Is inclusive education enough for Australian Aboriginal students? Making the case for belonging education to disrupt the normalised agenda of assimilation

Sheelagh Daniels-Mayes, Gary Fry, Karen Sinclair

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Abstract

Though education is commonly cited as a key factor in overcoming socioeconomic disadvantage, few benefits are evident for Australian Aboriginal students, their families or communities. Instead, schooling continues to play a significant role in reproducing racialised structures of inequality, oppression and exclusion. In this chapter we argue that schooling needs to become places of belonging for Aboriginal students and not just for those who are affiliated with the dominant culture. This chapter draws on the research of three Indigenous teacher educators. First, Karen draws on research that explored early year’s educators’ conceptual understandings and perspectives of cultural competence. Second, Sheelagh draws on ethnographic research that sought to understand what successful teaching of Aboriginal high school students looks like. Third, Gary draws on his research into education policy responses to remote schooling in the Northern Territory and provides a case of why and how belonging can be produced at a policy level. While the three investigations differ in their focus and methodologies, each agrees that inclusive education is a damaging concept that hides the true purpose of mainstream education, assimilation and ‘absorption’. In this chapter we make the case that inclusion through policies and regulations is not enough to disrupt and transform the racialised deficit narratives, borne out of two centuries of colonisation. What is needed is Belonging Education that requires educators to centre students’ ways of knowing, being and doing in their learning; to see Aboriginality as an asset for learning and not a problem to be fixed; and reject deficit discourses of Aboriginal students; and to create culturally-safe schools that promote belonging for Aboriginal students, their families and communities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGlobal Directions in Inclusive Education
Subtitle of host publicationConceptualizations, Practices, and Methodologies for the 21st century
EditorsMatthew J. Schuelka, Suzanne Carrington
Place of PublicationOxon, UK
PublisherRoutledge Taylor & Francis Group
Chapter6
Pages99-116
Number of pages17
Edition1
ISBN (Electronic)9781003091950
ISBN (Print)9780367550936, 9780367550950
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2021

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Is inclusive education enough for Australian Aboriginal students? Making the case for belonging education to disrupt the normalised agenda of assimilation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this