Cathie Burgess - Lecturer

Cathie Burgess is currently a Lecturer in Education and Professional Experience Coordinator at the Koori Centre, University of Sydney. She has extensive experience as a secondary school teacher in a range of subjects in the HSIE (Human Society and its Environment) with expertise in Aboriginal Studies, Aboriginal perspectives across the curriculum, appropriate pedagogical approaches for Aboriginal students and applying a literacy focus to curriculum and pedagogy. This includes previous work as syllabus writer for Stages 4&5 and Stage 6 Aboriginal Studies, Senior Marker & Chief Examiner for Stage 6 Aboriginal Studies HSC Exam and current President of the Aboriginal Studies Association. Cathie initiated the Essay Writing for Koori Kids literacy project and has published 10 black-line masters on Aboriginal issues focussing on the acquisition of literacy skills. This has resulted in state-wide conference, region and school-based presentations in Aboriginal Studies, Aboriginal Education and current issues impacting on Aboriginal students, their families and school communities.

Cathie’s academic interests include social justice education, culturally responsive pedagogy, authentic cultural capacity building, early career Aboriginal teachers and teacher professional learning. All facets of Aboriginal education are the cornerstone of Cathie’s work and includes supporting preservice teachers to include an Aboriginal focus in all areas of their teaching, community directed professional learning, quality teaching, parent and community engagement and improving outcomes for Aboriginal students in the school system.

Conference presentations

Burgess, C. (2012). The role of agency in determining and enacting the professional identities of early career Aboriginal teachers. Paper presented at the Australian Association for Research in Education Sydney, 1-6 December 2012.

Burgess, C., & Cavanagh, P. (2012). Real Stories, Extraordinary people. Preliminary findings from an Aboriginal community-controlled cultural immersion program for local teachers. Paper presented at the Australian Association for Research in Education Sydney, 1-6 December 2012.

Burgess.C (2010). Aboriginal Preservice Teacher perspectives on the Professional Experience. Roundtable presentation at the Australian Teacher Education Association Conference Townsville

Burgess, C. (2009). What good a national curriculum for Indigenous students? AARE Conference, Canberra, 29 November - 3 December 2009. Available at

Burgess, C. & Berwick, C. (2009). Aboriginal peoples perceptions and beliefs about quality teaching. AARE Conference, Canberra, 29 November - 3 December 2009.


Burgess, C. (2012). Aboriginal preservice teacher Experiences in the Professional Experience. The International Journal of Learning. (Vol 18. Issue 3)

Thorpe, K., & Burgess, C. (2012). Pedagogical approaches to teaching and learning in a mandatory Indigenous education subject. The International Journal of Learning, (Vol 18 in press)

Current research

PhD under the supervision of Professor Robyn Ewing and Associate Supervisor A/Professor Dianne Bloomfield on the development and enactment of early career Aboriginal teachers professional identities.

Reviewing the effectiveness of the Connecting to Country Program including the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group Inc. (AECG) the Being Culturally Aware, Becoming Culturally Inclusive: A Pathway to Cultural Competence program across NSW Under the Auspices of the Aboriginal Studies Association . Cathie Burgess & Dr Pat (Paddy) Cavanagh.

Mandatory Indigenous studies in teacher education at the University of Sydney: issues and approaches to teaching and learning. Cathie Burgess & Katrina Thorpe.

University Teaching

Coordination of the mandatory Indigenous Education courses for secondary and PD/H/PE preservice teachers (EDSE 2002 EDUH 2018)

Professional Practices 1; Professional Practices 3; Teaching & Learning: Quality Learning for Aboriginal preservice secondary teachers in the Bachelor of Education Secondary (Aboriginal Studies)

Aboriginal Studies Curriculum Method courses for Bachelor of Education (Combined Degree) and Masters of Teaching (Secondary) students.

Teacher Professional Learning

President, Aboriginal Studies Association 2009 -

Convenor and presenter Aboriginal Studies Association Annual 2 day conference and HSC Student Experience

Coordinator and presenter Aboriginal Studies Association Network meetings (various locations across NSW)

State-wide presentations to teachers of Aboriginal students on the application of the “Being Culturally Aware Becoming Culturally Inclusive: A Pathway to Cultural Competence” Program (NSW AECG. Inc) to curriculum knowledge and pedagogical practices.

Contact Details

Phone: (02) 9351 7002
Toll Free: 1800 622 742
Fax: (02) 9351 6924
Location: Room 214A Old Teachers College