Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives in schools - A guide for school learning communities

 
Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives in schools - A guide for school learning communities
Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait
                     Islander Perspectives in schools
                     A guide for school learning communities

Tomorrow’s Queensland:
strong, green, smart, healthy and fair
Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives in schools - A guide for school learning communities
2   Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives in Schools
Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives in schools - A guide for school learning communities
Contents
Minister’s message. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

The context for change . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

The EATSIPS framework: An overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

Section 1 – What is EATSIPS?                                                                                                                     13
    Aims of the EATSIPS guide. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13
    Embedding the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives framework . . . . . . . . . . .13
    School leadership and educational leadership . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15

Section 2 – The EATSIPS framework                                                                                                                17
    Components . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17
    Benefi ts. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17
    Whole-school ethos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17
    Planning processes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18

Section 3 – What are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives?                                                                         21
    Defi ning perspectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21
    Rethinking perspectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22
    Personal histories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22
    Attitudes and perceptions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24

Section 4 – Whole-school ethos                                                                                                                   27
    Professional and personal accountabilities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28
    Curriculum and pedagogy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29
    Organisational environment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30
    Community engagement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32

                                                                                                                                                         3
Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives in schools - A guide for school learning communities
4   Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives in Schools
Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives in schools - A guide for school learning communities
Section 5 – Classroom ethos                                                                                                             35
    Curriculum and pedagogy in the classroom. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35
    Planning and developing curriculum materials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35
    Professional and personal accountabilities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38
    Awareness of your organisational environment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38
    Assessment and reporting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39
    Understanding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge frameworks . . . . . . . . . . . .39
    Understanding your students and their community . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40
    Developing strong community partnerships . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40
    Understanding language and appropriate language use . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41
    Understanding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander protocols . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43
    Critical understanding and review of texts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43

Section 6 – Planning with EATSIPS                                                                                                       45
    CASE STUDY/ EATSIPS in action: One secondary school’s journey,
    Rockhampton State High School . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45
    CASE STUDY/ EATSIPS in action: One primary school’s journey,
    Marsden State School . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47
    CASE STUDY/ EATSIPS in action: One teacher’s practice,
    Loganlea State High School. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .48

Section 7 – Measuring change: The implementation process                                                                                53
    The implementation process – a strategy for improving outcomes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .53
    How to implement EATSIPS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .56
    Actioning EATSIPS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .59

Appendices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61
    Appendix 1 – Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .61
    Appendix 2 – Strategies for embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
    perspectives in curriculum and pedagogy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .63
    Appendix 3 – Strategies for embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
    perspectives in the school’s organisational environment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .67

References. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72

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Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives in schools - A guide for school learning communities
6   Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives in Schools
Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives in schools - A guide for school learning communities
Minister’s message
                      Aboriginal and Torres Strait       It is also a key priority of the national Aboriginal and
                      Islander history, language         Torres Strait Islander Education Action Plan 2010–
                      and culture are integral to our    2014 which was endorsed by education ministers
                      national identity. There are       in each state and territory in April 2010. The Action
                      more than 455 028 Aboriginal       Plan outlines actions that will be undertaken at
                      and Torres Strait Islander         the national, state and local level. A key systemic
                      people in Australia. Some          level action is that: ‘Education providers will deliver
                      28 per cent of people who          professional learning to teachers to ensure high
                      identify as Aboriginal or Torres   levels of cultural and linguistic understanding and
Strait Islander or both Aboriginal and Torres Strait     competencies to inform the best teaching strategies
Islander origin (127 580 people) live in Queensland.     for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students’.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students
                                                         The EATSIPS guide focuses on systemic change,
represent 8.4 per cent of state school students
                                                         and personal and professional accountability when
within Queensland.
                                                         incorporating Indigenous perspectives into our
Many of these Indigenous students arrive at school       school culture, curriculum and pedagogy. It aims to
speaking their home language, which could be             further equip our school leaders and teachers with
Aboriginal English or a Creole, and even one or more     more in-depth knowledge, understanding and skills
Indigenous languages or a combination of these           to teach Indigenous and non-Indigenous students
(MCEETYA 2006, p. 17). Standard Australian English       with confi dence and without prejudice.
is not the home language of many Indigenous
                                                         Schools are able to broaden their understanding of
students. This mismatch between home and school
                                                         Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives
language has directly impacted on Indigenous
                                                         through implementing a whole-of-school strategy
students’ achievement in literacy and numeracy in
                                                         in a way that refl ects on the past, responds to the
the long term (MCEETYA 2004; Warren and de Vries
                                                         present and creates systemic change for the future.
2008).
                                                         Student and community engagement in learning are
Although over the past 20 years progress has
                                                         key drivers of Indigenous academic achievement,
been made in the participation, retention and
                                                         so the guide also aims to strengthen partnerships
completion rates of Indigenous students within
                                                         between school staff and local Indigenous
Queensland schools, current statistics demonstrate
                                                         communities, supporting inclusive education and
that Indigenous students still are not succeeding at
                                                         improving the educational outcomes of Aboriginal
the same rate as non-Indigenous students within
                                                         and Torres Strait Islander students.
various educational priority areas.
                                                         The Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
                                                         Perspectives in schools (EATSIPS) guide is a living
perspectives in schools is a key action for the
                                                         document that can be accessed in both hard copy
department under The Queensland Government
                                                         and online. As we live in a world that is constantly
Reconciliation Action Plan, released in June 2009.
                                                         changing, the department commits to reviewing the
Implementing this initiative will help to close the
                                                         document every two years to ensure the content is
gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous
                                                         kept up-to-date and relevant.
Australians in life expectancy, educational
achievement and economic opportunity.

