The importance of including Indigenous knowledge in pre-service teacher education
Dr Tracy Woodroffe
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.