Research explores alternative approach to Indigenous education

Dr Tracy Woodroffe
Charles Darwin University’s Dr Tracy Woodroffe beleives there should be an alternative approach to improving Indigenous student outcomes

Research by the Northern Institute at Charles Darwin University’s Dr Tracy Woodroffe suggests a cultural shift is required to improve educational outcomes for Indigenous students.

The research published in AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples explores enhanced Indigenous student outcomes through improved teacher education.

An experienced Indigenous educator, Dr Woodroffe believes the strategies required relate to the need for a cultural shift within the current Australian education system.

She describes an alternative approach to improving Indigenous student outcomes, expressed through the views of Indigenous educators.

“The research demonstrates how connections between Westernised education systems and knowledge of Indigenous educators provide a locus of potential for the improved educational outcomes of Indigenous students,” Dr Woodroffe said.

“Indigenous educators’ knowledge about teaching and their specialist knowledge about Indigenous content place them in a position of epistemological privilege.

“The vehicle for change in the interests of Indigenous students is teacher education, and the driving force of untapped potential is Indigenous educators.”

Dr Woodroffe asked other Indigenous educators and teachers if they thought it was important to include Indigenous knowledge in pre-service teacher education.

The respondents detailed how Indigenous teachers and students use Indigenous knowledge in their day-to-day lives and pointed to the benefits in the school environment.

In addition, the Indigenous educators were emphatic that all teachers should recognise the importance of Indigenous knowledge in Australian social and environmental contexts.

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