Non-Indigenous Educators Engaging with Indigenous Being-Doing-Knowing in Outdoor Education

Friday 27th May
Session 5
Room: TBA
Education & Outdoor Learning

This year we introduced a new compulsory subject for all pre-service teachers in our Master of Teaching courses at the University of Melbourne. The subject is called First Nations in Education, and it was designed and crafted by Indigenous and non-Indigenous staff.

The subject is taken by all pre-service teachers together in mixed groups of early childhood, primary and secondary. Through my experience in teaching this subject, which is still unfolding, I have already learned some valuable lessons, which I aim to share in this workshop. The first and perhaps most important, is that Indigenous people can’t manage all of the teaching in this area – there simply aren’t enough Indigenous people to do this.

Non-Indigenous people must share in this task. But then how can this happen when non-Indigenous people aren’t Indigenous knowledge owners? Critical here is that education is about more than just knowing things; it also concerns doing and being. By this I mean that outdoor education can and should, as all education should, engage with trying to understand Indigenous perspectives. By this I mean ways of being-doing-knowing of Indigenous people today, as offering important perspectives which inform understanding of issues of Indigenous sovereignty that impact educational practice. I am not Indigenous, and I don’t claim to be an expert in any knowledge in this session which is Indigenous. Instead, I intend to share the task of thinking about how non-Indigenous educators, especially outdoor educators, can play a role in supporting learning in this area.

John Quay

University of Melbourne

John’s teaching career began in outdoor education, working with a range of schools via his employ with an outdoor education company, OEG. He then taught physical education and outdoor education at St Paul’s Anglican Grammar School in Warragul, as department head of sport and outdoor education. While at St Paul’s John completed graduate diplomas in educational administration and student well-being, as well as his MEd by research, at the University of Melbourne. Following this he undertook his PhD while working at the University. His research and teaching build on a combination of his experience in schools and his endeavour to better understand education through philosophical means. These interests were fostered under the tutelage of Brian Nettleton. John works as an Associate Professor at the University of Melbourne. He has authored a number of articles and books, including Understanding Life in School: From Academic Classroom to Outdoor Education (2015, Palgrave Macmillan), and is an Editor of the Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education.