Knowledge & World Views in the Critical Classroom: A journey of on-going inquiry

These notes are to accompany a lecture given on 31st August, 2009 for pre-service education students enrolled in EDB007 Culture Studies: Indigenous Education (mid-semester) at Queensland University of Technology. This post can be conjunction with the slides on slideshare.net/leesawatego

So far in this semester, students have explored concepts such as standpoint, epistemologies, the power & privelege of knowledge.

In this lecture we expand these concepts, but also include the idea of the critical classroom & inquiry to highlight the importance understanding & incorporating different knowledges and world views into your practice.

In the past I’ve regularly used a quote by Patricia GraceĀ about the impact of book on Indigenous readers. She states:

“books can be dangerous to Indigenous readers if they

  • do not reinforce our values, actions, customs, culture and identity;
  • when they tell us only about others they are saying that we do not exist;
  • they may be writing about us but are writing things which are untrue; &
  • they are writing about us but saying negative and insensitive things which tell us we are not good.”

Re-reading this quote this morning, I’ve realised that above is most certainly true, but less true in a critical classroom. In a critical classroom, you’re not just interested in “what the knowledge says” but “how did we get that knowledge in the first place”.

A critical classroom expects a constant tenor of inquiry that questions and reflects on what is written/said, who wrote/said it and why.

Many parents of Indigenous children in Australian clasrooms do not see this idea of the critical classroom in practice. For many parents, the singing of the national anthem & the flag is problematic. In addition, many schools in Australia still only have a single flagpole (for the Australian flag).

What impact (for better & for worse) does our world view have on our education practice? How can we “alter” our practice to make it more effective?

Two examples in the key learning areas of art/SOSE and science show that it is possible to incorporate different ways of seeing into the everyday classroom, not just at NAIDOC week.

Some links for your PLN

(Originally published on InquiryBites blog on August 31, 2009)