University of Tasmania

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STEM and STEAM education as spaces for disruption and rejuvenation in schools: An overview of professional possibilities for ‘disciplinarity’ across three Australian states

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-23, 19:07 authored by Hunter, J, Abbey MacDonaldAbbey MacDonald, Wise, K, Sharon FraserSharon Fraser
This paper presents an overview of how interdisciplinary education agendas are being interpreted and enacted within three Australian states: New South Wales, Tasmania and Victoria. It offers new understanding of the impact, interpretation and enactment of interdisciplinary education in STEM and STEAM on teacher professionalism. Consideration is given to the priorities espoused in current State and Federal policy agendas for disruption and rejuvenation. The paper explores how disciplinary acronyms such as STEM and STEAM are being mobilised to maintain, erode or reform particular disciplines, and how this impacts enactment of teacher professionalism in Australian schools. By focusing on the boundaries between these disciplines, the distinctiveness and potential of various interdisciplinary agendas can be reframed and better understood. In turn, ways of recognising, embracing and prioritising different forms of disciplinary knowledge of education professionals can be identified in the spaces between disciplinary curriculum and pedagogy. In NSW the teaching professional is thwarted by endgame assessments that maintain distinct approaches to the STEM disciplines in education in secondary schools, while in Tasmania the possibilities for more professional collaboration between the disciplines are yet to be realized. Furthermore, in Victoria there is a misalignment between interdisciplinary learning outcomes desired by the tertiary sector from STEAM and other discipline combinations, and the pedagogies employed. Finding diverse ways of knowing, of further questioning and transgressing boundaries are posited as possible tools for provoking and preparing teachers, communities and young people for uncertain futures.


Publication title

Proceedings of the 4th International Professional Practice, Education and Learning (ProPEL) Conference




Faculty of Education


Professional Practice, Education and Learning

Place of publication


Event title

4th International Professional Practice, Education and Learning (ProPEL) Conference

Event Venue

Sydney, Australia

Date of Event (Start Date)


Date of Event (End Date)


Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Teacher and instructor development; Other education and training not elsewhere classified