Dr Rebecca Cairns is a lecturer in Humanities Education at Deakin University, Geelong. Her curriculum inquiry research spans history education, studies of Asia and education policy. Prior to this she was a teacher of Humanities and English in secondary schools in Victoria and Queensland.
At Deakin, she co-convenes the Transforming Curriculum, Assessment and Pedagogy Research Program and is a member of the School of Education Research Committee. She also co-convenes the Australia-China Relations and Higher Education Research Network and is a member of the Contemporary Histories Research Group.Read more on Rebecca's profile
Rebecca investigates how contemporary and historical socio-political conditions shape curriculum. This includes examining how curriculum gets made and mediated by a range of curriculum policy actors in secondary schools and policy contexts.
Her research contributes to understanding the ways curriculum practices can be enriched by more relational representations of people, places and the past through multiple perspectives, narratives and knowledges–particularly in relation to Asia-related history. This work provides much needed socio-historical understandings of curriculum policy practices to the often highly politicised debates around the relationship between curriculum policy, public policy, historical narratives and socio-cultural change.
The Asia literacy dilemma: A curriculum perspective (Cairns & Weinmann, in press) is a forthcoming co-authored book in the Routledge series on Schools and Schooling in Asia. It examines the dilemma of Asia literacy as an education goal by bringing into focus Asia as a curriculum dimension using curriculum inquiry as the central lens. In doing so it interrogates current curricular imaginations of Asia and aims to move towards a more multifaceted discussion of Asia-related curriculum beyond utilitarian conceptualisations. The book seeks to amplify the voices of students and teachers as key curriculum actors.
Rebecca’s other research outputs have included articles in high-ranking journals, a chapter in an edited book, national and international conference presentations and a commissioned educational resource on the Vietnam War, which was co-authored with Deakin colleagues. She also contributes to The Conversation and has multiple publications to support the teaching of modern Chinese history in secondary schools.
Much of her work takes a poststructuralist approach to discourse analysis and draws on decolonising and deimperialising theoretical frameworks, as well as critical policy analysis and interview methods.
She has reviewed journal articles, examined a PhD thesis and is available to supervise Higher Degree Research students.
Research interests: curriculum inquiry, history education; studies of Asia; senior secondary curriculum; critical policy analysis; discourse analysis; modern Chinese history
Transforming Curriculum, Assessment and Pedagogy Research Program, Deakin
Australia-China Relations in Higher Education Research Network, Deakin
Contemporary Histories Research Group, Deakin
History Teachers' Association of Victoria (HTAV)
Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA)
EHI702 History Curriculum Inquiry
EEO101 Teaching Humanities in Primary Education
EEG402 Teaching in a Global World
EEO301 Sustainability, Inquiry and Action: A Humanities Perspective
EEO211 Humanities Education in the Primary 3-6 Levels
ECN720 Youth Cultures and Learning Pathways
ECN730 Introduction to Teaching: Later Years
ECN724 Later Years Teaching Strategies
ECN723 Middle Years Teaching Strategies
ECN728 Indigenous Students and Cultural Diversity
curriculum inquiry; history education; studies of Asia; Asia as method; senior secondary schooling; critical policy analysis; discourse analysis;
Cairns, R. (2021). Curricular Responsiveness to Crisis Panel. Comparative and International Education Society’ International Conference, May, Seattle, USA [online].
Cairns, R. (2018). Deimperialising Constructions of Asia in Senior Secondary History Curriculum. World Curriculum Studies Conference, Melbourne University, December 9-12.
Cairns, R. & Weinmann, M. (2018). ‘Successful participation’? Exploring the gap between intended and experienced Asia curriculum in senior secondary schooling, Where’s your Asia? Symposium, University of Western Australia, November.
Cairns, R. (2018). Beyond borders: methodological nationalism, mobilities and history curriculum. Re-positioning Asia literacy: Beyond Binaries and Boundaries, Deakin, Melbourne, May.
Cairns, R. (2016). The Shrinking VCE History Curriculum and a History of the Curricular Present. Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) Conference, Melbourne, November.
Cairns, R. (2016). Analysing the discursive construction of Asia in senior secondary History curriculum in Australia. Asia Pacific Education Research Association (APERA) Conference, Kaohsuing Taiwan, November.
Cairns, R. (2016). Asia as Method: a tool for curriculum analysis. Paper presented at Education Hong Kong University and Hong Kong University, Hong Kong, November.
Cairns, R. (2022). The national history curriculum should not be used and abused as an election issue. The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/the-national-history-curriculum-should-not-be-used-and-abused-as-an-election-issue-176783
Cairns, R. (2018). ‘Western civilisation’? History teaching has moved on, and so should those who champion it. The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/western-civilisation-history-teaching-has-moved-on-and-so-should-those-who-champion-it-97697
Cairns, R. (June 7, 2018). The Politics of History Education. Breakfast. ABC Radio Perth.
Cairns, R. (July 15, 2018). Whose Civilisation? Morning Juice. Radio Adelaide.
Transforming Curriculum, Assessment and Pedagogy Research Program
Contemporary Histories Research Group https://chrg.deakin.edu.au/
Australia-China Relations and Higher Education Research Network https://blogs.deakin.edu.au/australia-china-relations-and-higher-education/
Philip Brown History Award 2016
Arts and Education Teaching Excellence Award (Middle Years Teaching Strategies Team) 2018
(2021), Vol. 18, pp. 21-44, Journal of curriculum and pedagogy, Abingdon, Eng., C1
R Cairns, M Weinmann
(2021), Asia Pacific Journal of Education, C1
Rebecca Cairns, Julianne Moss, Kerri Garrard
(2021), Geelong, Vic., A6
(2020), Vol. 44, pp. 258-277, Asian Studies Review, Abingdon, Eng., C1
(2020), Vol. 50, pp. 126-148, Curriculum Inquiry, Abingdon, Eng., C1
(2020), Prospects, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, C1
Rebecca Cairns, Kerri Garrard
(2020), Vol. 50, pp. 1-9, Agora, Collingwood, Vic., C1
R Cairns, Christine Halse
(2018), Vol. 45, pp. 9-23, Asia literacy in a global world an Australian perspective, Singapore, B1
(2018), Vol. 53, pp. 4-13, Agora, Collingwood, Vic., C1
Funded Projects at Deakin
Other Public Sector Funding
Learning first Hand: Vietnam War teaching and learning resources.
Prof Julianne Moss, Dr Kerri Garrard, Dr Rebecca Cairns
DPCGV Grant - Research - Department of Premier and Cabinet, Government of Victoria
- 2020: $68,181
No completed student supervisions to report