The importance of including Indigenous knowledge in pre-service teacher education

    Student thesis: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - CDU


    Indigenous voices and knowledge are excluded from the Australian education system creating limited learning environments where many Indigenous students disengage. For many, the disengagement leads to social exclusion and further disadvantage. Deficit approaches label and externalise this as the ‘Indigenous problem’. NAPLAN results and work conducted by Indigenous academics such as Rigney (2002), Pascoe (2011) and Buckskin (2015), as well as developments in 2012 such as the More Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Teachers Initiative (MATSITI) Project (2012), Behrendt Review (2012) and Moreton-Robinson’s et al. (2012) work about Initial Teacher Education (ITE) preparation of teachers catering for Indigenous students, show that the Australian education system is inadequate. It reinforces assimilation, honouring western ideals. Changing this inadequate system requires respect for Indigenous culture, and understandings about Indigenous knowledge.

    This research was designed to listen to Indigenous educators to potentially improve the system using Indigenous knowledge. The research design was Indigenous with Indigenous women’s standpoint theory as methodology considering inclusion of Indigenous knowledge in the education system – Is it important to include Indigenous knowledge in pre-service teacher education? If so, why? What should be included? Semi-structured interviews were used for data collection and Indigenous women’s standpoint was operationalised with thematic analysis to consider what the responses revealed about the possible gap of knowledge in the Australian education system and pre-service teacher education.

    The data was analysed and presented through an Indigenous lens. So that interpretation did not mute the voices seldom heard in the field of education. These voices provided new knowledge and strong statements about a way forward, to ultimately improve the lives of Indigenous people through an improved education system.

    Understandings about identity and the impacts of education on Indigenous people are key themes explored in this body of work. The thesis confirms the importance of including Indigenous knowledge in pre-service teacher education defining what should be included, to ensure that teachers learn significant concepts and understandings for teaching Indigenous learners. This thesis also reveals the importance of Indigenous educators as custodians of Indigenous knowledge.
    Date of AwardJan 2019
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorRuth Wallace (Supervisor) & Michaela Spencer (Supervisor)

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