The story, culture and voice of Australia's First Nation People is important and needs to be heard...
At the start of 2022, when we ran the numbers in Edufolios, standard 2.4 was one of the most neglected focus areas across the board.
The reality is that some of us feel really nervous about moving into this space.
We fear that we will say or do the wrong thing
and we may even tell ourselves that we don’t have First Nations students at our site so we don’t have to do this..
I get it, my own portfolio is woefully low on evidence of how I support reconciliation by learning and sharing First Nations histories, cultures and languages. Why? Because it feels like I’m likely to tread on something very sacred and I am terrified that I will say the wrong thing. There is most definitely a sense of a deep, painful wound that needs to be healed. I’ve recently come to realise how important our role as teacher is on that pathway to healing. If we can share the history and the stories of the First Nations people of Australia we can work towards shared knowledge and healing through understanding. In fact, I’d go as far as saying it’s vital for our future. That’s why there are two specific Teaching standards that address First Nations-related priorities and a cross Curricular priorities for us to address.
but it’s not easy. I’m a white woman, with an English background. There’s a strong sense of imposter syndrome there (Hello blame…Hello shame…) … for a number of reasons and so I would often feel like I have no place talking about First Nations perspectives.
My solution might be to go and find an aboriginal person to share their stories… but then I realise that this chick from Birmingham has absolutely no connections to anyone who would fit that bill.
Then it all goes in the too hard basket and the cycle continues….. unless…. we can find a way forward. A way forward in understanding and compassion. Just one small step at a time….
Let's take a small step towards a deeper understanding of Australia's first nation's people and what we can do as educators using the Australian Curriculum and the AISTL standards.
This week I am joined by Stewart Bogle and Emily Haegi from Australians Together and I’m sharing my learning journey with you live on the podcast!
Both Stewart and Emily have been on their own journey as educators developing an understanding of First Nations people’s perspectives. So much so that their passions have led them to work with educators to help heal a wound in our nation created by our history and… honestly, our apathy. I can totally relate to the feeling they share of the moment you begin to understand that actual truth of what happened here in this beautiful land. Can you? Is there a sense of social injustice that you can connect with?
I can remember the moment this hit for me. I was teaching “Australia Studies” in a school in Adelaide. A Pom, who’d just moved to Adelaide and was learning (through the textbook) about some of the things that my British ancestors chose to do when they landed here. I was horrified. Shocked and, honestly. really angry. I can tell you now, that in the UK we do not hear these stories either. Not even a little bit. We have no idea.
Interestingly, it seems, there’s a generation of Aussies who are int he same boat. There are many of us who were also never given the opportunity to understand, to connect and help heal this wound.
The reality is we are all a part of that chapter. We are all Australian Citizens and so, like it or not, we are a a part of the story. So are our students.
You are part of writing that new chapter. We can either choose to add to the ignorance by not being brave enough to take a step towards understanding or we can address our fears, take those steps (even small ones to start with), and begin to work with our community to do our part to heal that wound in our nation.
This is powerful stuff. This is a really important conversation, and I am so honoured to make some space for it here on the podcast.
I have learnt so much from Emily and Stewart. Things that have helped me to better understand the importance of these conversations and… HOW I can be part of that without the shame, the blame or the fear overwhelming me.
This is an incredibly valuable conversation, and I am sure that you will get so much out of it. Make sure you let us know in the comments… Here’s what you’ll gain by tuning in….
- Join me on a very raw and vulnerable learning journey towards a deeper understanding of why I’m avoiding 2.4
- Understand how to move from stuck and overwhelmed to understanding some small steps you can take right now.
- Consider how our own cultural understanding of some subjects , like history, is influencing our ability to understand and connect with First Nations perspectives.
- Learn about some amazing resources that available to you right now to help you make the connections you need between your curriculum areas and First Nation’s cultures, histories and languages.
- How the standards direct us to build and promote understanding and respect for First Nations people through our teaching and how you begin measuring your impact (with your students, your colleagues or at your site) in this very important aspect of our teaching.
- What to do with the language of the standards…. and how intimidating it is (let’s be honest). Who here has a “broad understanding of ATSI cultures and histories when graduating uni? .. and that’s even before we get to proficient.
- Put down the fear and be inspired and impassioned towards action
- Get permission to be imperfect in your approach and see this as an opportunity to learn how to take small steps
- Gain access to some amazing resources to create some structure for your journey (see the further links below)
Don’t forget to share the reflections you right with @Edufolios on any social platform you like! We can’t wait to read them!
Further Reading and Support
- Language and Terminology guide – https://australianstogether.org.au/resources-2/languageandterminologyguide/– this is a guide as opposed to a rule book.
- Learning Framework – 5 key ideas https://australianstogether.org.au/learning-framework/OR teachers can download it from our Education A great tool for teachers when planning and writing their own curriculum resources that cover the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures cross-curriculum priority.
- Heroes of Changeresources, for NAIDOC Week and beyond…
- Professional learningfor graduate, proficient, highly accomplished and lead teachers, as well as ancillary staff.
- A one-hour Exploring Culture Video, which can be completed by anyone interested in building understanding and empathy in relation to this area.
- The Building Confidence Workshop, which comprises four one-hour sessions that can be split up over a series of days or staff meetings, or completed across a single PL day.
- The Australians Together Curriculum Resourcespage, where teachers can access all our free resources, all 101 of them!