Teachers’ Attitudes to Including Indigenous Knowledges in the Australian Science Curriculum
Keywords:national curriculum, curriculum implementation, teacher attitudes, Aboriginal knowledge, science education, social justice
With the introduction of the Australian National Curriculum containing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures Cross-Curriculum Priority (CCP) and Intercultural Understanding General Capability, there has been a renewed push to embed Indigenous content into secondary school subjects. This paper considers the attitudes and beliefs of a group of secondary school science teachers to the current imperative to include Indigenous knowledges and perspectives in classroom practice. Through a Participatory Action Research (PAR) cycle, teachers contextualised and conceptualised the CCP in terms of social justice, pedagogy, and student engagement. The PAR process allowed them to develop a personal and intellectual engagement prior to attempting to teach Indigenous knowledges in their classrooms. Teacher attitudes and beliefs are identified in terms of their vision of a science education inclusive of Indigenous content, their hopes for the inclusions and the impediments they perceive to implementation in classroom practice. Allowing teachers the opportunity to engage in meaningful dialogue resulted in the articulation of a path forward for their teaching practice that aligned with their political and social justice concerns.
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