Resources for teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander learners

14 NOVEMBER 2018

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students are no different to any other member of a class, rather it is the notion of engagement and how the student is engaged in learning that is different. As with all students, considerations should be made effectively and cater for the learning needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and engagement practices.

If an identified Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student is not present in your classroom, it is difficult to demonstrate Standard 1.4 Strategies for teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander learners in your practice. Instead, a teacher could

  • observe the teaching practice of a teacher who has an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student in their class; or
  • engage in professional conversations with a teacher who has an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student in their class.

It is mandatory for all students to learn Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives. Presently there are six Key Learning Areas of the curriculum which require Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives to be included in teaching. These are

  • English
  • Arts
  • History
  • Geography
  • Civics and citizenship
  • Languages

When planning for the teaching and delivery of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspective in the curriculum, which meets Standard 2.4 Understand and respect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to promote reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, it has to be known that teachers and schools are not on their own. Support can come from

In addition, the following resources can assist the teaching of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

Standard Inquiry matrix

This matrix can help you understand the correlation between your inquiry and the APST. It shows the stages of the inquiry process and lists the relevant descriptors at each stage. This resource also provides examples of evidence of practice for descriptors that can be more challenging to evidence such as standards 1.4, 1.5, 1.6 and 2.4.

The eight-way framework of Aboriginal Pedagogy 

This framework provides eight interconnected pedagogies to support and include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander learners. These pedagogies are also useful for all learners.

AITSL

AITSL provides illustrations of practice for a number of descriptors of the APST. Simply click on “Proficient” and go to standards 1.4 and 2.4 to see real examples of practice related to these descriptors.

AITSL has a range of other resources and research relating to standards 1.4 and 2.4. Search ‘Aboriginal’ in the search bar to find the most up to date and relevant resources.

Cultural awareness modules

This resource by the Department of Education and Training consists of three modules, which provide advice, process and practical suggestions to what teachers should know and be able to do in order to teach Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander learners and to teach all learners about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander learner’s languages, history and culture.

Respect, Relationships and Reconciliation

This website provides three modules relating to standards 1.4 and 2.4. The information is targeted at pre-service teachers; however, it can still provide useful information for you to develop your practice in these areas as a registered teacher.

Deadly questions

The Department of Premier and Cabinet offers a public space for Aboriginal Victorians to discuss history and how it affects their lives today. The site features a wide range of questions and answers, with answers provided by Aboriginal Victorians. A useful resource to use with learners in an education setting and to deepen your understanding of Aboriginal history and culture.

VCAA

The VCAA website includes an outline of Learning about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and culture. Included is a table which list each of the content descriptions and elaborations that include references to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures. This resource ensures teachers know and can develop approaches that could be used in the classroom to teach Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures.