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Monday, 16 June 2014

Building up momentum

This week has been a bit of big week already (and it's Tuesday). Yesterday, someone new came on to the Indigenous Curriculum Team @ USQ and already what we are doing seems to have built up to a new pace. It is very exciting ... she is fab, and hopefully the whole will be greater than the sum of the parts .. or that's what I think might happen. Certainly, it is great to have another brain to bounce ideas off.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Enhancing what we do through 8 ways Indigenous Pedagogy

@ USQ we have begun to gather our resources and explore approaches that can be used by staff to Indigenise the curriculum. This process is part of a much larger one to enhance the Indigenous cultural competence of staff and students with a view to producing graduates who work in the Indigenous domain in different, more culturally inclusive ways. For guidance in this, we have looked toward the Universities Australia National Best Practice Framework for Indigenous Cultural Competency  which has provided us with a framework and starting points to work from.
One thing we have been very conscience of is that as we moved toward 'embedding Indigenous content and perspectives across our curriculm', we don't fall in to a trap of being tokenistic re the idea that the inclusion of content equates to the enhancement of cultural competence. Therefore, we have wanted to make sure that while providing directions around content, we are simultaneously giving staff opportunities to increase their understanding of the contexts and begin to think about not only 'content' but knowledge construction; unpack their own values and attitudes and ultimately begin to challenge the ethnocentrism of their discipline areas.  

In this vein, this year we have offered staff the opportunity to engage in 8 ways Indigenous Pedagogy Training 8ways.wikispaces. As 8ways indicates in the training materials

The 8 ways of Aboriginal pedagogy framework demonstrates how to teach through culture, rather than about culture’

Staff have found it a really accessible way to begin thinking about how they could make changes to their content and what they do. I've included a quick snapshot of the training below to give an idea of our experiences.


Blogging, like, this is so much harder than talking

Just a quick disclaimer to start but the thoughts and opinions that I write here are just mine, and don't represent USQ per se... now getting down to business.

One of the things that I do routinely as part of my job is talk, talk, talk. Anybody, that works in Indigenous education knows that relationships are the core of 'things working well' and mostly those relationships seem to have their roots in sitting and have a 'yarn'. In my case, I add in a coffee if I can.

But sitting here and talking in the abstract to (myself?) an unseen 'audience' feels a lot more difficult.
However, the idea of connecting to 'others' that are working in the area of Indigenous Curriculum and Pedagogy, has an enormous appeal. Recently, I was blessed to make contact with a contemporary from another Australian University  and was blown away by what she and her team had been doing. And, although the humble steps that we have made @ USQ seemed negligible next to what they were doing, I was surprised to find that I could offer her some interesting links in return.

So, I embark on trying to link to my contemporaries in an effort to learn from the remarkable things they are doing and in turn, to share with them anything they might learn from me.

(big breath)