Indigenous students at university: is teaching still a colonising process?

Year: 2001

Author: Pearce, Jane

Type of paper: Refereed paper

As a teacher educator I encourage my students to develop culturally inclusive pedagogies, and also see it as my responsibility to practise them myself. However, I have found that my position as a culturally inclusive practitioner is rarely tested in my work in a university setting. While universities are welcoming increasingly diverse groups of students into their midst, most of the students I encounter share cultural capital with me. This paper is an exploration of a ‘critical incident’ when the presence in my class of an Indigenous Australian student; a culturally "different" student; challenged me to act according to my stated position as a culturally inclusive teacher. I shall outline my reflections on this experience, using post-colonial theory as a framework to examine the colonising nature of my pedagogy, and invite discussion of the possibilities for a more culturally inclusive definition of what is acceptable as teaching and learning in universities.