Towards Culturally Responsive Pedagogies in remote Aboriginal schools: an action research case study

Year: 2021

Author: Osborne, Sam

Type of paper: Symposium

Australian Curriculum marks out a road map for the progressive acquisition of official for all Australian schools. But important questions require careful attention if Australian education is to fulfill its aspirations outlined in the 2020 Mpartwe Education Declaration. Remote central Australian schools remain culturally distant from the core knowledge assumptions that underpin the creation of official knowledge production (curriculum) and teachers must engage in important pedagogical reflections and action to bridge the divide between schools and student lifeworlds. This paper describes current work in supporting teachers and leaders from four Anangu (Pitjantjatjara/Yankunytjatjara) schools in South Australia and the Northern Territory. Pitjantjatjara language is one of around a dozen traditional Australian languages that continue as a child's home language and first language is a core element of a culturally responsive pedagogical approach. Educator teams involved in the project include local (Anangu) and non-local (Piranpa) educators who negotiate questions for investigation that are significant and challenging in their pedagogical work. The principles of Culturally Responsive Pedagogies are reinvestigated in consideration of the context of Anangu education and pedagogical frustrations, innovations and findings are presented. This work reasserts the centrality of Anangu aspirations, languages, knowledges and lifeworlds in informing a teacher's pedagogical approach. There are also significant workforce development implications for local educators who are actively involved in professional practice without access to appropriate teacher training programs.