In this chapter, the author presents a first-person, narrative vignettes of his experience as a transformative educator cum researcher for enhancing contextual student engagement. He sets out his ideas in chronological order as he explains the importance of his birthplace, home country, early school days, working life, culture, and university teaching as well as research trails. He also focuses on his narratives about life and learning as a financially and socially struggling student with his reflections on university teaching days and other significant events that have played a prime role in creating who he is today and who he seeks to become. He has brought his childhood experiences into account to see things more clearly with creative imagination and less inhibition. When he started to write about his experiences of, and connections to early life, he has tried to conceive of other worlds and others’ worlds by comparing ideas and feelings with a kind of childlike vision on his part of free-ranging curiosity and imagination. He has sought to employ this naive, open, child-mindedness as the foundation of his writing and find the freedom to imagine the world and the environment around him in all its immediacy and wonder. The aim is to make his stories accessible to the readers to highlight the power of life events and ideas as “the doorway for imagination” (, p. 16). Inspired by transformative learning theory, the author claims that each experience has opened new doors for him which also brought a deeper understanding of the worlds around him.
In this chapter, the author describes the use of ethical dilemma story pedagogy as a teaching method in delivery of educational activities. As a trial of this pedagogy, he has presented two of his ethical dilemma stories as part of the research project to a group of trainee teachers, studying in rural Nepal. With his intention to allow them to make informed decisions about whether to participate in this study, he gave written information of the aims, procedures, and their roles in the research process to the participants. The participants came from different sociocultural and economic backgrounds. Van Maanen (, p. 49) asserts that “ethnography must present accounts and explanations by members of the culture of the events in their lives.” In many cultures worldwide, we often think in terms of metaphor, comparing two different things through their similarities or networks of analogies. The ethical dilemma stories that the author wrote for this research purpose were centred on metaphors relating to people’s lives and living. The result of this research suggests that active engagement enhances the sense of belonging to both teachers and students while also enabling meaningful student learning from their own sociocultural perspectives.
This chapter illustrates the teacher/researcher’s role as a transformative learner, drawing on an engaging, meaningful, autoethnographic inquiry. The chapter starts with the theme of author’s personal reflection as a transformative learner. He has explained how the traditional ways of thinking about education and research have changed over the years, and encouraged him to see teaching and learning as a transformative process. The author has developed new understandings and insights within eight key conditions of transformative learning based on his experiences and those of his research collaborators. These elements range from connecting learning to students’ and teachers’ lives to encouraging critical reflection, analytic skills and empowerment.
This introductory chapter sets the scene around transformative learning and the author’s transition towards ethical dilemma story pedagogy through autoethnographic experience. By drawing on an autoethnographic methodology, the author proposes for interactive classroom activities to promote students’ critical awareness. The purpose is to facilitate students’ inner understanding of reflective pedagogy principles through an in-depth, self-analytical understanding of educational practices. The use of self-reflective writing to promote improvement in pedagogic practice is expressed in a creative written form. By acknowledging the insights from research collaborators, and combining the findings from self-reflection, the intended objective of this study is to arrive at a clearer understanding of transformative practice seen from a variety of educational perspectives.
The inclusion of Indigenous Knowledges and the articulation of culturally guided land management values and practices within post-graduate curriculum design is rare in Australia. Currently, there is one course in the country that includes the words ‘Country’ and ‘land and sea’ in its title. This consciously assumes that all Australia is Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander land and is worked upon and managed as a cultural landscape.
This chapter traces the history of one enduring post-graduate course as it has morphed and changed over a 25-year period whilst responding to land justice issues as prioritised by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander land managers and their Communities. One of the features of the course is the expression of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural agency to drive priorities and goals to institute land-justice projects and programs on Country. For the duration of their study, students apply Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island cultural perspectives to create new and innovative approaches that will transfer knowledge and skills into land management practices leading not only to the intensification of cultural practices but also the education of government land management agencies.
By examining, reflecting and writing the story of the course’s history, a rich and compelling argument emerges that supports the reality that academia can not only be a site for social change and student mobilisation but also a place where the inclusion of Indigenous Knowledges can support future curricula design based on a distinctive land justice framework.
Social work has a critical role in supporting families, young people and others with complex needs, such as the elderly and those with disabilities. This chapter discusses critical social work from the perspective of Indigenous social workers who have experienced some forms of institutional marginlisation and also worked with marginalised community groups, using cultural knowledge to address a number of institutional injustice issues and practices. Social workers working with Indigenous community groups constantly experience and witness the challenges faced by those communities, including isolation within educational institutions. Social work as a profession is a growing area in Indigenous community groups because of social justice problems and historical marginalisation through colonial practices. Writing as a social work lecturer within an Indigenous educational institute, I recognise that social work has a significant role to play in Indigenous communities. It can empower people to speak up and speak the truth, supporting people through journeys of pain and healing, as well as acknowledging their experiences and cultural knowledge by validating those experiences. While walking alongside students and their families, social work lecturers bring their knowledge and their own experiences to enhance social work courses at university.
The compartmentalisation and fixity of western science as part of a deeply entrenched positivist cache of knowledge and how and what to know, has been historically reproduced in curriculum in terms of what is science and how to apply this science, to the exclusion of all ‘other’ ways of knowing and doing (). Indigenous Knowledges, in contrast, have been represented as “unscientific” (, p. 21), or even “inferior and primitive” (, p. 136), and part of a storying process that is incommensurate with the dominant western culture of validation and credibility. In an epoch where the variance of knowledges, and the credentialing of Indigenous Knowledge is making increasing sense in a global context of crisis – one where problems are reaching for ‘different’ solutions (Finlayson, Preuss, Jackson, & Holcombe, 2012; ; ), this chapter considers the complexity of pedagogical transformations from a colonised academy to a co-actioning of Indigenous Knowledge and western science within primary schools for pre-service and in-service teachers. The ‘troublesomeness’ of ‘accepting’ and actioning Indigenous Knowledges as a valid component of the science curriculum represent threshold concepts that teachers must engage with to truly embody and work within and around the cultural interface to transform science teaching and learning.