There are some significant issues which need to be considered in the incorporation of Indigenous content within undergraduate programs, including:
Aunty Beryl Philp Carmichael, Ngiyeempaa Elder
This section of the guidelines suggests some starting points, depending on where your program sits along this continuum.
Existing content may be included as separate topics, small modules or components within existing subjects within the program or as separate 'stand-alone' subjects offered within the program. A mapping exercise including a survey across all staff teaching subjects within the program should enable you to determine the nature and extent of existing Indigenous Australian content and identify the subjects in which student knowledge and understanding of this content is currently being assessed. The following steps are suggested to assist Schools and Faculties establish the degree of Indigenous content offered within their programs:
As indicated elsewhere, there are a range of strategies for including Indigenous Australian content, including the provision of 'stand-alone' subjects dealing specifically with Indigenous Australian Studies, courses which include large amounts of Indigenous content integrated within areas such as 'cross-cultural psychology' and the inclusion of Indigenous content as topics or modules within existing subjects. As noted elsewhere, there are some significant benefits in the establishment of stand-alone subjects which provide a focussed background to Indigenous studies, linking the content quite specifically to the discipline area. Many universities already offer similar subjects within other professional areas (education, nursing and health sciences, social work, etc.). It may be useful to explore whether such subjects already exist within CSU and, if so, whether a similar subject could be made available to your students. For example, the Centre for Indigenous Studies offers a number of stand-alone Indigenous Australian subjects including IKC101 Aboriginal Cultures, Histories and Contemporary Realities, IKC100 Aboriginal Health and THL225 Aboriginal Spirituality and Culture which are designed to provide the contextual framework required by the Cultural Competency Pedagogical Framework
Models for Incorporating Indigenous Australian Content
Indigenous Australian Studies provides contextual foundation for integrated discipline specific Indigenous content in remainder of program.
Developmental model of cultural competence
click on the image to view a larger version of the model
Please view the video below by Jessica Biles a Lecturer in Nursing, Midwifery and Indigenous Health at Charles Sturt University.
Jessica talks about Teaching Cultural Competence and providing opportunities for its development using Cassie's Story.
Effective interaction with Indigenous people requires an understanding of Indigenous world views as well as how historical and contemporary events have impacted and continue to impact on Indigenous social and emotional well-being. A deep understanding of these impacts requires empathy and emotional engagement, not just an intellectual analysis. This is particularly important because without the ability to empathise a good relationship cannot develop, and in the Indigenous context a personal trusting relationship is essential for effective interaction.
While conventional forms of assessment, such as exams and essays, may assess the understanding of world views and empathy to some extent, most academics working in this area recommend that the choice of assessment strategies, much like the choice of curriculum content and pedagogical strategy, take into account Indigenous perspectives on learning and understanding. How can this be done?
Effective assessment tasks tend to engage and challenge students in the learning process and develop skills and knowledge, These tasks tend to be authentic, have explicit expectations, give constructive and timely feedback, and encourage self-assessment. The assessable elements of a task need to be aligned with the subject outcomes.
There are many strategies that can be used when assessing student outcomes in relation to Indigenous knowledge and understandings. It is important to use a mixture of strategies that go deeper than simply knowing some facts about Indigenous peoples, and which allow students to see interrelationships and cultural contexts, and to actively engage them in affective, as well as cognitive, ways of knowing. Affective teaching and learning strategies allow students to engage with and develop an understanding of their own motivations, attitudes, behaviours, and roles as professionals. There are many strategies that can be used to achieve these types of knowing, and a few of these are mentioned below. Your school-based educational designer will also be able to help you to explore and design appropriate assessments.
Keeping a journal in which students write regularly (preferably weekly) enables them to identify their emotional and personal as well as intellectual responses, and tracks the development of understanding as they progress through the subject and course. Requiring the students to maintain a weekly journal is also a way of optimising continuing engagement with the subject. The use of ePortfolios and in particular the software Pebblepad would assist in this level of engagement. Using ePortfolios provides more responsibility and control over individual learning development, making it an excellent tool for lifelong learning as it encourages regular review and reflection on learning and personal development.
