GROUNDING INDIGENOUS SCIENCE IN A FOUNDATIONAL UNIT: A PANDEMIC EXPERIENCE

Reva Ramiah, Brenda Rohl, Tracey Kickett, Alison Blyth, Vanessa Corunna, Anthony Kickett, Fred Yasso

Abstract


In order to commit to Reconciliation Action Plans (RAP), Australian universities have been instituting Indigenous content into their programs (Nakata, Nakata, Keech & Bolt, 2012; Universities Australia, 2011). The rationale behind the RAP in tertiary institutions is not only to educate future graduates about the history, culture and contemporary reality of Indigenous peoples, but also to address racism, prejudice and bigotry with the aim of cultural change amongst students and staff (Reconciliation Australia, 2020). Universities, by tradition, have been bastions for the propagation of Eurocentric knowledge as the universal construct (Le Grange, 2019), and higher education curriculum continues to privilege and perpetuate Eurocentric ways of seeing and being, at the cost of other ways of making knowledge (Harvey & Russell-Mundine, 2019). This includes higher education science curriculum as reflected in the Threshold Learning Outcomes for Science (Australian Teaching and Learning Council, 2011). Therefore, there is hardly any opportunity for science students at university to explore other epistemic and ontological foundations of science. This presentation will discuss lessons learnt with respect to curriculum development in implementing and delivering a foundational Indigenous science unit during the pandemic.

We wish to acknowledge the contributions of our following colleagues: David Cusack, Anibeth Desierto, Sonia Ferns, Robyn Heckenberg, Anthony Kickett, Marion Kickett, Leanda Mason, Peter Newman, Emma Pearson, Chris Rawson, Kim Scott, Rae-Lee Warner and Fred Yasso.

REFERENCES

Australian Teaching and Learning Council. (2011). Learning and Teaching Academic Standards Project: Science Learning and Teaching Academic Standards Statement. N.S.W., Australia.
Harvey, A. & Russell-Mundine, G. (2019). Decolonising the curriculum: using graduate qualities to embed Indigenous knowledges at the academic cultural interface. Teaching in Higher Education, 24(6), 789-808. Retrieved June 8, 2020, from https://doi.org/10.1080/13562517.2018.1508131
Le Grange, L. (2019). The Curriculum Case for Decolonisation. In Jansen J. (Ed.), Decolonisation in Universities: The politics of knowledge (pp. 29-48). Johannesburg: Wits University Press. Retrieved June 10, 2020, from www.jstor.org/stable/10.18772/22019083351.7
Nakata, M., Nakata, V., Keech, S., & Bolt, R. (2012). Decolonial goals and pedagogies for Indigenous studies. Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education and Society, 1, 120–140.
Reconciliation Australia. (2020). Retrieved June 8, 2020, from https://www.reconciliation.org.au/
Universities Australia. (2011). National Best Practice Framework for Indigenous Cultural Competency in Australian Universities. Retrieved June 8, 2020, from https://www.universitiesaustralia.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/National-Best-Practice-Framework-for-Indigenous-Cultural-Competency-in-Australian-Universities-1.pdf

Keywords


Indigenous Science, science education, Reconciliation

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