Including an Aboriginal perspective gives students the opportunity to consider concepts from another angle as well as adding interesting content that kids enjoy.
One of the things that has become clear since I started Wingaru is that there is a lot of confusion about what exactly an Aboriginal Perspective is. Many people think of adding Aboriginal perspectives as introducing whole units of work. As you can imagine, this becomes very overwhelming when you consider how crowded the curriculum is. It is not surprising that so many teachers put Aboriginal Perspectives in the too hard basket.
If we start looking at Aboriginal perspectives as simply looking at a topic from an Aboriginal point of view, the task becomes less daunting. Adding an activity exploring the Aboriginal point of view to an existing unit of work is an easy way to add more Aboriginal content to your classroom.
The lessons on Wingaru Kids are an easy addition to existing units being taught in classrooms every day. Here are a few examples of how we can help you add more Aboriginal perspectives.
Over the last week we have been honouring Black Diggers for their service. I am overwhelmed by the response! Every single person who has served for this country deserves the highest respect and I have seen that this week. The pride the Aboriginal community has for our soldiers is heartwarming. It is great to see Black Diggers getting the recognition they deserve.
I have learnt a lot and been privileged to hear the stories of great people. I hope schools start to include Aboriginal soldiers in their ANZAC lessons and am proud of the resources we offer to support this.
I am fortunate enough to call Uncle Ken Canning a friend and am excited to share, with his blessing, one of his poems. You can download a printable version at the bottom of this post.
You will find more of Uncle Ken's work at https://vagabondpress.net/products/ken-canning-burraga-gutya-yimbama.
Author Burraga Gutya (Ken Canning)
Hail!! You brave men.
You gave your all,
Not for King or Queen
but for country.
in your heart.
All wars all battles,
the strong Black Diggers
stood tall proud
and gave honour
to all Peoples
of this land.
Fires of war
some came home
to be shunned
your fought for,
the brave Black Digger,
as brave as those
in our frontier wars.
You once more
were cast out by
a callous country.
allowed to speak
to those you fought
so valiantly beside.
humble Black Digger,
we your Peoples,
still amongst us,
stand tall in honour.
For at the going down
of every sun,
we shall always
BRAVE BLACK DIGGERS.
Burraga Gutya (Ken Canning)
One of the visions I have for Wingaru is that we are able support people to consider Aboriginal perspectives in a new way. By making information more accessible and providing complete packages of resources that support a range of learning outcomes, Aboriginal perspectives can easily be included regularly and not just limited to the designated ‘Aboriginal unit’ or ‘Aboriginal week’ that a lot of schools have delivered in the past.
I feel very strongly that we need this change. Many kids are still leaving school with little education about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People, culture or history. They are going unprepared into a world that now requires them to have an understanding of these issues. As a society we are stuck in conversations that should be over. But this progression can’t happen without the development of a shared knowledge base and for this to develop we need to make a concerted effort to include Aboriginal perspectives in the classroom regularly.
I love it when teachers tell me that they are including more Aboriginal content in their classrooms and not just being limited to standard designated topics. An easy example is including a lesson on how Aboriginal People used astronomy in a unit about planets or including information about Aboriginal Diggers in lessons about ANZAC day or looking at traditional Aboriginal toys as part of a STEAM activity. The possibilities are endless and Wingaru Kids is here to make this easier.
Easter activities are underway in many classrooms around the country and this is a great opportunity to take a different approach and include an Aboriginal perspective. While Aboriginal People did not celebrate Easter, eggs were an important part of customary life – diet, art and ceremony - and all this talk of eggs is a great time to look at how Aboriginal people used eggs. Here are some free resources to help get you started.
It is six months since Wingaru Kids was launched and what a six months it has been! We are now in over 100 schools and the feedback we are getting is overwhelmingly positive. Teachers are embracing our resources and confidently delivering lessons about Aboriginal culture in a way that has not been done before.
Wingaru Education was born out of a desire to fill what I believe is a missing piece in the puzzle that is improving outcomes for Aboriginal people and making real steps towards true reconciliation.
There are many people delivering great programs aimed at Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities however, while many of those programs are successfully changing lives for some Aboriginal people, the overall living, health and education outcomes for our First Nations are not improving and in some cases are even declining.
I can’t help but think that part of the problem is that no one is addressing the need for education for wider communities so that a better understanding of Aboriginal people and culture is developed across the country. And what better place to start but with our future leaders.
Today’s students will one day be leading this country and it is my hope that through broader exposure to the issues impacting on Aboriginal people, the culture we hold so dearly and the development of an understanding of the true history of this country, that those future leaders will be in a position to make better, more informed decisions and work more collaboratively with Aboriginal people and by doing so will drive sustainable change for Australia.
We have a long way to go but as time goes on, I am encouraged by the openness that many teachers have to including more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives in their classrooms.
I think we ask a lot of our teachers and I am proud of the support that the Wingaru team is providing to make their jobs just a little bit easier.
Wingaru Education believes that all children should have access to quality education about Aboriginal people and culture.