Teaching Indigenous children in Taiwan: tensions, complexities and opportunities

Nesterova, Y. (2019) Teaching Indigenous children in Taiwan: tensions, complexities and opportunities. Global Studies of Childhood, 9(2), pp. 156-166. (doi: 10.1177/2F2043610619846349)

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Taiwan’s Indigenous children are culturally and linguistically different and socially and economically marginalized compared to their Han Chinese peers. For decades, education assimilated Indigenous people into the mainstream society by undermining their languages, cultures and traditional spaces. Since the 1990s, multicultural policies have been cast as the remedy for the inequalities and injustices they experienced and, since 2016, Taiwan has started the process of reconciliation and transitional justice. The purpose of this article is twofold. It first discusses whether these new policies and initiatives have been more accommodating and friendlier to Indigenous students, or whether they still clash with Indigenous visions of and needs for a sustainable and just society. Following this, the article focuses on non-Indigenous teachers who work with Indigenous students, and what knowledge, skills and attitudes they have and/or lack. An ethnographic study conducted with 23 Indigenous representatives shows that Indigenous people are dissatisfied with state education due to its culturally insensitive and contextually irrelevant and irresponsive curriculum, pedagogy and school environment, which are shaped around Chinese values and a Chinese view of history, language, knowledge and way of engaging with the ‘Other’. The participants discuss their own vision of education that can help address the problematic experiences and outcomes of Indigenous students, and ‘rewrite’ education to eliminate tensions between Chinese and Indigenous values, histories, knowledge(s) and other aspects. The implications of the tensions between Indigenous and non-indigenous visions of education are then presented for a rewriting of the curriculum and retraining of non-indigenous teachers to engage with Indigenous children and communities in a culturally respectful and ethical manner.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Nesterova, Dr Yulia
Authors: Nesterova, Y.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Journal Name:Global Studies of Childhood
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN (Online):2043-6106
Published Online:27 May 2019

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