Ting indigenous cu



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The important broader issue with respect to evaluating the penetration of such a unit is to use student evaluations to help develop strategies to appeal to those who do not at present engage with Indigenous legal issues through their law program. To be effective in its current format the class size has to be relatively small, and is a distinct disadvantage in achieving a broader ICC.

The Priestley 11 and the compulsory law units already give mainstream students some familiarity with important Indigenous issues. This general exposure however, in the opinion of the Panel, did not go far enough.76 The need for incorporating ICC in the compulsory units has been widely recognised77 and is endorsed in this article.78

SELT feedback generally is positive. However, the requirement for public postings of their views has been criticised at times. Some students indicated that they would prefer to post privately only but without being negatively perceived as not engaging with the rest of the class. In response to the critique students now engage with hypothetical problem questions which allow students to represent a putative clients views and therefore to explore a range of legal and policy options available to the hypothetical lawyer or stakeholder without having to express their personal views, other than on the substantive law which applies.

In the same vein, in the role playing opportunities, students are encouraged to act ‘true to type’ (including ‘the extremes’ for good pedagogical reasons). Students appear to be much more comfortable with expressing a range of views through a ‘role’ than they are with expressing a personal opinion and student feedback on role play

75 John Burville Biggs and Kevin Francis Collis, Evaluating the quality of learning: the SOLO taxonomy (structure of the observed learning outcome) (Academic Press, 1982).

76 See above n 29, 1.

77 UACC Report, above n 2.

78 The incorporation of Indigenous perspectives in the Priestly 11 has been considered by scholars, for example see above n 57. The systematic incorporation and penetration of ICC into the Priestly 11 is likely to take some time and will arguably depend on the success and popularity to some extent among students of units such as the indigenous Australian and law type electives: see above n 7.
aspects of assessment are generally positive with respect to the acquisition of ICC.

Finally the exercise of engaging with public fora such as conferences, workshops and symposia on Indigenous issues is generally regarded positively although the student response is that these events are sometimes too close to the exam period or that the allocated marks do not always fairly reflect the time and effort expended on these activities. These are reasonable critiques, but they are difficult to address due to the Law School assessment regime and the permissible quanta for marks distribution or the scheduling by others of conferences and symposia over which teachers have little control.
B Developing a Body of Indigenous knowledges
As mentioned, there is a paucity of information on Indigenous knowledges, particularly from Indigenous perspectives, in a form acceptable to the mainstream academy. While Europeans have studied Indigenous ways, languages, laws and spiritualities, there must be some questions as to the level or depth of scholarship, as it took nearly 200 years for these scholars to establish as a matter of legal fact that the continent was not empty, or that Indigenous people were civilised, or that Indigenous people should be counted in the census. This is clearly a very superficial and shallow argument and the complexities of these issues need much better information bases and depth of analysis. But the point is that unless Indigenous voices are heard in the mix, the perception that this body of scholarship is

colonial’ is likely to persist.

Yet it could not be coincidental that there is a correlation between the absence of Indigenous researchers in the academy in the past and the paucity of research in the area. It is true that Indigenous people are greatly underrepresented in the academy, but on the other hand, it must be acknowledged that Kumantjayi Perkins, perhaps the first university graduate, was permitted to enter the academy as a student only very recently, historically speaking.79 On this yardstick Indigenous people have done remarkably well to show high rates of growth in their participation rate in universities to date. The absolute numbers are clearly very low,80 and must be improved if a significant body of knowledge is to be built and which reflects Indigenous views.

79 See Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), Fire Talker: The Life and Times of Charlie Perkins (2011)

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