The Australian Journal of Indigenous Education
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Unit, The University of Queensland
School of Education
Currently, educational bodies are recognising the importance of integrating Australian Indigenous cultures in education to promote intercultural understanding and improve outcomes for Indigenous students. In drama, learning about Indigenous perspectives can be integrated through sharing cultural stories, with this integration mandated by the Australian curriculum. However, teachers are struggling to achieve this directive due to a lack of knowledge in Indigenous content and concerns surrounding permission and cultural appropriation. This qualitative study used a focus group interview to determine non-Indigenous pre-service drama teachers' perceptions about integrating Indigenous perspectives in their praxis. Inductive analysis of the data revealed participants strongly believed in the importance of embedding Indigenous perspectives yet felt apprehensive due to a range of challenges, including a lack of adequate training. These challenges and the participants' recommendations provide compelling evidence for initial teacher education to specifically embed learning experiences in Indigenous theatre and to provide opportunities for pre-service drama teachers to collaborate with Indigenous communities. The significance of this research points to the importance for pre-service drama teachers to be given tools to ensure that their praxis breaks the generational cycle of insufficient teaching of Indigenous perspectives in Australian schools, a cycle that has disadvantaged Indigenous children since colonisation.
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