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Aboriginal Histories and Cultures in Teaching Essay


Why do teachers need an understanding of Aboriginal histories and cultures? Give an example of a lesson in your subject area using an Indigenous perspective?

I believe that it is vital for teachers to have an in-depth understanding of Aboriginal culture and history because these professionals shape the worldviews of Australian students. Learners need to appreciate the national heritage or values, and this goal can be achieved only with the help of educators (Harrison, 2009). This is one of the aspects that I can identify. Apart from that, learners need to know the effects of colonization and how the nation historically developed into its current state (Craven, 1999). These are the main aspects that should be considered.

Moreover, I would like to say that teachers should refute negative stereotypes and myths about Aboriginal people (Tickner, 1992). For example, according to a popular stereotype, Native Australians are more prone to alcoholism; however, this assumption is just a myth that is not backed up in any way. Yet, in order to identify these stereotypes, they should understand the history of people who inhabited the country. This is another issue that I can single out. Finally, it is critical to show how racism can stigmatize a person or a group of people. This is why I believe that teachers should know how the history of Aboriginal people in Australia was shaped.

It is possible to provide an example of a lesson that includes an aboriginal perspective. For instance, very often, teachers have to discuss the history of many Australian cities such as Sydney or Melbourne. However, an educator can attract the learners’ attention to the experiences of Aboriginal people who were also affected by the urbanization of Australia. In my view, such a lesson can give the student a better idea about Aboriginal history.

Give a short explanation of the Aboriginal Terms of Reference (ATR). Give an example of how you can apply this process in your future teaching.

As far as I understand, the term Aboriginal Terms of Reference can be defined as a set of rules which should ensure that the values and perspectives of Aboriginal people are taken into account by policy-makers (Oxenham et al., 1999). Moreover, Garvey (2001) points out that these values and perspectives should be incorporated into the cultural life of Australia. In my view, this argument is also important because the cultural heritage of this ethnic group is not familiar to the majority of the population. According to Morgan and Slade (1998), Aboriginal Terms of Reference can help students better understand the cultural heritage of their country. Additionally, these rules are important for improving healthcare in Aboriginal communities (Tickner, 1992; Paradies, 2006). Apart from that, Beresford, Partington and Gower (2012) say that Aboriginal Terms of Reference are meaningful principles that are critical for raising living standards in the aboriginal community. For example, they contribute to the conservation and preservation of existing natural resources, especially forests. These issues should be considered by public administrators who shape the policies of a country.

These principles can be applied to the teaching process, especially in those cases, when it is necessary to examine the history of Australia, its political development, or social changes within a country (Rodriguez, 2004; Harrison, 2009). For instance, I may speak about the music, literature, or artworks created by Aboriginal people when discussing the culture of Australia. In particular, it is possible to speak about the famous rock paintings that are located in the Kimberley. In this way, a teacher can help students appreciate the culture of this region. On the whole, this approach can give learners a more comprehensive idea about the Australian community (Craven, 1999). I believe that this strategy is more productive since it can widen the outlooks of students. This is the main benefit that can be attained in this way.

Reference List

Beresford, Q., Partington, G & Gower, G. (2012). Reform and Resistance in Aboriginal Education. Perth: UWA Press.

Craven, R. (1999). Teaching Aboriginal Studies. St Lenards, N.S.W: Allen and Unwin: Aboriginal perspectives on History DETWA (APAC). Web.

Garvey, D. (2001). Boongs, Bigots, and Bystanders: Indigenous and non-indigenous experiences of racism and prejudice and their implications for psychology in Australia. In M. Augostionos & K, Reynolds (Eds), understanding prejudice, racism and social conflict (pp 43-54). London: Sage.

Harrison, N. (2009). Teaching and Learning in Indigenous Education. Victoria: Oxford University Press.

Morgan, D & Slade, M. (1998). A case for incorporating aboriginal perspective in education. The Australian journal of indigenous education, 26 (2), 7-12.

Oxenham, D., Cameron, J., Collard, K., Dudgeon, P., Garvey, D., Kickett, M., Kickett, T., Roberts, J & Whiteway, J. (1999). A dialogue on indigenous identity: Warts ‘n’ All. Perth, Western Australia: Gunada Press, Curtin indigenous research center.

Paradies, Y. (2006). Beyond black and white: Essentialism, hybridity and indigeneity. In journal of sociology, 42 (4), 356.

Rodriguez, L. (2004). But who are you really? Life Writing, 1 (1), 97-108.

Tickner, R. (1992). Rebutting the myths: Some facts about Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islander affairs. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service. Web.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Aboriginal Histories and Cultures in Teaching." February 3, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/aboriginal-histories-and-cultures-in-teaching/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Aboriginal Histories and Cultures in Teaching'. 3 February.

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