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Adam Grover

Year of Award: 2017 Award State: Tasmania Education > Indigenous
The Gallaugher Bequest Churchill Fellowship to investigate First Nations curriculum and pedagogy and apply the findings in the Tasmanian context - New Zealand, USA, Canada, Finland

Over the last decade there has been an emerging realisation of the central role of education and educators in enhancing Australia’s ability to achieve meaningful reconciliation between Australia’s First and Second Nations. This report provides an overview of a Churchill Fellowship undertaken in May-June 2018 which seeks to address and affirm the contribution of education in an internationally comparative context. The Fellowship provided for a detailed examination of contemporary best practice in First Nations curriculum and pedagogy in New Zealand, the United States, Canada, and Finland. This report critically reviews the experiences of educators, policy makers, students and Indigenous peoples in New Zealand, Canada, the United States of America and Finland as they engage with challenges and successes of creating and sustaining First Nations voice and agency in classrooms, staffrooms, conference rooms, playgrounds and lecture halls. The report outlines the key elements of best practice in the four countries visited and further provides a specific set of specific recommendations as to how to reflect international best practice in First Nations education in Australia. The report finds that best practice falls within three domains:

1. Government commitment to First Nations peoples
2. A practical and funded commitment to the four pillars of First Nations education, the four pillars being:
    - Pillar One: Curriculum Reform
    - Pillar Two: School and Teacher Capacity Building
    - Pillar Three: Collaborative Partnerships with First Nations Families, Elders and Communities
    - Pillar Four: Culturally Responsive Pedagogy
3. Societal Support for First Nations

Further success in Indigenous education rests on three Throughlines – Language, Treaty and Restitution.

This report will be distributed to Australian Educators in the field of First Nations Studies, will form the basis of a conference paper, as well as being forwarded to the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). While this report stands alone, it should form the basis for further work in establishing explicit, measurable and attainable goals for improving Indigenous education reform in Australia. Specifically and more broadly as forming a modest, but important supporting mechanism to achieving makaratta, ‘the coming together after a struggle’.

Keywords: First Nations, First Peoples, Indigenous, Aboriginal, curriculum, pedagogy, identity, treaty, reconciliation, school, teacher, learner, student, self-determination

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