‘Learning from Country’ experiences and their influence on Early Career Teacher Practice.

Year: 2021

Author: Thorpe, Katrina, Burgess, Cathie

Type of paper: Individual Paper

The ‘Learning from Country’ (LFC) teaching and research project positions local Aboriginal Voices at the centre of teacher education, deepening preservice teachers understanding of the interconnectedness of culture, community, Indigenous knowledges and Country, and in the process, reimagining their role in teaching and learning.  This involves being on Country and learning from Country guided by Aboriginal community members and Elders to explore the human and non-human entities that create the relational connections to Country.This paper examines the impact of LFC experiences at university on Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal graduates’ practices when they start teaching. Through the lens of critical Indigenous research methodology, we analyse the extent to which this approach bridges the ‘knowing-doing gap’, a commonly expressed graduate concern that university doesn’t prepare them for the ‘real-world’ of teaching. The extent to which LFC experiences help these early career teachers build relationships with Aboriginal students, their families, communities and Country will be explored through individual and group yarns. This research study also explores ways in which LFC influence teaching practices and considers the role of school context in enabling or constraining LFC practices.The paper contributes to a deeper understanding of the opportunities and challenges for early career teachers in building culturally sustaining pedagogies that centre and sustain Indigenous communities. This then foregrounds the structural, policy and conceptual implications for reimagining education through Learning from Country.