Teaching about Indigenous Forms of Knowledge: Insights from Non-Indigenous Teachers of Visual Arts Education in New Zealand

Part of the CERC Studies in Comparative Education book series (CERC, volume 26)

Abstract

The United Nation’s (1948) declaration to promote human rights, the forces of international globalisation and the complex issues arising from population migrations inevitably demand national and ethnic recognition and identity. The unique position of indigenous peoples has placed increasing pressure on teachers to examine and change their practice. This chapter focusses on the problems faced by non-indigenous teachers in visual arts education who are required or desire to teach indigenous forms of knowledge. Contextualised within New Zealand, a country in which the indigenous Mäori are protected by Te Tiriti o Waitangi – The Treaty of Waitangi signed in 1840 with the British Crown – all students, whatever their ethnicity, are required by statute to become cognisant of the art and culture of the indigenous people. Visual arts teachers, whether indigenous or non-indigenous, therefore have this as a curriculum responsibility. Drawing on my experiences as a nonindigenous teacher and teacher educator in the visual arts, and on case study research in New Zealand schools, I highlight issues related to the kinds of learning that teachers may need when judging how they position indigenous knowledge in their programmes. Underlying philosophical issues, curricular demands and educational practice in the problematical context of the changing nature of indigenous knowledge are also discussed. I assert that non-indigenous visual arts teachers can be empowered to work with indigenous forms of knowledge with integrity and sensitivity. The challenges they face and the professional strategies for teacher learning are considered relevant to all teachers in other curriculum areas working within culturally diverse societies.

Keywords

Indigenous People Indigenous Knowledge Cultural Knowledge Teacher Learning Indigenous Culture 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Comparative Education Research Centre 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Education, The University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand

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