The start of the school year is always a busy time. It is filled with ‘new’ – new classes, new students, new relationships, new approaches. Flurries of activity aimed at settling students into routines and practices that support learning, growth and confidence. It is a well- practiced juggle for teachers who quickly make strategic decisions to benefit their students as they deliver a wealth of knowledge and opportunities to explore new thoughts, approaches and skills.
Delivering Aboriginal perspectives is one of the many things that teachers need to consider. The what, when and how of including First Nations content are different for every class teacher. Getting it right can feel daunting but the most important thing is to start. Starting is the beginning of finding a groove that works for you and your students.
Here are my top 5 tips for getting started.
1. Acknowledge Country
Acknowledging Country is a great place to start. It supports students to recognise the Traditional Owners of the area and can start a conversation about why recognition is important and how we can all show respect and work with local Aboriginal communities.
Your class might like to develop their own acknowledgement – this can be a great discussion among peers as they work together to create a genuine and heartfelt recognition of First Nations people and their connection to the land we all live on.
Displaying an acknowledgement and including it as part of your morning routine is a strong way to start the day, setting a tone of respect.
2. Represent First Nations in your classroom
Including visual representations of First Nations people in your classroom is an easy way to make our culture and stories part of your every day and can act as conversation starters with students. Look for artwork, posters, information about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander role models. First Nations calendars and classroom décor packs (like the ones included with your Wingaru Kids subscription) can be a great addition to any room. See the Additional Resources section of your Dashboard.
3. Plan for inclusions
Planning when you are including your Aboriginal content can ensure it doesn’t get lost or bumped when things get busy. What’s that saying? – failing to plan is planning to fail. Include your ideas and resources in your planning documents so they are easy to access and implement. Be realistic in your planning – better to plan and achieve one or two inclusions that plan for a lot and achieve none. You can always revise your plans and add more as you are ready.
4. Have Quality Resources Ready
Having resources ready can make including First Nations content easier. Choose resources that are Aboriginal-led and if you are buying resources buy from First Nations sellers as these purchases support Aboriginal people and communities. Aboriginal business are more likely to employ Aboriginal staff as well as support community initiatives. Choosing Aboriginal-led resources ensures that your content has a true First Nations voice, not the perspective that a non-Aboriginal person thinks is correct. To check if a resource is Aboriginal-led look to see if the organisation is led by Aboriginal people and if you can’t identify the person or where they are from don’t be afraid to politely ask.
5. Professional Learning
Aboriginal education can be confronting but as you develop confidence and knowledge it will get easier. Seek out professional learning opportunities that support you as you develop your practice in this area. There are some great courses that have been developed by Aboriginal educators (like these Wingaru ones). Also, if you use social media, follow Aboriginal educators who are sharing their knowledge, ideas and resources. Many will also share opportunities like free webinars and events. Another place to expand your knowledge is at local Aboriginal events. Go along and get to know your local Aboriginal community. It’s amazing how insightful a yarn can be and the knowledge you can take away.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.