educators and students can use in developing and experiencing curricula. As an approach to inquiry, CDA enables one to peer through the opacity of power relations found in the discursive practices and texts of social and cultural structures, and assists in informing us as to how the indistinct features of these relationships bolster the presence and alignment of power and hegemony. The denaturalization of ideologies involves showing how social structures determine properties of discourse as a form of social practice that represents and calibrates one’s orientation to reality, including the representation of self and other. In this chapter, I demonstrate how CDA can allow Pacific teachers and students to enact a critical pedagogy wherein they analyze discursive formations that organize and shape representations of Pacific cultures and knowledge promoted by various interests, and suggest this process where teachers and students can conceptualize new orientations to culture and self can be promoted in schools in Wales and beyond. Such critical approaches to curriculum development and instruction can create transformative spaces, and provide critical foundations for future civic and social interaction in their respective communities and cultures.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2361 Curriculum
Publisher: University of the South Pacific Press
ISBN: 9789820109063
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2022 09:48

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