Curriculum as Knowledge System: The Warlpiri Theme Cycle

  • Samantha Disbray
  • Barbara Martin
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Minority Languages and Communities book series (PSMLC)


In this chapter, we describe the development and use of the Warlpiri theme cycle, an Australian Indigenous language and culture curriculum, created by educators, elders and community members for four Warlpiri schools located in Central Australia. The Warlpiri curriculum is a three-year cycle, with 12 themes or knowledge domains, which are central to Warlpiri people and their land, language, law and culture. We present the theme cycle as the reflection and enactment of a living Indigenous Knowledge system in the teaching and learning programme in the Warlpiri schools. Processes of knowledge reproduction are examined. These processes are reflected in the ongoing development of the theme cycle and its knowledge domains, as well as in the pedagogies used in the Warlpiri programs.


Warlpiri Indigenous knowledge Bilingual education Cultural knowledge and practice Literacy Australia 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Samantha Disbray
    • 1
  • Barbara Martin
    • 2
  1. 1.Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.Yuendumu SchoolYuendumuAustralia

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