When I visit schools there is usually at least one teacher who asks why Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander perspectives are so important. This seems obvious but let’s not forget that Aboriginal education hasn’t always gotten the attention it deserves so we are asking teachers to teach something that they themselves may not have received a lot of education about.
There are so many reasons why this content is important and the motivation will vary from person to person.
It is part of the job – inclusion of Aboriginal perspectives is required by curriculum and the Australian Professional Teaching Standards.
It supports Reconciliation – shared knowledge and understanding is key to reconciliation.
It supports better outcomes for Aboriginal students – Aboriginal kids do better when they can see themselves in the content they are learning. It supports them to feel connected and can build confidence to contribute in the classroom. The whole school participating in Aboriginal content supports a culturally inclusive school environment where Aboriginal kids can feel safe and happy.
It counters misconceptions and stereotypes that feed unconscious bias and racism – correcting negative stereotypes plays a part in reducing discrimination.
It supports truth telling - the true history of Australia should be known by all Australians.
Indigenous knowledge is really interesting – and who doesn’t love learning interesting stuff?
I could go on and on about the benefits of including Aboriginal perspectives, but I want to talk about why finding and understanding your motivation is so important.
Identifying your motivation is part of connecting to content and that connection is what, in my opinion, makes an amazing teacher. Think about the things you love to teach and what it is you love about them. Why did you connect with the content? How do you feel after you have shared your love of it with your students? Channel that energy and explore Aboriginal content until you find a spark.
There are so many opportunities to bring First Nations content into your lessons that there is bound to be something that you connect with. Teachers who include Aboriginal content because they have to, may not feel comfortable or confident in delivering the content and this shows.
How you connect with Aboriginal perspectives can drastically affect the impact Aboriginal content has. Finding your groove not only makes your job easier, it helps shape a better Australia.
Teachers are one of the strongest influencer groups and we need you to share a genuine interest in Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander content. In doing so you can support the next generation to have an appreciation and understanding of our people and the journey that we have travelled to be here today, facing the challenges that we do.
Wingaru Education believes that all children should have access to quality education about Aboriginal people and culture.