Stoking the Fires of Pre-service Educators through Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ways of Learning


  • Sharon Louth University of the Sunshine Coast
  • Keane Wheeler University of Queensland
  • Romina Jamieson-Proctor Australian Catholic University
  • Tracey Sanderson University of the Sunshine Coast



Cultural competence, cultural pedagogy, embedding Indigenous perspectives, pre-service teacher education


Great emphasis has been placed on embedding Indigenous knowledges and perspectives in western-based education systems and pedagogical practices. This study discusses the results of a four-month program for pre-service teachers that targeted best-practice Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander pedagogy.  The program challenged existing notions of western-based teaching and learning through innovative approaches to the design of learning. Specifically, the program has been underpinned by the 8 Ways Aboriginal Pedagogical Framework which focuses on interconnected learning experiences which have been developed through Aboriginal systems, protocols, values and processes. The program embedded authentic practices aimed at empowering pre-service teachers. The research design explored four dimensions of empowerment relating to embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives: knowledge, understanding, perceptions and attitudes. Quantitative survey data was gathered pre and post program and paired samples t-tests were conducted and found all four dimensions of empowerment improved significantly following the program (p < 0.05). The results of this study demonstrate the effectiveness of teaching, learning and assessing through the lens of the 8 Ways Aboriginal Pedagogical framework to increase teacher agency to become more culturally responsive educators.


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Author Biographies

Sharon Louth, University of the Sunshine Coast

Dr Sharon Louth is a senior lecturer in the School of Education at USC and is the Program Coordinator at Fraser Coast.  Sharon's research and teaching practices involve the use of inclusive, cooperative and motivational learning strategies which generate self-efficacy and empower students to become successful learners. Sharon is passionate about increasing educational outcomes for people from all walks of life, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Sharon has collaborated with community to facilitate intervention programs for children and professional development workshops for teachers from primary, secondary and tertiary institutions and is committed to the ongoing development of increasing educational aspirations at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. 

Keane Wheeler, University of Queensland

Dr Keane Wheeler provides expert advice and contributes to strategic decision-making regarding programs that build the academic preparedness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, and assist in retaining students in Higher Education. Dr Wheeler applies current professional theory and best practice regarding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education and cultural capability to maintain, develop and evaluate services and engagement practises. He collaborates with relevant work areas to assist in the development and delivery of multi-disciplinary empowerment programs addressing identified and emerging needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. 

Romina Jamieson-Proctor, Australian Catholic University

Professor Romina Jamieson-Proctor is a Professor in the School of Education at ACU. Throughout her academic career, her teaching and research interests and endeavours have focused on the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) to enhance and transform learning and teaching to meet the needs of 21st century learners. She has had extensive experience in the leadership and management of large scale pure and applied research projects specifically investigating the impact of ICT on teaching and learning across state and national education systems and was integral in the adoption of the TPACK framework in the National Teaching Teachers for the Future (TTF) project (2011-2012). She has expertise in quantitative methods, especially the design and development of theoretically and statistically valid and reliable measurement instruments.  Teaching has been Professor Jamieson-Proctor's life work and passion for over 35 years and she has taught more than 6000 students for the most part in large core-undergraduate pre-service teacher education courses and is a recognised expert in online and blended pedagogies. 

Tracey Sanderson, University of the Sunshine Coast

Dr Tracey Sanderson is a teacher with over 30 years of experience across all phases of learning.  She has spent much of this time teaching in rural and remote communities in Western Australia where she worked extensively with communities to improve learning outcomes for all students.  Tracey teaches pre-service teaches at USC and works collaboratively with her colleagues to ensure students are well equipped and supported to become high quality educators. 


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How to Cite

Louth, S., Wheeler, K., Jamieson-Proctor, R., & Sanderson, T. (2023). Stoking the Fires of Pre-service Educators through Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ways of Learning. International Journal of Educational Innovation and Research, 2(2), 104–113.