We are very pleased to bring you Volume 46.2 of the Australian Journal of Indigenous Education. In conversation as Indigenous and non-Indigenous educators working towards social justice in education, the papers in this Volume explore key questions across school, tertiary education and policy contexts. One of the key challenges for those of us working in Indigenous education landscapes in Australia and globally continues to be the ways in which policy plays out and is performed through high stakes testing of various shapes and forms. Like policy itself, ‘testing’ is linked to discourse about Indigenous peoples, capacity for educational ‘success’ and the kinds of pedagogies and teacher-ly performativities that might be enacted to achieve such outcomes. This is a necessarily complex landscape and the discussions we present in this Volume ask us to take pause and consider the relationship between policy, testing and educational practice and the ways these interface with Indigenous ways of being, doing and knowing.
The opening paper by Bobongie reports on challenges faced by Torres Strait Islander girls when they leave their communities and attend boarding school. Bobongie engages in the ongoing debates about the disadvantages and advantages of girls leaving their communities to attend boarding school and her findings could assist families, staff and administrators to better manage the transition process. Shifting to a different context, Spillman takes us behind the scenes to examine the latest review of Indigenous education and highlights the focus on standardised testing of English literacy and numeracy works to maintain the coupling of ‘Indigenous’ and ‘deficit’.
We then take our discussions across the Tasman to the context of Maori education. Manning focuses on a critique of the New Zealand government's negative response to a popular petition developed by students of Otorohanga College. The next paper by Baird and Dooey brings us to tertiary education contexts and describes the development and initial testing of a Visual PELA with a view to it becoming an additional tool for determining writing skills levels for commencing Indigenous students.
Also in the tertiary context, the paper by Gilbert and Tillman explores the ways cultural protocols have shaped the course material for online and face-to-face tertiary students at the Wollotuka Institute at the University of Newcastle. The final paper in this Volume examines the cultural safety of Aboriginal students in Canada in a teacher education programme. Drawing on interviews with students, Harrison et al. consider the potential impact of where First Nations Peoples’ sit in a classroom to produce positive learning outcomes for Indigenous people in higher education.
We hope you enjoy reading the papers in this Volume and that they inspire us all to continue working towards social justice in Indigenous education.