Post-Colonial and Indigenous Approaches to Education

Unit code: AEK7002 | Study level: Postgraduate
(Generally, 1 credit = 10 hours of classes and independent study.)
Footscray Nicholson
Online Real Time


This unit examines theoretical concepts informing Indigenous and postcolonial approaches to culturally responsive education, training, and research.  A historical and critical review of invader-coloniser educational philosophies and norms provides students with a capacity to evaluate national empire building and the production of colonial identities in compulsory schooling, vocational education and research training, and tertiary education. The unit examines Indigenous and postcolonial standpoints within disciplines, professional practice, and policy to develop self-reflective and critical evaluations of positionality, sovereignty, and the rights of colonised and Indigenous peoples in education. Students will enhance their critical skills in recognising and challenging systemic white privilege in Australian institutions through investigating why and how Indigenous Australians and other colonised peoples have sought independence and self-determination. The unit explores decolonising, critical, and race-based approaches to Indigenous knowledge validation, knowledge acquisition, and knowledge transfer. Students critically reflect on their role in the production of pedagogical and curriculum materials informed by the contributions of Indigenous and postcolonial theorists and practitioners from a ‘global’ as well as ‘local’ context. The research process is also interrogated for its capacity to engage with Indigenous values and priorities, particularly the ways of knowing, being, and doing. 

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Critically review educational philosophies and norms and the colonial structures and relationships that prioritise or oppress Indigenous Knowledges and post-colonial theories;
  2. Critically reflect on Indigenous and postcolonial positionalities within a discipline, professional practice, research interests and activities, and policies relevant to teaching and learning;
  3. Elucidate a social justice philosophy that prioritises Indigenous approaches within research design and implementation, and curriculum and critical pedagogy;
  4. Clarify the professional complexities in Indigenous-related teaching and research governance and critically assess how these help with articulating a standpoint of practice that can negotiate these complexities.


For Melbourne campuses

Assessment type: Literature Review
Grade: 30%
Reflective journal on awareness of ‘white privilege’
Assessment type: Case Study
Grade: 40%
Part A: Case study proposal (10%) Part B: Case study on incorporating Indigenous research principles in design and analysis (30%).
Assessment type: Assignment
Grade: 15%
Designing an online educational quiz
Assessment type: Presentation
Grade: 15%
Individual oral presentation

Required reading

Links to recommended readings and resources for this unit will be provided to students via the Learning Management System (VU Collaborate)

As part of a course

This unit is studied as part of the following course(s):

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