Learning / Knowledge Systems Theme
Presented by Dr Mary O’Dowd
University of Tasmania
The workshop names and discusses a teaching position for non-Indigenous (NI) scholars working in education in setter-coloniser lands (where the colonisers have not gone home) through an exploration of the power of colonial knowledge-thought systems. It notes that Culturally Responsive Pedagogies (CRP) are important to engagement of Indigenous students but argues that unless the NI knowledge-cultural biases are interrogated there cannot be educational justice to sovereign people. The workshop provides insight into how NI educators can embrace responsibility to sovereign people in their pedagogy by interrogating NI knowledge traditions and their biases in the cultural interface where both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students are educated as part of a Culturally Just Pedagogy (CJP). It uses the Australian Standards for Teachers (1.4 & 2.4) as an example of NI knowledge-culture interface bias. The workshop explores NI biases and the implications these biases indicate for responsibilities and roles of NI educators in mixed classrooms with Indigenous and non-Indigenous (NI) students. It illustrates how the NI knowledge-cultural interface acts as a hidden hegemonic pedagogy and epistemology that is destructive to educational/ social justice for Indigenous students (and of course destructive to a necessary awareness of justice for NI students who live in settler-colonial contexts).
Dr Mary O’Dowd
Coming from an Irish background to Australia I have been privileged to have been educated by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in remote communities, rural and urban contexts and also for a short time at Bachelor in the NT. Via experiences in the community I have come to academia as a non-indigenous scholar focusing now on exploring how NI people can be respectful & responsible educators and citizens in settler-colonial contexts where sovereignty must be ethic-ised and edu-cised. I wish to more effectively theorise the implications of the interface of place, history and hegemony for a just and ethical education in classrooms with Indigenous and non-Indigenous (NI) students, where Indigenous students may be a minority, a majority or even when Indigenous students may not be physically present. These are different contexts and require particular pedagogical approaches: this NI place of knowledge and cultural interface. NI educators in settler-coloniser contexts with sovereign peoples have both an ethical and educational role with responsibilities to both communities. I am interested in more effective ways of being in this place which I label as a Cultural and Knowledge Interface where non-Indigenous or Indigenous positions and meet.