Reinvigorating Country as teacher in Australian schooling: beginning with school teacher’s direct experiences, ‘relating with Country’

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The Country as Teacher research project was a formative exploration of how Indigenous pedagogies might be taken-up as part of mainstream schooling for all Australian students. This paper reports on the first phase where participant teachers were guided and supported, through professional learning, to initiate their own ‘relating with Country’ practice. A Country as teacher pedagogy is enacted through cultivating the practice of reciprocal ‘relating with Country’, resulting in gratitude and learning about, from and how to care for the places we live. Enacting Country as Teacher in school-based curriculum operates as a ‘critical pedagogy of place’, contesting Eurocentric epistemic power in Australian curriculum, to provide a balanced ‘both ways’ education for all. We argue that for teachers to be able to appropriately facilitate Country as teacher pedagogies with students, they must first cultivate their own practice of ‘relating with Country’. In this paper, we examine the stories of 26 teachers in Canberra public schools as they develop their practice of relating with Country. These stories highlight the process, and participant’s challenges and successes. This paper contributes to foundational knowledge and experience for the uptake of Country as teacher pedagogies in Australian schools. Our emerging findings suggest that the practice of ‘relating with Country’ is within the reach of all teachers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalCurriculum Perspectives
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Nov 2022

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