We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we work and live, the Dharawal people and the Whadjuk Boodjar people. We recognise their continuing connection to land, water and community. We pay respect to Elders past, present and emerging.
As teachers in Australia, we know it is important to integrate First Nations content and perspectives in our classrooms.
But what if you don’t know what to do?
What if you are scared of making a mistake?
What if you are not sure where to go for the correct information that is helpful and insightful?
Firstly, we want to say that if you feel that way, it is okay. You aren’t the first teacher to have these fears.
That is why we have joined forces with Wingaru. We are collaborating together to help teachers like you build their confidence, knowledge and resource toolkit so you can comfortably teach First Nations content and perspectives.
Where to begin?
It is a curriculum requirement that we teach about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People, their history and perspectives.
Here are some ideas of where to start:
Look at the calendar. Start by implementing lessons around special events (such as NAIDOC Week). Use this as a springboard to teach further lessons.
Lesley at Wingaru, suggests starting where you are comfortable and working towards one lesson per week in your classroom. Every inclusion counts, the important thing is to just get started (check out the free challenge templates at the end of this post for help with this).
Look at credible Aboriginal led resources that can help and support you. Wingaru helps teachers deliver culturally appropriate lessons through their online platform. It has videos, online activities (perfect for rotations) and printables.
This powerpoint presentation is a free resource by Indigenous educator, Teaching with Tanna. Find it here.
Connect with your local First Nations Community. If in doubt, working with community is always the most respectful way for you to embed First Nations content specific to the area in which you live.
Acknowledgment of Country - start each day with an acknowledgement of country in your classroom. There are lots of different templates available to help you create one. Grab this FREE Acknowledgement of Country, created by Aboriginal educator Miss Gibbs, here.
What if I make a mistake or say something wrong?
Firstly, no one is expecting you to be perfect. But not embedding Aboriginal perspectives in your classroom for fear of doing or saying the wrong thing isn’t the answer.
If you are feeling nervous, start small:
Choose a book by an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander author and explore it with your class. Jordyn @learning_to_ngangaanha has an amazing free resource that outlines lots of wonderful texts to explore. Find it here.
Consider topics your class is already exploring and consider it from an Aboriginal perspective.
Deliver a learning experience based on a resource created by an Aboriginal educator. There are some amazing Aboriginal educators in the space who give lots of ideas and support. Check Wingaru's social media, blogs and websites for some great resources.
Invite an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person to visit and talk to your class.
NAIDOC week is coming up which is a perfect opportunity to start as there are lots of opportunities to engage in activities and events. It is a great time of year to start making connections in your local community.
Lots of teachers worry about being tokenistic but if you are genuine in your approach, your offering will be authentic.
“Teachers are one of the strongest influencer groups and we need you to share a genuine interest in Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander content. In doing so you can support the next generation to have an appreciation and understanding of our people and the journey that we have travelled to be here today, facing the challenges that we do. - Wingaru Blog
Where can I go to educate myself?
Here at Rainbow Sky, we have wanted to do the same thing and educate ourselves better. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming to find exactly what you need to help you as an educator.
We recently took one of Wingaru’s Teacher PD courses to help us continue to develop our own understanding. We found the PD to be easy to consume, interesting, to the point and was delivered by educators who were so knowledgeable. You could easily complete a course in a few hours and you even get a certificate at the end if you want to log it as professional development.
Education is key. This is important for us as the educators, and for the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students sitting in our classrooms. Seeking some extra help is definitely worthwhile if you are lacking confidence.
Finally, consulting and working with community is another way to find answers to help you. By inviting local members from the First Nations community to work with you, your staff and students will benefit greatly from learning firsthand.
The challenge is for teachers to commit to doing something weekly during Term 3. Wingaru have come up with a great planner and we will be sharing a range of ideas, resources and practical ways to explore some key themes around the theme of NAIDOC week “Heal Country”.
Find more details and your free planner here.
Also follow these instagram accounts for help:
We are working and learning together to support teachers Australia wide to get involved and grow more confidence in embedding First Nations content and perspectives in the classroom.
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This blog post was written in collaboration with Lesley Woodhouse from Winagru Education.
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