Characteristics The important broader issue with respect to evaluating the penetrationofsuchaunitistousestudentevaluationstohelpdevelop strategies to appeal to those who do not at present engage with Indigenouslegalissuesthroughtheirlawprogram.Tobeeffective in its currentformatthe class size has to be relativelysmall,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. Thisgeneralexposurehowever,intheopinionofthePanel, did not go far enough.76The need for incorporating ICC in the compulsoryunitshasbeenwidelyrecognised77 andisendorsedin this article.78
SELT feedbackgenerallyispositive.However,therequirement for public postings of their views has been criticised at times. Some students indicated that they would prefer to post privately only but withoutbeingnegativelyperceivedasnotengagingwiththerest of the class. In response to the critique students now engage with hypothetical problem questions which allow students to represent a putative client’sviewsandtherefore toexplore arangeoflegal 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 encouragedtoact‘truetotype’ (including‘theextremes’ forgood pedagogicalreasons).Studentsappeartobemuchmorecomfortable withexpressingarangeofviewsthrougha‘role’thantheyarewith expressingapersonalopinionandstudentfeedbackonroleplay
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 consideredbyscholars,forexampleseeaboven57.Thesystematicincorporation 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 indigenousAustralian and law type electives: see above n 7. aspectsofassessmentaregenerallypositivewithrespecttothe 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 theseeventsaresometimestooclosetotheexamperiodorthat the allocated marks do not always fairly reflect the time and effort expendedontheseactivities.Thesearereasonablecritiques,butthey aredifficulttoaddressduetotheLawSchoolassessmentregimeand 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 acceptabletothemainstreamacademy. WhileEuropeanshave studiedIndigenousways,languages,lawsandspiritualities, 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 legalfactthatthecontinentwasnotempty,orthatIndigenouspeople were civilised, or that Indigenous people should be counted in the census. Thisisclearlyaverysuperficialandshallowargumentand the complexities of these issues need much better information bases and depth of analysis. But the point is that unless Indigenous voices areheardinthemix,theperceptionthatthisbodyofscholarshipis
‘colonial’is likely to persist.
Yetitcouldnotbecoincidentalthatthereisacorrelationbetween theabsenceofIndigenousresearchersintheacademyinthepast and the paucity of research in the area. It is true that Indigenous peoplearegreatlyunderrepresentedintheacademy,butontheother hand,itmustbeacknowledgedthatKumantjayiPerkins,perhapsthe first university graduate, was permitted to enter the academy as a studentonlyveryrecently,historically speaking.79 Onthisyardstick Indigenous people have done remarkably well to show high rates of growthintheirparticipationrateinuniversitiestodate.Theabsolute numbersareclearlyverylow,80andmustbeimprovedifasignificant body of knowledge is to be built and which reflects Indigenous views.
79 SeeAustralian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), Fire Talker: The Life and Times of Charlie Perkins (2011)