Integrating Indigenous content into the classroom

Nicky takes on a Graduate Certificate in Education (Indigenous Education) to broaden the scope of early education

Nicky is an experienced educator who is always looking to broaden her teaching skills and bring diverse content into Victorian classrooms. As a quality advisor, she is responsible for coaching and guiding centre managers and educators from 23 early education services across Victoria, to ‘reflect and dig deeper into their own understanding and to grow in knowledge and confidence’.

With a longstanding passion for Indigenous education, Nicky wanted to help educators to better integrate Indigenous perspectives, histories, stories and cultures into their lessons. However, she was aware that this might be intimidating for some teachers who were less familiar with Indigenous content.

‘Whilst early education has embraced the importance of sharing this knowledge with children and families, I commonly encounter educators who are fearful of causing offence or not knowing how to share this information in an appropriate way.’

To overcome this barrier, Nicky sought to first solidify her own understanding of Indigenous education by studying a Graduate Certificate in Education (Indigenous Education) with QUT Online.

‘When I started reading more about the Graduate Certificate, I was immediately interested as it was offering subject content that I hadn’t found through other courses and would lead to deepening of my own knowledge and how I could extend the knowledge of others in this area in a respectful and appropriate manner.’

Becoming a student again

It had been 23 years since Nicky had last attended university, but she found that any concerns she had were quickly put to rest by her Online Learning Adviser, Emma. Nicky found Emma to have an obvious passion for the course content, and appreciated her understanding and support as – like many students – Nicky had her work and study disrupted by COVID-19.

The online course structure offered Nicky the flexibility she needed to continue working in early education while she studied, and provided a safe and convenient way to learn during Melbourne’s COVID-19 lockdowns. The other students in Nicky’s course were a diverse and enthusiastic group, who shared their ideas in an online ‘yarning circle’.

‘I have been pleasantly surprised in how easy it has been to adapt to online learning. Use of tools such as Miro has made the course easy to engage in and to collaborate with my peers. Functionality of the online systems has been very good and easy to navigate and I can find any information I require easily.’

Applying new skills and knowledge

Now after only one teaching period, Nicky has already gained insights that she can apply in her work as a Quality Advisor in early education. She feels she is now equipped to assist educators to ‘lean into discomfort’ and ‘dig deeper’ when it comes to incorporating Indigenous elements into their education services.

‘I have been able to take a broader view of the way in which early education services tackle their approach to inclusive practices and how I can assist our organisation in reflecting on our approach on the whole.’

Nicky is now excited to explore the opportunities her new qualification could present, and plans to tackle a Master of Teaching with QUT Online upon completion of her graduate certificate. She is eagerly awaiting her next teaching period to discover more ways of incorporating the voices and stories of Indigenous Australians within the classroom.

If you have an interest in Indigenous education, or another specialised area of teaching, take a look at our variety of postgraduate Education courses. For advice on which course might suit you and your goals, contact one of our Course Consultants.

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