‘New localism’ in Australian schools: Country as Teacher as a critical pedagogy of place

Article


Spillman, David, Wilson, Ben, Nixon, Monty and McKinnon, Katharine. 2023. "‘New localism’ in Australian schools: Country as Teacher as a critical pedagogy of place." Curriculum Perspectives. 43 (2), pp. 103-114. https://doi.org/10.1007/s41297-023-00201-2
Article Title

‘New localism’ in Australian schools: Country as Teacher as a critical pedagogy of place

ERA Journal ID20579
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsSpillman, David, Wilson, Ben, Nixon, Monty and McKinnon, Katharine
Journal TitleCurriculum Perspectives
Journal Citation43 (2), pp. 103-114
Number of Pages12
Year2023
PublisherSpringer
Place of PublicationAustralia
ISSN0159-7868
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1007/s41297-023-00201-2
Web Address (URL)https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s41297-023-00201-2
Abstract

This article reports on phasetwo of our school-based Country as Teacher research, focusing on teacher’s learning and experiences through their efforts to enact Country as Teacher curriculum and pedagogy with students in ACT schools. Cultivating their own practices of reciprocal Relating with Country (Phase 1, see Spillman, Wilson, Nixon & McKinnon, 2022) prepares teachers to enact Country as Teacher with students. A yarning circle focus group and semi-structured interviews were again used to unpack teacher’s reflections and learnings regarding their attempts to enact Country as Teacher curriculum and pedagogies through units of work. Due to major disruptions in schooling caused by a long COVID lockdown, during Term Three 2021, participation in data collection for Phase 2 of the Country as Teacher research was on a voluntary basis. Thirteen of the original twenty-six teachers offered to participate. Despite the COVID disruptions, many teachers felt that the high levels of student engagement with Country as Teacher, expressions of wellness through these experiences, and the emergence of inquiry approaches, conferred ‘permission’ to continue enacting these pedagogies in their day-to-day teaching and learning, even when perceived not to be a direct enactment of the Australian Curriculum. This flagged a clear theme in the qualitative data, of teacher’s growing desire to enact a ‘moral imperative’, to ‘do it for the students’. Teacher’s own experiences Relating with Country were also deemed essential to the motivation and courage necessary to enact Country as Teacher pedagogies. This formative research suggests that high levels of student engagement motivated teachers to reinterpret systemic accountabilities and imperatives. We propose that in this way, among others discussed below, Country as Teacher operated as a ‘critical pedagogy of place.’.

KeywordsCountry as Teacher; Relating with Country; Australian Curriculum; Critical pedagogy of place
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020390101. Creative arts, media and communication curriculum and pedagogy
390104. English and literacy curriculum and pedagogy (excl. LOTE, ESL and TESOL)
Byline AffiliationsUniversity of Canberra
College for First Nations
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https://research.usq.edu.au/item/z26y0/-new-localism-in-australian-schools-country-as-teacher-as-a-critical-pedagogy-of-place

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