6. Model dialogue by teaching in pairs/collaboratively

A collaborative approach is both useful and appropriate in Indigenous teaching, especially when both Indigenous and non-Indigenous teachers are involved.

Advantages include modelling cooperation and mutual respect; allowing Indigenous expertise to be foregrounded while not overloading Indigenous academics; providing an opportunity for junior academics to develop teaching skills; enhancing the perceived credibility of non-Indigenous teachers new to the field; and above all, enriching the learning opportunities for students in often contested areas of knowledge.

6.1 'There is an important issue in the nature of the distinction between Indigenous Knowledge and Indigenous people - they are not separate. The three of us [Henry, Zane, Peter] have permission to speak of different things - quite a lot of things, between us - but we cannot all speak of the same things, and in fact we sometimes disagree with each other, in front of the students. We deliberately model this, so students can learn from it.' (Monash)

6.2 'We have an "interrogative" approach to teaching. The questioning by one of us goes on while the other one is talking about the content, in a kind of meta-cognitive way, so Henry will intervene to say: "The reason Zane is saying that, is…". In the end, the use of this "critical meta-narrative" means that students develop the ability to reflect on their own practice. We model the possibility that you can have normal relations.' (Monash)

6.3 'I mentored Julie and she helped me. She sat in my lectures, right at the side of the stage, and we would interact from time to time. She would interject, and sometimes we would have very clear differences of opinion. It was good for students to see that you could have differences of opinion with Aboriginal people and that it does not mean disrespect. Students can see, there and then, that there's a debate to be had. Also, it is really patronising to Aboriginal people not to debate them. I've known her for a long time - it helps.' (La Trobe)

6.4 'I teach in collaboration with my Aboriginal colleagues - never on my own… It's very important that Indigenous people should be doing the teaching. They don't need to do it all, but they need to be prominent, they need to be in charge. For the students - it's great for them to see that there's a prominent Indigenous teacher leading that.'(Melbourne)

6.5 'As a PhD student, I'm engaged in … academic work at the level of an Associate Lecturer. What I am doing is like having an internship. I team-teach with Zane and Henry, and I'm learning how to be an academic in the mainstream.' (Monash).


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