Spaces of Multiplicity: Re-thinking Indigenous Perspectives in Australian Tertiary Education through Altering Teacher Beliefs and Practices

Publisher:
University of Aix en Provence Press
Publication Type:
Chapter
Citation:
Geographies of Displacement
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The timeframe of this research about Indigenous perspectives in tertiary curriculum, occurs in the second decade of the twenty-first century, which is timely given media and government interest in the shape of the education system with respect to “closing the gap” between Indigenous and non-Indigenous educational outcomes. Two decades after the ratification of the Coolangatta Statement on Indigenous People’s Rights in Education at the World Indigenous Peoples Conference in 1993, ongoing tension between Indigenous self-determination and western educational frames of reference remains a potent force within educational debate. This paper voices some of the dilemmas of practice emergent in two Australian educators’ everyday work through exploration of some new spaces of possibility within this complex domain. The inspiration for the inquiry is the practical dilemmas that arise for tertiary educators when they consider and plan to teach Indigenous perspectives in their classrooms. Through observation and surveys with Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian tertiary educators experiences, beliefs and practices about teaching Indigenous perspectives are presented. Firstly, this paper reveals the diverse range of ways that tertiary educators individually include Indigenous perspectives in teaching and learning. In addition, this research applies contemporary debates in art, and artworks as a metaphoric representation of dilemmas encountered in tertiary pedagogy to examine current educator perceptions and engage with what Nakata terms “the cultural interface” (Cultural Interface). Finally, moving beyond a conversational dialogue, this paper invites a re-thinking of tertiary educational space, as a possible site of multiplicity that is not preoccupied with the differences of meaning between Indigenous and non-Indigenous worlds of knowledge and experience. Rather it is a space that recognises dilemmas and convergences of knowledge in relation to content and pedagogy.
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