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WHAT'S IN THIS RESOURCE?
This resource provides educators with advice on how to seek support in developing Aboriginal perspectives in K-6 syllabuses, “strategies for starting the consultation, and guidance in developing working relationships with Aboriginal communities.” (BOS NSW, 2008, p.3). By providing teachers and schools with the appropriate protocols for community consultation, it hopes that they will create leading partnerships with Aboriginal communities in which aboriginal people feel welcome and valued in their local school.
Implementation of Aboriginal content and perspectives is necessary in all key learning areas of the K-6 Syllabus. “Aboriginal people alone possess the necessary knowledge, skills and experiences to give authenticity to Aboriginal studies and perspectives in schools” (BOS NSW, 2008, p.2), so the best way for students to learn about Aboriginal History and culture is to listen to the experience of Aboriginal people.
In order to further the shared decision-making process/partnership that schools should have with their local Aboriginal community (or Aboriginal person from a local community organisation if there is no identifiable community in the immediate vicinity), in creating a curriculum with appropriate meaningful Aboriginal content and perspective, local Aboriginal people should be invited to share their insights with students. For example, when teaching the syllabus outcome ‘CCS2.2: Time and Change’, an Indigenous Australian could share stories, identifying customs, practices and traditions of their community.
Upon reflecting on their experience with the speaker, students could look at how involving the local Aboriginal community in their learning of Aboriginal people, contributed to the quality of their learning (which is applicable to outcome SSS2.8 –‘investigates decision-making processes in the school and community…can contribute to the quality of their school and community life’.) The teacher could share her process/the schools process of consulting with local Aboriginal communities in the creation of their curriculum and other aspects of school life, and the protocols that were involved e.g. the respect involved, deciding upon a venue where Aboriginal people feel most comfortable, the recognition given to the speaker for their time etc.
ASSESSMENT TASK/LITERACY STRATEGY:
As “there is not just one view in communities” (BOS NSW, 2008, p.12) but lots of views that are all valid, after hearing from one local Aboriginal speaker on their insight of customs, practices and traditions of their community, in groups, students could do a research assignment on the insights of other local Aboriginal community members. The teacher could set up an interview day at a local community centre (following the protocols for consultation and having informed students of appropriate behaviour) for students to talk with others Aboriginals. Students could be assessed on their reporting, class presentation of their information, and their teamwork.
Interviewing and reporting is a great literacy strategy as it looks at both oral and written literacy.
To sum up, “Aboriginal people are the owners and custodians of their knowledge and culture. They have the right to be consulted when aspects of Aboriginal history and culture are being incorporated into the school curriculum.” (BOS NSW, 2008, p.2)
Aboriginal Services Branch. (2009). Working With Aboriginal People and Communities – A Practice Resource. Retrieved April 11, 2013, from http://www.community.nsw.gov.au/docswr/_assets/main/documents/working_with_aboriginal.pdf
Board of Studies NSW. (2008). Working With Aboriginal Communities: A guide to community consultation and protocols. Retrieved April 11, 2013, from http://ab-ed.boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au/files/working-with-aboriginal-communities.pdf
EVALUATION OF THE ABOVE RESOURCE (Scoop it) USING SELECTION CRITERIA:
Resource published in 2001 (post 1980)
The resource does not provide captions for photographs identifying the names/location of the Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander persons. However it does mention in the ‘acknowledgement’ section that “Peta Hill, who took the photographs throughout this book, is gratefully acknowledged.” (BOS NSW, 2008)
Does not ignore the diversity/complexity amongst Indigenous Australians by informing the reader that “aboriginal peoples throughout Australia have very diverse and complex histories and cultures.” (BOS NSW, 2008, p.3)
BALANCED NATURE OF REPRESENTATION:
No stereotyping/racist connotations.
The resource does not make any mention of Torres Strait Islander people, however “as Aboriginal people are the original inhabitants of NSW; and as the NSW Government only has a specific charter of service to the people of NSW” (Aboriginal Services Branch, 2009) the document only refers to Aboriginal people.
ABORIGINAL AND/OR TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PARTICIPATION+ ACCURACY AND SUPPORT:
The resource was prepared by the Board of Studies NSW, with the support of Cindy Berwick, a descendent of the Wiradjuri nation (in Central NSW), and president of the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group(AECG). It further mentions that the advice given “is based on extensive consultation with the NSW AECG Inc. at state, regional and local levels, Aboriginal educators in all education sectors and a range of Aboriginal community organisations (and) as such, the advice reflects widely accepted protocols across New South Wales.” (BOS NSW, 2008, p.3)
It also lists a number of Indigenous Australians under the acknowledgment section for sharing their “experience and insight.” (BOS NSW, 2008)It also acknowledges that ‘Indigenous peoples from the Torres Strait Islands should be consulted if they are part of the local community.” (BOS NSW, 2008)