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Course philosophy and terminology

How does this course approach indigenous content? In this article, Dr Hedda Askland explains decolonial pedagogy as it's applied in this course.
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How to approach this course

We’ve intended to create an online course experience that is a bit different to most you might’ve encountered in the past.

The teaching team are guided by a decolonial teaching and learning philosophy. In other words, we view education as a tool for empowerment and confronting injustice. To achieve this end, we have done our best to decenter dominant groups—eg, Western voices—in favour of making space for marginalised voices and experiences, like those of indigenous peoples.

However, decolonial teaching isn’t just about the content, it is also about encouraging teachers and learners—that means you—to ask critical questions of the teaching itself. This means, even if there is no prompt for you to answer below a video or an article, I encourage you to interrogate it critically—to question what you’re being told.

A safe and welcoming space

Above all, decolonial teaching recognises that you all have your own voices, experiences and histories that you carry into this course. The course team will do their best to ensure that each page is an open discussion space where you’re made welcome to share these experiences and knowledges. We encourage you, where you’re comfortable, to draw on this rich tapestry of knowledge to answer the questions posed throughout the learning journey! By doing so, the course will be made all the richer.

A note on terminology

In this course, we follow the terminology guidelines outlined by the Australian Human Rights Commission. That is, we will not capitalise indigenous unless referring to Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia. We also strive to use “peoples” instead of people to highlight the diversity of indigenous ethnicities, languages, and cultural practices.

Keep in mind, best practice is to refer to the specific name of the indigenous people if possible, eg Darkinjung people.


Do you have questions about the teaching approach and terminology we’re using in this course, or would like more information? Please use the discussion space below to pose these questions.
© The University of Newcastle, Australia
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