                                                         G  ff Wil
                                                         Geoff Wilson MP
                                                         Minister for Education and Training

                                                                                                                    7
Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives in schools - A guide for school learning communities
Acknowledgments
          The EATSIPS guide and materials are made possible through the efforts and
          contributions of many people over a long period of time, especially the *Indigenous
          community members from across the state who continually provide an enormous
          amount of advice and direction to Queensland schools.
          *
            The term Indigenous is used throughout this document to describe Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait
          Islander peoples of Australia. ‘Indigenous’ means ‘belonging naturally to a place’; this acknowledges
          Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the fi rst peoples of Australia.

              Warning: This guide may contain the names and images of Aboriginal and Torres
              Strait Islander people now deceased. It also contains links to sites that may use
              images of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people now deceased.

8   Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives in Schools
Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives in schools - A guide for school learning communities
The context for change
Why do schools need to change?                           The third cultural space recognises that Indigenous
                                                         communities have distinct and deep cultural and
An understanding of and respect for Australia’s          world views — views that differ from those found in
Indigenous peoples — their personal histories,           most Western education systems. When Western
beliefs and values, languages and lifestyles — is        and Indigenous systems are acknowledged and
important in many ways. Research tells us that it        valued equally, the overlapping or merging of views
helps when, as educators, we meet the educational        represents a new way of educating.
needs of our Indigenous students in very practical
ways — we can improve attendance, retention and          In the diagram that follows, the black circle
workplace participation.                                 represents Indigenous ways of knowing, being and
                                                         doing, and the red circle represents Western ways.
Weaving the Indigenous story into the fabric of          The middle yellow overlapping circle is the third
education through teaching about Indigenous              cultural space.
cultures and perspectives in schools has been
identifi ed nationally as key to improving outcomes
for Indigenous peoples.
                                                           The third cultural space
Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
perspectives will enhance the educational
experiences of non-Indigenous students as well.
It will not only give them a more accurate and richer
understanding of Australia’s history and culture, it
will help them to understand how we got to where
we are today; and how we might move forward
together. It’s about reconciliation.
Teachers, students, parents and principals — we all
bring our own perspectives, our own ways of seeing          The yellow centre represents spaces of not knowing —
the world, through the school gate. Indigenous and          third cultural space of innovation and creation.
non-Indigenous — we all bring our share of ‘cultural        Model by JDavis (2008).
baggage’; our assumptions about the ‘other’. Some
of our histories are separate and culturally unique,
while some of our histories are shared.
                                                         The ‘third cultural space’ process draws on the
There is a call for educators and institutions
                                                         rich Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories;
to build bridges between the Indigenous and
                                                         perspectives; ways of knowing, being and doing
Western knowledge systems to achieve meaningful
                                                         (Martin 2009), balanced symbiotically alongside
outcomes, for Indigenous students in particular
                                                         Western ways of knowing, being and doing. The
but for all students in general. The challenge still
                                                         middle ground or the third cultural space represents
remains: how does one build bridges between the
                                                         a new way of working (Bhahba 2004; Yunipingu
Western scientifi c and disciplinary knowledge and
                                                         1989).
the Indigenous ‘responsive, active eco-logical’
knowledge that views ‘language, land, and identity       Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
as interdependent in a unique way and constantly         Perspectives in Schools: A guide for school learning
renewed and reconfi gured’ (Williamson & Dalal,          communities presents a framework or blueprint for
Christie cited in Klenowski 2008, p. 11).                supporting change in schools regarding education.
                                                         It is about a change in thinking. It describes a way to
It is important for us to acknowledge and respect
                                                         create a cultural space that is shared and rich in the
each others’ perspectives — our ways of seeing
                                                         histories of Indigenous peoples.
the world — and to fi nd that place where we can all
meet, grow and learn. Perhaps the response to this
challenge is the creation of the third cultural space.

