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Literature review

Toward an Australian culturally responsive pedagogy: a narrative review of the literature

First Peoples education Experiential learning First Peoples students Cultural awareness Australia

Culturally responsive pedagogy (CRP), an approach to schooling that originated in the context of African American educational disadvantage, has shown promising outcomes among marginalised student populations internationally, yet has received very little attention in Australian educational policy or practice. To date, there is no substantial theoretically informed and empirically substantiated Australian version of CRP available to Australian educators working in schools, or to those preparing new teachers.

The systemic failure of past and present policies to meet the educational needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students is, by any measure, an urgent problem that is replicated internationally in other settler-colonial societies. In addition, Australian classrooms are increasingly culturally and linguistically diverse, yet the evidence suggests that many teachers lack the confidence and/or expertise to engage with cultural difference in supportive and educationally productive ways.

This review maps the national and international literature from settler colonial countries for rationales, theories and descriptions of practice for CRP. It identifies current understandings of CRP in order to advance theorisations and consider its potential in the Australian context. While the emphasis is on the educational experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, it is argued that under the current conditions of super-diversity in Australian classrooms, CRP offers a hopeful approach to improving the educational experiences of all students.

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