An analysis of education academics' attitudes and preconceptions about Indigenous Knowledges in initial teacher education


  • Melitta Hogarth University of Melbourne



Indigenous Knowledges, initial teacher education, academic attitudes


For more than 20 years, there has been effort made within primary and secondary classrooms and curricula to include Indigenous peoples’ perspectives. This has been met with mixed reactions from classroom teachers. Initial teacher education academics and providers have also been slow to implement and transform their teaching and learning despite the shift in policy rhetoric. This paper reports on a small pilot study conducted at a Queensland university exploring how academics perceive the inclusion of Indigenous Knowledges within both institutional and professional contexts and initial teacher education programs. Findings varied, however, they generally indicate a lack of institutional and individual responsibility to embed Indigenous Knowledges in initial teacher education. The paper argues for the urgency for change and the need for non-Indigenous academics and initial teacher education providers to begin critical conversations about how Indigenous Knowledges are being silenced within their current practices, and ways in which they can do better.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Melitta Hogarth, University of Melbourne

Melitta Hogarth is an Aboriginal academic whose Kamilaroi family is from the Goondiwindi district, Queensland. She is currently the Assistant Dean (Indigenous) and a Senior Research Fellow in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne. Her PhD, completed in 2018, was awarded both the QUT and Faculty of Education Outstanding Thesis Awards, as well as the Ray Debus Award for Doctoral Research in Education.


Adler, S. (1991). The reflective practitioner and the curriculum of teacher education. Journal of Education for Teaching, 17(2), 139–150. DOI:

Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2017). 4221.0 – Schools, Australia, 2016. Retrieved from

Australian Council of Deans. (2017). Professional experience in initial teacher education: A review of current practices in Australian ITE.

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). (2015a). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures.

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). (2015b). Australian Curriculum v 8.3.

Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL). (2011). Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.

Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL). (2014). Australian Professional Standard for Principals.

Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL). (2020). Indigenous cultural competency in the Australian teaching workforce: Discussion paper.

Beresford, Q. (2012). Separate and unequal: An outline of Aboriginal education 1900–1996. In G. Partington & Q. Beresford (Eds.), Reform and resistance in Aboriginal education (pp. 85–119). UWA Publishing.

Blommaert, J., & Bulcaen, C. (2000). Critical discourse analysis. Annual Review of Anthropology, 29, 447–466. DOI:

Booth, S. (2014). Teaching Aboriginal curriculum content in Australian high schools [Master thesis]. Edith Cowan University.

Education Council. (2019). Alice Springs (Mparntwe) Education Declaration. Retrieved from

Fairclough, N. (2001). The discourse of new labour: Critical discourse analysis. In M. Wetherell, S. Taylor, & S. Yates (Eds.), Discourse as data: A guide for analysis (pp. 229–266). Sage and the Open University.

Fairclough, N. (2013). Language and power (3rd ed.). Longman. DOI:

Ferreira, M. L. (2013). The UN declaration on the rights of Indigenous peoples. In M. L. Ferreira (Ed.), Acting for Indigenous rights: Theatre to change the world (pp. 7–14). University of Minnesota Human Rights Center.

Finlay, L. (2008). Reflecting on “reflective practice”. The Open University.

Gillborn, D., & Ladson-Billings, G. (2010). Education and critical race theory. In M. W. Apple, S. J. Ball & L. A. Gandin (Eds.), The Routledge international handbook of the sociology of education (pp. 37–47). Routledge. DOI:

Harrison, N., & Greenfield, M. (2011). Relationship to place: Positioning Aboriginal knowledge and perspectives in classroom pedagogies. Critical Studies in Education, 52(1), 65–76. DOI:

Hasluck, P. (1961). The policy of assimilation: Decisions of commonwealth and state ministers at the Native Welfare Conference, Canberra. A. J. Arthur, Commonwealth Government Printer.

Henry, M., Lingard, B., Rizvi, F., & Taylor, S. (2013). Educational policy and the politics of change. Taylor and Francis. DOI:

Hogarth, M. (2017). Speaking back to the deficit discourses: A theoretical and methodological approach. Australian Educational Researcher, 44(1), 21–34. DOI:

Hogarth, M. (2018). Addressing the rights of Indigenous peoples in education: A critical analysis of Indigenous education policy [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. The University of Queensland.

Hogarth, M. (2020). Research-informed teacher learning as professional practice. In L. Beckett (Ed.), Research-informed teacher learning: Critical perspectives on theory, research and practice (pp. 1–11). Routledge. DOI:

Ma Rhea, Z., Anderson, P., & Atkinson, B. (2012). Improving teaching in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education: Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership.

McLaughlin, J. M., & Whatman, S. L. (2007). Embedding Indigenous perspectives in university teaching and learning: Lessons learnt and possibilities of reforming / decolonising curriculum [Conference presentation]. 4th International Conference on Indigenous Education: Asia/ Pacific, Vancouver, Canada.

Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA). (2000). Achieving educational equality for Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA). (2006). Australian directions in Indigenous education 2005–2008.

Nakata, M. (2007). Disciplining the savages, savaging the disciplines. Aboriginal Studies Press.

Paltridge, B. (2013). Critical discourse analysis. In K. Hyland (Ed.), Discourse analysis reader: Essential excerpts (pp. 89–109). Bloomsbury.

Partington, G. (1998). In those days it was that rough: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and education. In G. Partington (Ed.), Perspectives on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education (pp. 27–54). Social Science Press.

Referendum Council. (2017). Uluru Statement from the Heart.

Rigney, L-I. (1999). Internationalization of an Indigenous anticolonial cultural critique of research methodologies: A guide to Indigenist research methodology and its principles. Wíčazo Ša Review, 14(2), 109–121. DOI:

Schools Commission. (1975). Schools Commission report for the triennium 1976–1978: Education for Aborigines. Aboriginal Child at School, 3(3), 42–54. DOI:

Shipp, C. (2013). Bringing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives into the classroom: Why and how. Literacy Learning: The Middle Years, 21(3), 24.

Sims, M. (2011). Early childhood and education services for Indigenous children prior to starting school. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, and Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group. (2014). Action now: Classroom ready teachers.

Townsend-Cross, M. (2018). Difficult knowledge and uncomfortable pedagogies: Student perceptions and experiences of teaching and learning in Critical Indigenous Australian Studies [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. University of Technology Sydney.

Universities Australia. (2017). Indigenous Strategy 2017–2020.

Williamson, J., & Dalal, P. (2007). Indigenising the curriculum or negotiating the tensions at the cultural interface? Embedding Indigenous perspectives and pedagogies in a university curriculum. The Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 36, 51–58. DOI:

Wodak, R., & Meyer, M. (2009). Critical discourse analysis: History, agenda, theory and methodology. Methods of Critical Discourse Analysis, 2, 1–33.




How to Cite

Hogarth, M. (2022). An analysis of education academics’ attitudes and preconceptions about Indigenous Knowledges in initial teacher education. The Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 51(2).