Exceptionalism in Education - A Failed Agenda (Professor Marcia Langton AM) 26 FEBRUARY 2013
Professor Marcia Langton AM has held the Foundation Chair of Australian Indigenous Studies at The University of Melbourne since February 2000. As an anthropologist and geographer, Professor Langton has made significant contributions to Indigenous studies in this country and has been instrumental in developing government and non-government policy and administration on Indigenous matters. She was recognised for her advocacy of Aboriginal rights in 1993 when she was made a member of the Order of Australia, and became a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia in 2001. Professor Langton was also the Boyer Lecturer for 2012, delivering her address on The Quiet Revolution: Indigenous People and the Resources Boom.
Professor Langton has been vocal in her criticism of treating Aboriginal children differently to other students and modifying curriculums to make lessons culturally sensitive. She was quoted in a Sydney Morning Herald article in September last year saying, “’That is just a bunch of racist codswallop. It’s lala land. What we do know is that the traditional methods of teaching literacy involve discipline, constant attendance, learning element by element and putting together the system of literacy, the sounds and associations between the symbol and the sound. And all those things have to be built up consistently and according to a curriculum, brick by brick, in a classroom.
”Our children are being funnelled over into idiot land by teachers afraid to make a mistake. And it really is up to parents and communities to say ‘We want our children to learn the normal curriculum that every other kid learns; we don’t want our children to be treated like idiots’.”
She joins CIS for an in-depth discussion of the reforms so desperately needed to improve education outcomes for Indigenous children, particularly those living in remote communities.