New resources to help teachers integrate Indigenous perspectives into classrooms

New resources to help teachers integrate Indigenous perspectives into classrooms

Indigenous Affairs
Friday, 07 December 2018

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

Night sky with image of emu imposed on stars. Some stars are named: Antares, Canopus, Achemar, Saturn. The letters E and S appear at base of image.

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Curricula Project will provide primary and secondary school teachers with ways to incorporate Indigenous perspectives into all key subjects.

Developed by the University of Melbourne, the resources for teachers are centred on 3 themes: Astronomy, Fire and Water.

Within each theme are lesson guides and activities that cover 7 of the 8 learning areas of the Australian Curriculum: English, Mathematics, Science, Humanities and Social Sciences, the Arts, Technologies, and Health and Physical Education.

For example, when teaching English to Year 5 students, a guide is included on how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures use oral histories to transfer their intricate knowledge of the sky and landscape. For Year 8 Mathematics, there is a guide on solar and lunar eclipses and how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have developed and maintained knowledge about these over thousands of years.

The resources provide a starting point for teachers to incorporate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures within their classrooms.

The resource will provide a level of standardisation for teaching these concepts within Australian schools, taking into account that these concepts vary between the many cultural and language groups across Australia.

Due to a lack of familiarity with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge, teachers have reported a fear of including this content in their classroom lessons. Combined with time and priority pressures, they tended to push these concepts into the ‘additional other’ basket.

Professor Marcia Langton AM, Foundation Chair of Indigenous Studies at the University of Melbourne, is the Curricula Project Chair.

‘It is our hope that this work will support teachers to include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander curriculum content in their classrooms – normalising inclusion – so it is seen as an integral element of their curriculum delivery’ Professor Langton said.

The resource package for the Astronomy theme is now available for educators’ feedback, with Fire and Water to be released in 2019.

Read more at Curricula Project