Elders, Education and Experiential learning: An Victorian university case study analysis and review to centralising Aboriginal cultural workshops in a pre-service teacher education course

Year: 2016

Author: Weuffen, Sara, Cahir, Fred, Pickford, Marjorie

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper seeks to significantly contribute to pedagogical approaches and theoretical considerations concerning the mandatory inclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander studies and knowledges in Australian tertiary education courses. The current Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) professional standards for teachers’ states that two elements of high quality teaching in Australian specifically relate to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledges and students. Yet the high percentage of non-Indigenous lecturers teaching non-Indigenous pre-service teachers about such content raises questions for Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander engagement and authenticity. Broadly the paper explores the successes and challenges experienced by a non-Indigenous lecturer at a Victorian regional university as they have attempted to implement a community-inclusive pedagogical approach, where Elders, community knowledges and skills are centralised for pre-service teacher learning. While pre-service teachers and Aboriginal community members have embraced and supported this centralised learning approach, questions emerge for further consideration about the nature of power/knowledge relationships in racialised spaces and the generalizability and suitability for wider application in other pre-service teacher education courses.