Caring for Country Inside the Illegal Clearing: A Survey of Aboriginal Teacher Educators’ Work in Australian Teacher Education Programs

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Jakobi, Matthew ORCID: 0000-0002-2565-4671 (2020) Caring for Country Inside the Illegal Clearing: A Survey of Aboriginal Teacher Educators’ Work in Australian Teacher Education Programs. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


The more recent inclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander societies in the Commonwealth of Australia’s curriculum and pedagogical frameworks has marked Australian teacher education programs as sites for achieving nation- building agendas and social justice imperatives. Whilst well-intentioned, the programmers and the programming of Australian teacher education have historically proven to be ill-equipped when teaching Aboriginal worldviews and standpoints and have sought the expertise of Aboriginal teacher educators to design, teach, and assess new compulsory studies in Aboriginal education. Yarning with five other Aboriginal teacher educators about teaching inside the still-illegal settler colonial architecture of the Australian university, my thesis surveys the Faculty of Education spaces we currently occupy using sovereign and self-determining standpoints as compass directions. Located at the place where the foundational logics of the Australian university meets with a much older way of knowing Country, Aboriginal teacher educators encounter a range of territorial disputes concerning the legitimacy to own the body of Aboriginal knowledge written across Australian teacher education. My thesis stories how we are applying the First Laws of Country to the programming of Australian teacher education in ways that disrupt the structural organisation of faculty whilst preparing its population/s for a new relationship that recognises the continuing and ongoing sovereignty of Aboriginal societies. Making public the violent curricular, pedagogical, and administrative trajectories resulting from the original dispossession and ongoing settler colonial occupation, the localised Aboriginal work unsettles the relationships teaching has with the everchanging settler colonial project, decolonising the one-nation landscape of Australian teacher education and indigenising returned and repatriated physical and intellectual territories. The endpoint political work of Aboriginal teacher educators is situated on an uncertain timeline, co-existing with a faculty grammar that is determined to close the gap between Aboriginal and Australian societies. My yarning with other Aboriginal teacher educators offers little reprieve for those currently located in these faculty spaces and instead describes the forever business of teaching across settled and unsettled times and places of promised change and delayed transformation, working with and against the structural obstructions of settler colonialism.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education
Current > Division/Research > College of Arts and Education
Keywords Australia; teacher education; teaching; curriculum; Education - Teachers - Teacher education; Education - Skills and curriculum
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