Profile image of Rebecca Cairns

Dr Rebecca Cairns



Lecturer in Education, Humanities


Faculty of Arts and Education


SoE Arts & Ed


Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus


Doctor of Philosophy, Deakin University, 2018
Master of Education, Flinders University, 2013

+61 3 522 78204


Rebecca is an early-career researcher in the field of curriculum inquiry and a lecturer in Education. She is interested in the ways curriculum is developed, represented and experienced by teachers, students and other stakeholders. This includes looking at the ways in which global and national education policy discourses intersect with local curriculum practices in the past and the present, particularly in regards to history education, studies of Asia and inter/transcultural education. She also taught in secondary schools for 13 years.

Her thesis, Representations of Asia in Senior Secondary History Curriculum, used discourse anlysis and critical policy analysis to investigate the representation of Asia-related history curriculum in the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE). It analysed the political and socio-historical contexts in which curriculum was developed over three decades and explored how Asia-related history curriculum is enacted by teachers. Her current research investigates student experience of Asia-related curriculum in senior schooling.

Rebecca currently teaches in the Master of Applied Learning and Teaching (MALT) in middle and later years curriculum and peadgogy units, as well as units that relate to diversity, inclusion and the sociology of education. Prior to this she taught secondary Humanities and English for 13 years in Victoria and Queensland.

Read more on Rebecca's profile

Research interests

history education and curriculum; critical curriculum inquiry; studies of Asia; intercultural education; critical policy analysis


Deakin Contemporary Histories Research Group

History Teachers' Association of Victoria (HTAV)

Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE)

Units taught

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

Knowledge areas

critical curriculum inquiry; critical policy analysis; discourse analysis; history education; studies of Asia; Asia as method; intercultural understanding


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. (2016). Differentiating the Chinese Revolution. The History Teachers' Association of Victoria (HTAV) Annual Conference, Melbourne, August.

Media appearances

Cairns, R. (2018). ‘Western civilisation’? History teaching has moved on, and so should those who champion it. The Conversation. Retrived from

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.


Philip Brown History Award 2016

Arts and Education Teaching Excellence Award (Middle Years Teaching Strategies Team) 2018


Filter by


A systematized review of research into/on Asia literacy in schools

R Cairns, Christine Halse

(2018), Vol. 45, pp. 9-23, Asia literacy in a global world an Australian perspective, Singapore, B1


The many voices of senior history curriculum enactment

R Cairns

(2018), Vol. 53, pp. 4-13, Agora, Collingwood, Vic., C1


Funded Projects at Deakin

No Funded Projects at Deakin found


No completed student supervisions to report