Recognising change and seeking affirmation: themes for embedding Indigenous knowledges on teaching practicum


  • Julie McLaughlin Queensland University of Technology
  • Susan L. Whatman Griffith University


preservice teacher education, Indigenous knowledges, pedagogical relationships, cultural interface, Australia


The imperative for Indigenous education in Australia is influenced by national political, social and economic discourses as Australian education systems continue to grapple with an agreed aspiration of full participation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.  Innovations within and policies guiding our education systems are often driven by agendas of reconciliation, equity, equality in participation and social justice.  In this paper, we discuss key themes that emerged from a recent Australian Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT) research project which investigated ways in which preservice teachers from one Australian university embedded Indigenous knowledges (IK) on teaching practicum.  Using a phenomenological approach, the case involved 25 preservice teacher and 23 practicum supervisor participants, over a 30 month investigation. Attention was directed to the nature of subjective (lived) experiences of participants in these pedagogical negotiations and thus preservice and supervising teacher voice was actively sought in naming and analysing these experiences.  Findings revealed that change, knowledge, help and affirmation were key themes for shaping discourses around Indigenous knowledges and perspectives in the Australian curriculum and defined the nature of the pedagogical relationships between novice and experienced teachers. We focus particularly on the need for change and affirmation by preservice teachers and their teaching practicum supervisors as they developed their pedagogical relationships whilst embedding Indigenous knowledges in learning and teaching.