BA - Enkeltemne

PED-1001 Introduction to Indigenous perspectives on special education

  • Course code: PED-1001
  • Level: Bachelor, basic level
  • Scope: 7.5 ECTS credits
  • Over how many semesters: 1 semester
  • Course provision: The course is carried out virtually
  • PDF icon Curriculum


In this course we introduce students to Indigenous perspectives on special education. Students will learn the basics of special education from global Indigenous perspectives. Indigenous childrenand youth in need of special support are dependent on dominant, colonialeducation systems that may not align with Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing. This course addresses critical aspects of special educational provision such as effects of colonialism, power imbalance, relationality,and ethical considerationsin global Indigenous contexts. Models of disability and special education will provide a historical background.

Current policies and legislation will be examined in relation to special educational practices in a selection of global Indigenous contexts. Strengthbased inclusive special education practices will be analysed through Indigenous paradigmatic lenseswill provide a broader context. Core concepts within the field of special education such as inclusion, exclusion, empowerment, stigmatization,and labelling will be scrutinized through pan-Indigenous and tribally specific lenses, and Indigenization of special educational practice discussed.


Indigenous Australia perspectives on Special Education: Dr. Tracy Woodroffe is a Senior Lecturer and Researcher in the Faculty of  Arts and Society specialising in Teacher Education and the significance of culture and inclusive practice. She is a Warumungu Luritja woman with extensive experience in Early Childhood, Primary, Secondary and Tertiary classrooms. Dr. Woodroffe was the recipient of the 2022 Vice-Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence - First Nations Teaching Excellence.

Grant Bruno is nehiyawak (Plains Cree) and a registered member of nipsihkopahk (Samson Cree Nation), one of the reserves that makes up maskwacis (Bear Hills), Alberta. He is a PhD in Medical Sciences - Pediatrics student at the University of Alberta. Grant Bruno is a father, two of his children are on the autism spectrum. His PhD research will explore redefining autism from a nehiyaw lens, gathering stories with families and individuals who have experiences with autism using a strength-based approach, as well as gathering data on the perspectives of autism in Maskwacis.

Dr. Kū Kahakalau is an award-winning Native Hawaiian educator, researcher, cultural practitioner, grassroots activist, visionary, community leader, entrepreneur, traditional songwriter, and expert in Hawaiian language and culture.  The first person in the world to earn a Ph.D. in Indigenous Education, Dr. Kahakalau has been a leader in the Hawaiian culture-based education movement for over three decade and founded and directed a number of highly successful, culturally-driven educational programs.  Since 2017, Dr. Kahakalau has led Kū-A-Kanaka, a native Hawaiian social enterprise, specializing in culture-based consulting and online education, targeting especially young Hawaiians ages 15-30 enrolled in EA Ecoversity, a culture-based higher education and career training program founded by Dr. Kahakalau in 2020.  EA stands forEducation with Aloha, since Dr. Kahakalau’s research confirms that love, compassion, respect and kindness are the most important ingredients in 21st century education, just like they were in ancient times.  



The course can be taken as an independent course, or included as a supportive, elective, or free course in various bachelor’s degree programs. It is especially appropriate for students in educational studies such as pre-school and teacher education, as well as for teachers and other professionals working in fields in which they handle issues of diversity and the special educational needs of Indigenous children and youth.

The language of instruction will be English. Assignments and the final exam can be delivered inEnglish, North Sámi, Norwegian or Swedish language.


  • The entire course will be virtual
  • lectures
  • flipped classroom
  • group discussions and seminars
  • case studies

The following conditions must be accepted by the study coordinator before the student is allowed to takethe exam:

  • 80 % class participation
  • One written assignmenton approx. 1000 words

Individual two-day home exam of 2000-3000 words.

Grading sale: A graded scale A-F, where A is the top grade and F is the failing grade

Do you have questions about the study?
Please get in touch with the coordinator of the study: 

Anne Lindblom

Filesize: 142 KB


  • Higher Education Entrance Qualification.
  • Admission may also be gained by means of other qualifications recognized as being on a par with the Higher Education Entrance Qualification, such as recognition of prior learning and work experience.
    A list of the requirements for the Higher Education Entrance Qualification in Norway can be found on the web site from the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education(NOKUT).
  • For language requirements we refer to NOKUT's GSU-list.