Decolonising pedagogies for knowing, being, doing and becoming in, and beyond learning spaces at AUT

Presenters: Julie Trafford and Alisa Haxell


As Coughlan (2017) has argued, the best education helps us make sense of the world around us and any education that fails to do so, fails its students and the society to which they belong. We concur. A contextually devoid education is education not worthy of the name. This paper therefore explores what it is to be contextually relevant in higher education in Aotearoa.

In Aotearoa repeated evidence shows Māori and Pasifika overly represented in poor health outcomes, so a university-educated Māori and Pasifika health workforce is pivotal in improving health futures. Further, AUT Directions to 2025 aspires to progressive visions and directions for valuing diverse and contextualised knowledges. However, both colonised pedagogies and a gap between the academic success of Māori and Pasifika and other students persist.

In line with Coughlan’s further claim of education being in desperate need of rebalancing, where “Māori, Pasifika and immigrant voices can and must form a greater part of our curriculum, alongside a more critical reading of established subjects”, this paper provides opportunity to explore both what we do, and might do better. We draw on and adapt, for the AUT context, Morreira and Luckett’s (2018) Questions academics can ask to decolonise their classrooms. Questions include “1. What principles, norms, values and worldviews inform your selection of knowledge for your curriculum? … 2. Do you articulate your own social and intellectual position, from which you speak when lecturing?”

We invite colleagues to answer these in the context of their teaching and curricula. We conclude by reflecting on how responses to such questions might promote decolonised, culturally responsive and contextually shaped pedagogies that value culturally diverse ways of knowing, being, doing and becoming in, and beyond AUT learning spaces.

Coughlan, T. (2017). Comment – Thomas Coughlan: Decolonising the curriculum, Newsroom
Morreira, S. & Luckett, K. (2018). Questions academics can ask to decolonise their classrooms, The Conversation,