The deconstruction exercise
An assessment tool for enhancing critical thinking in cultural safety education
The ‘deconstruction exercise’ aims to give non-Indigenous health profession students the ability to recognise language that is imbued with power imbalance, so as to avoid the perpetuation of racialised ways of interacting with Indigenous peoples in the health system. Informed by Ngarrindjeri and Malak Malak perspectives, this is a measured anti–racism strategy, one able to address unexamined, racist language in a manner that avoids the emotive or combative nature of unstructured discussions around the impacts of racism. ISSN: ISSN 1837-0144 © International Journal of Critical Indigenous Studies 29 We argue that once a health care professional is able to exhibit decolonised language, together with a re-orientation towards decolonised practice, a door opens; one vital for the development of a more-effective, culturally-safe practitioner. In an academic setting, this ‘Ngarrindjeri way’ has shaped the deconstruction exercise, which ensures that students are ‘having the hard conversations’ in a pragmatic manner that challenges ‘whiteness’, whilst honouring each student’s dignity, on a learning journey that is informed by Indigenous methodologies.