Culturally Responsive Pedagogies: A resource for learning to live together in culturally diverse societies

A School of Education seminar presented on February 22nd, 2018 by Professor Irabinna Rigney, Associate Professor Robert Hattam and Dr Devo Devrim. Introduced by Dr Stephen Kelly and response by Dr Vegneskumar Maniam

Professor Rigney will discuss the context of Aboriginal Education in Australia and describe the immediate needs of Aboriginal learners. He will outline the Australian curriculum response to Aboriginal learner need focusing on whether "Aboriginal world views" and the national curriculum can be reconciled. This will lead to a discussion of preliminary findings of a research project, funded by the Australian Research Council, designed to assist teachers to develop pedagogies that are responsive to the diversity/cultural values, principles and knowledges that Aboriginal students bring to classrooms.

Associate Professor Hattam will speak to the challenges of learning to live together in culturally diverse societies. Working from the premise that we might be rightly proud of multicultural Australia, he will discuss how cultural diversity is still highly contested on the street, in the workplace, and in media culture. In recounting his long-term work with schools, he will address how schooling is a key site of identity and social formation in the Australian nation and can potentially play a significant role in developing the ‘high levels of community harmony and cohesion which draw Australia's diverse society together’ and ensure continued economic and social benefits for the nation. He will ask how educators can research together the effects of increasing cultural diversity on the school or focus instead on how schools teach for cultural diversity.

Dr Devo Devrim will report on two projects. “Embedding literacy support for at-risk students in initial teacher education units” which aims to provide online literacy support for Indigenous undergraduate students and “Riddim & Poetry” which aims to teach drumming, poetry writing and Aboriginal languages to children at Minimbah School Armidale.


Professor Rigney is research fellow at Kings College, London. One of Australia’s most respected Aboriginal educationalists, Professor Rigney is a descendant
of the Narungga, Kaurna and Ngarrindjeri peoples of South Australia. He is an expert on Aboriginal Minority Education. He is Professor of Aboriginal Education at the Centre for Research in Education at University of South Australia. He is best known for his theorisation of Indigenist Research Epistemologies and Aboriginal Education putting him at the forefront for schooling and language rights from 1990s to the 2000s. According to Rigney’s three principles of Indigenist epistemology – schools, teachers and researchers must build community partnerships and embed Aboriginal cultures as driving force for transformative, culturally responsive education. Many teachers and policy writers have been inspired by Rigney’s writings that promotes the idea that culturally responsive schooling is built from the experiences and abilities students bring to class. Professor Rigney has worked across the Pacific on Indigenous Education from New Zealand, Taiwan to Canada.

Associate Professor Hattam’s research focuses on teachers’ work, educational leadership, critical and reconciliation pedagogies, refugees, and school reform. He has been involved in book projects with others that include: Schooling for a Fair Go, Teachers' Work in a Globalising Economy, Dropping Out, Drifting O , Being Excluded: Becoming Somebody Without School, Connecting Lives and Learning, Literacy, Leading and Learning: Beyond Pedagogies of Poverty and Pedagogies for Reconciliation. He also has published a book entitled Awakening-Struggle: Towards a Buddhist Critical Theory.

Dr Devo Devrim is a member of the English, Literacies and Languages Education (ELLE) team at UNE. Within this group, he specializes in TESOL and Languages Education. He is a member of two research networks: Language, Literacies, Literature and Equity and Diversity.

Due to privacy issues, Dr Devrim's contrinution is not included in the presentation.