Ceding to the Other: Reflexive Praxis in an Indigenous Community Space

Year: 2017

Author: Gannaway, Jessica

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This auto-ethnographic paper examines the evolving dispositions toward 'social justice' in a beginning teacher's first four years of practice in an Indigenous community in Australia. This work seeks to examine how a non-indigenous teacher may utilise reflexivity to intentionally shape early career teaching praxis. Through the frameworks of postcolonial theory, in particular Third Space theory and the work of Indigenous Australian theorists around Indigenous Knowledge Systems, the research examines what it means for a non-indigenous teacher to reflexively construct a praxis for social justice. Through the work of Martin Nakata's Cultural Interface and Karen Martin's seminal work 'Please Knock Before You Enter', the research examines constructs of white Selfhood, constructs of Social Justice and the multiple discourses around Indigenous education, the workings of the Institution and how these shape beginning practice, and a developing awareness of Othering. Four aspects of ethical praxis are proposed as beginning points for the decolonising of non-indigenous teachers and reduced othering of classroom participants. These aspects are Knocking (after Karen Martin), Unsettling, Ceding and Collaborating.