Who Teaches The Teachers? An Audit Of Teaching Degrees At Australian Universities

Written by:
22 November 2023
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Teaching as a discipline as taught at Australian universities is now dominated by the study of Critical Social Justice, also known as wokeness.

Critical Social Justice assumes most human interaction in society is underpinned by oppressive power structures based on group identities, such as race and gender.

These theories, now entrenched in Australian universities, were pioneered by Brazilian Marxist Paulo Freire as a theory of teaching known as ‘critical pedagogy’. Students are instructed to be politically conscious agents of change to overturn oppressive power structures that Critical Social Justice theorists claim exist.

This audit is a systematic review of 3,713 subjects taught across 37 universities in Australia offering teaching degrees in 2023. It builds on the research methodology used in the IPA’s previous audits of history degrees, The Rise of Identity Politics (2017) and Forgetting the Past (2022).

Almost a third of all teaching subjects are woke. Of the 3,713 subjects currently offered to teaching
students, 1,169 subjects teach Critical Social Justice. These include:

  • ‘Diversity and Inclusion’ subjects that assume some students in the classroom will be excluded from the education process due to their group identity.
  • ‘Aboriginal Education’ subjects that call on the curriculum to be ‘decolonised’.
  • ‘Social and Emotional Learning’ (SEL) subjects that operate as a gateway for woke subjects to be taught in primary and secondary classrooms.
  • ‘Sustainability’ subjects that teach an environmental ideology that asserts a sustainable world cannot be achieved without a socially just world.

The teaching of woke ideology accounts for 31 per cent of all teaching subjects on offer at Australian universities, which is equivalent to one-and-a-quarter years of a four-year Bachelor of Education degree.

Fewer than one-in-ten teaching subjects are about literacy and numeracy. Of the 3,713 teaching subjects taught, 371 subjects are concerned with developing core mathematics (218 subjects), phonics (43 subjects) and grammar skills (37 subjects).

This is equivalent of 9 to 10 weeks of classes across a four-year Bachelor of Education degree (less than half a year) that are dedicated to the teaching of core literacy and numeracy skills.

This means that future teachers are required to take three times as many woke subjects than subjects relating to literacy and numeracy.

The remaining subjects are courses which cover  curriculum specific content, as well as classroom management, classroom-based assessment, and professional placement.

The fact that woke subjects outnumber literacy and numeracy subjects suggests teaching degree coordinators are prioritising indoctrination over education. This is shown explicitly in the policies of some universities, such as the University of Queensland, that make woke subjects compulsory for all student teachers. 

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