Since many of the important issues concerning Indigenous people have complex origins, often going back many generations, a deep understanding of the issues requires more than the ability perform under alien exam conditions. Therefore, reasonably lengthy essays are another valuable form of assessment, since they enable the students to go into some depth about the issues and to make links between historical and contemporary events and their consequences. The essay questions can be written in such a way that they require extensive reading and reflection to answer them adequately.
Setting a case study as an assignment can be very effective. Engagement at this level is critical. For example, the students select a topic of contemporary interest (such as Indigenous mental health and well-being), undertake a literature review, contact relevant Indigenous and other organisations (either in person or by accessing websites) to find out current policy and practice, and integrate the data into suggestions for the role of psychological theory and/or practice in addressing the issue. As educators we are then approaching the learning experience in a way that allows the student to make links with the content and their personal experience in the context of their emerging professional practice.
Assessment tasks set in a 'real life' context tend to be more cognitively complex and interesting for students. These tasks also aid in the development of skills that have value beyond the assessment task itself. For example, a student may need to write a submission for a Senate Committee Inquiry as one of the Indigenous stakeholders. To complete this task a student would need to be able to research the issue which may require contacting relevant Indigenous groups and develop empathy with the stakeholder. The Inquiry could also be run as a role play.
Another example could be that you have been invited by members of an Indigenous community to speak at a meeting about what can be done to encourage greater use of the community health facilities. An analysis of a community could be provided and students would need to apply what they have learned to the situation.
These tasks can be designed to challenge a non-Indigenous student's world-view and to open up a discussion about the importance of Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing and the validity of using such knowledge and methods in moving forward.
Wicked problems are complex problems that often do not have one solution. Many social and cultural issues such as improving the health of Indigenous people, tend to be wicked problems as they involve a series of complex intertwined relationships (social, cultural, political, economic and others) where information may not be complete, requirements change from community to community and the problem itself is the symptom of another problem. Rittel and Webber (1973) describe the ten characteristics of such problems. Confronting students with these types of problems allows them to broaden their understanding of Indigenous issues and to develop strategies to deal with such issues in their professional lives.
Field trips or culture-immersion programs are potentially very valuable provided they are delivered appropriately and sensitively. These activities place the theory in context, facilitate the transfer of knowledge and influence student attitude and motivation. Students can be exposed to the multidimensional nature of issues. The interactions between people and the modelling that occurs during a field trip and cultural experience are also important considerations.
Many Indigenous organisations, community or art centres or Indigenous galleries at museums can provide guided tours for groups of students, or can provide guided tours to important local Indigenous sites. More extended field trips, involving overnight stays, can be very beneficial, particularly if they provide an opportunity for students to interact with Indigenous community members in an informal context. An increasing number of cultural tours or camps are being provided by Indigenous communities across the country, providing opportunities for these kinds of experiences.
The use of placements in Indigenous contexts can also be a valuable strategy for de-mystifying organisations and situations.
The key elements to a successful field trip and cultural experience are the use of research to construct meaningful learning experiences, assessment processes and the evaluation of these activities. All these elements need to be constructively aligned with the outcomes of the subject.
The Sub-Deans (Learning and Teaching) are currently working with the School of Indigenous Studies and the Division of Learning and Teaching on models of best practice that includes both assessment and Indigenous Curriculum and pedagogy which will be a vital resource to academic staff.
Established by the Arts Law Centre of Australia (Arts Law) in 2004 in response to the needs of the Indigenous arts community, Artists in the Black (AITB) is a legal service for Indigenous artists, communities and arts organisations. The service aims to:
Taken from the AITB website, Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP) refers to all of the rights that Indigenous people want to have so that they can protect and control the use of their arts and culture. The idea of ICIP is based on the principle of self-determination and includes the following rights:
The Artists in the Black (AITB) service has many resources available to the public, including:
Australian intellectual property laws only protect some forms of ICIP. Australian laws only protect individuals and do not recognize any communal rights. In Australia, the law protects: