Examining non-dominant cultural perspectives in pedagogical practice

Year: 2004

Author: Amosa, Wendy, Ladwig, James

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

While the Quality teaching framework (NSW Department of Education and Training, 2003b) and recent syllabus reform efforts in NSW assert the importance of valuing non-dominant cultural knowledges and values in pedagogical practice, there has been little empirical examination of the ways in which non-dominant cultural perspectives are integrated in students’ learning experiences and the implications for such perspectives on students’ learning outcomes. The Systemic implications of pedagogy and achievement in NSW public schools research study (SIPA) allows for such an investigation to take place by drawing on data strands made available by classroom observations, assessment tasks and student work samples. In this paper, we outline the framework through which the SIPA research study will aim to inform current understandings of the practices and effect of pedagogies that value non-dominant cultural perspectives.

Our outline commences with clarification of the interpretation of the term “cultural knowledge” that will be used for the purpose of this research. We then examine current justifications for the inclusion of cultural knowledge in students’ learning contexts, recognising that much of the current reasoning makes little if any attempt to explicitly prioritise improved learning outcomes for students. In an effort to prioritise a rationale of student achievement for inclusion of cultural knowledge, we guide our analysis with three research questions. First, in what ways are nondominant cultural knowledges legitimised in students’ classroom and assessment experiences? Second, in what ways do students engage with non-dominant cultural knowledge? Third, to what extent are students’ learning outcomes affected by the inclusion of non-dominant cultural knowledge in pedagogy? The methods by which we plan to respond to these questions within the context of the SIPA research project are outlined in the final section of the paper.