Leaning into the discomfort and embracing the disruption: a Freirean approach to (de)colonised social work teaching in Australia
Kathomi, G in press, 'Leaning into the discomfort and embracing the disruption: a Freirean approach to (de)colonised social work teaching in Australia', Whiteness and Education, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 182-197.
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This paper uses an autoethnographic Freirean approach to theorise how white power moves in universities, and to speak to the pedagogical challenges (and successes) that I have encountered as a scholar of colour teaching in predominantly white universities in Australia and my various attempts to decolonise my teaching. While in social work education we are expected to teach students to become agents of social change, we confront a whitewashed curriculum that often ignores or undermines Indigenous ways of knowing – transmitting and focusing mostly on knowledge that is deemed important for ‘white Australia’. A colonised education system promotes and produces harmful dualities of power and inequality. As such, there is a need to re-examine the current curricula and introduce spaces of learning that are not just simply ‘inclusive and multicultural’, but also deeply transformational and liberating in the sense that Paulo Freire envisioned.