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SWSP4023 Indigenous Social Work

Level: Bachelor
Credit Points: Six
Prerequisites:  SWSP1003
Mode(s) of Delivery: Online
Core/Elective: Core

Unit Description

This unit will introduce students to the diversity of social, cultural and political situation in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people live. Indigenous theory and practice as a new framework for influencing social work knowledge and practice will also be explored.  

Unit Workload

The workload for this unit is nine hours per week. This includes twelve weeks of three hours of class time. A weekly 3 hour learning session [via Zoom]. One hour will be didactive material delivered in lecture format. Two hours will be interactive class time, for discussion of the lecture, readings, assessments and class activities. Material will be available in the online class space. In addition to the 3 hours of class time, students are expected to engage in 6 hours of private study per week.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this unit, students will be able to:

1.  Identify specific ways of doing, being and knowing from an Indigenous Perspective

2. Demonstrate respect for Indigenous culture, attitudes, values and knowledge and its complexity and richness as well as its contribution to Australia’s heritage and wellbeing.

3. Be able to articulate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander worldview for use in practice and supervision.

4. Be able to articulate the impact of history and policy upon the lived experience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

5. Be able to articulate the links between Aboriginal worldviews and social work values and principals.

Learning and Teaching Approach

  1. Learning is an active process – which involves both questioning and challenging.
  2. Learning is a shared process – where others’ thoughts and ideas are presented, critically analysed, exchanged and respected.
  3. Learning is a collaborative and empowering process for self and others.
  4. Learning is thoughtful and reflective.
  5. Learning requires integration with prior knowledge and other arenas of knowledge development in the program.
  6. Preparation for lectures and seminars and reading the recommended texts and references is essential.

The content of this unit has been designed to maximise both online and face-to-face learning to integrate the subject matter.

Students are expected to:

  • Complete all activities
  • Complete readings
  • Complete all assessments
  • Attend all classes

It is also recommended that students:

  • Keep a record of new terminology that is introduced in this unit
  • Keep a copy of assessments and other correspondence
  • Make notes on unit content and readings

There will be learning activities linked to all lecture materials which are designed to encourage students to deliberate and reflect and to provide opportunities for further learning. The activities are designed to help students think through and practise the specific skills and general concepts presented in this unit as well as provide valuable learning opportunities.


Recommended Readings

  • Bennett, B., Green, S., Gilbert, S., & Bessarab, D. (2012). Our voices: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social work.  Palgrave Macmillan

  • Morseu-Diop, N., (2017). Healing in Justice: Giving a Voice to the Silent and Forgotten People.  Magpie Goose Publishing.


  • Australian Social Work
  • ADVANCES: Journal of Social Work and Welfare Education
  • Australian Journal of Social Issues
  • Critical Social Work
  • Journal of Social Work Education (USA)
  • Journal of Social Work (UK)

Academic Misconduct

Ethical conduct and academic integrity and honesty are fundamental to the mission of ACAP. Academic misconduct will not be tolerated by the college. Please refer to the Academic Misconduct Policy for full details.


This unit outline may be updated and amended from time to time. To ensure you have the correct outline please check it again at the beginning of the trimester. For a list of required textbooks for the upcoming trimester, please click here.