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Weaving First Peoples' knowledge into a university course

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 January 2020

Edward Synot*
Affiliation:
Service Learning Unit, Griffith University, 170 Kessels Road, Nathan, Queensland4111, Australia
Mary Graham
Affiliation:
School of Political Science and International Studies, The University of Queensland, St Lucia4072, Australia
John Graham
Affiliation:
GUMURRII Student Support Unit, Griffith University, 170 Kessels Road, Nathan, Queensland4111, Australia
Faith Valencia-Forrester
Affiliation:
Service Learning Unit, Griffith University, 170 Kessels Road, Nathan, Queensland4111, Australia
Catherine Longworth
Affiliation:
Service Learning Unit, Griffith University, 170 Kessels Road, Nathan, Queensland4111, Australia
Bridget Backhaus
Affiliation:
Service Learning Unit, Griffith University, 170 Kessels Road, Nathan, Queensland4111, Australia
*
Author for correspondence: Edward Synot, E-mail: e.synot@griffith.edu.au
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Abstract

First Peoples' knowledge at university lies within a contested knowledge space. The incompatibilities and differences between Western and First Peoples' knowledge systems means attempts to superficially ‘add’ First Peoples' content to university courses are often ineffective and tokenistic. Considering these issues, this paper reflects on the design and implementation of weaving First Peoples' knowledge and perspectives throughout a service-learning course. The course is a nationally awarded work-integrated learning programme delivered to undergraduate and postgraduate students. Drawing on a theoretical framework of Woven Law, the design of the module was led and authored by First Peoples. Throughout the design process, the module was critically examined in terms of the content developed and methods of content inclusion, while also responding to institutional demands of student learning outcomes. Survey results show a positive student reception and early success in enabling students to achieve learning outcomes. While initial results are promising, data are limited due to this being the first assessment of the programme and the fact that students were asked to rate their own experience. Nonetheless, Woven Law and carefully weaving First Peoples' knowledge throughout the curriculum represents a promising methodology and area for future research.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press

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