                                                                                                                   9
Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives in schools - A guide for school learning communities
The EATSIPS framework:
        In 2004, the Embedding Aboriginal and Torres        The department also believes that any training
        Strait Islander Perspectives in schools: P–12       should occur under the guidance and leadership
        School Guidelines for Administrators and            of the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
        Educators, a building block in Partners for         community, with Crossing Cultures and other
        Success (EATSIPS), was launched during NAIDOC       cultural competency training packages, such
        Week. From 2004 to 2008, many schools               as leadership training provided by the Stronger
        across Queensland used these guidelines.            Smarter Institute, as essential components of
        In 2008–09, as part of a larger research and        the implementation of EATSIPS.
        implementation strategy, six EATSIPS project
                                                            The Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait
        offi cers were employed to assist schools in
                                                            Islander Perspectives in Schools: A guide for
        implementing EATSIPS. During this time, the
                                                            school learning communities is a result of this
        EATSIPS framework was trialled in more than
                                                            collaborative work with educators in schools,
        42 schools across Queensland.
                                                            classrooms and workshops, as well as work
        EATSIPS as a process is comprised of three          with Indigenous communities on engaging with
        elements:                                           teachers.
        (i)   this EATSIPS guide                            It is organised into seven sections:
        (ii) EATSIPS implementation                         (i)   Section 1 explains EATSIPS and identifi es
                                                                  how the framework supports school
        (iii) EATSIPS online.
                                                                  leadership and teachers.
        This three-part process provides our school
                                                            (ii) Section 2 outlines how the framework
        learning communities with the scope and tools
                                                                 provides clarity and resources for schools
        to better embed Indigenous perspectives across
                                                                 and teachers.
        the state. Case studies demonstrating positive
        effects of the process, online course materials     (iii) Sections 3–5 unpack the framework
        and tools for principals and teachers have                components.
        been developed, trialled and reviewed. These
                                                            (iv) Sections 6 and 7 present the practical
        materials will continue to develop as EATSIPS is
                                                                 application of the framework, providing
        more widely recognised as an ongoing process
                                                                 resources to support planning in schools
        within schools.
                                                                 and measuring change.
        The Department of Education and Training
        believes the development and implementation
        of cultural awareness and cultural competency
        training is best done at the local level.

10   Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives in Schools
An overview
     In 2009, the Australian Curriculum, Assessment               EATSIPS also aligns with the Queensland
     and Reporting Authority (ACARA) began                        College of Teachers’ Professional Standards for
     developing the Australian curriculum. ACARA                  Queensland Teachers framework.
     commits to ensuring that its curriculum work
                                                                  These frameworks articulate core values,
     acknowledges the need for all Australian
                                                                  knowledge, skills and attributes that, when
     children to ‘understand and acknowledge
                                                                  incorporated into practice, enable employees to
     the value of Indigenous cultures and possess
                                                                  deliver high quality outcomes in their work.
     the knowledge, skills and understanding to
                                                                  As teachers implement Embedding Aboriginal
     contribute to, and benefi t from, reconciliation
                                                                  and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives
     between Indigenous and non-Indigenous
                                                                  in schools: A guide for school learning
     Australians’ (Melbourne Declaration on
                                                                  communities they can identify how their
     Educational Goals for Young Australians).
                                                                  teaching processes and practices link to the
     Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander                        knowledge, skills and abilities identifi ed in
     perspectives are written into the national                   the two professional standards for teachers
     curriculum to ensure that all young Australians              frameworks.
     have the opportunity to learn about,
                                                                  This guide is a tool for strengthening teaching
     acknowledge and respect the history and
                                                                  practice through refl ection, which is a key
     culture of Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait
                                                                  process underpinning the EATSIPS framework.
     Islander peoples.
                                                                  In using this guide, educators are asked to
     The curriculum documents will be explicit                    consider the following questions:
     about how the perspectives are to be taught in
                                                                  •   What is my role in embedding Aboriginal and
     each learning area and how links can be made
                                                                      Torres Strait Islander perspectives?
     between learning areas.1
                                                                  •   What role do Aboriginal and Torres Strait
     The EATSIPS framework supports teacher
                                                                      Islander perspectives play in the curriculum
     professionalism through alignment with
                                                                      for all students?
     the department’s existing Professional
     Standards for Teachers and Leadership Matters                •   How do I include the perspectives in my
     frameworks. The framework will also align with                   work?
     the National Standards as they are developed
                                                                  •   How does embedding Aboriginal and Torres
     and implemented by the department.
                                                                      Strait Islander perspectives throughout
                                                                      the whole school environment promote
                                                                      Aboriginal and/ or Torres Strait Islander
                                                                      student success?

1
    www.acara.edu.au/ aboriginal_and_torres_strait_islander_education.html [accessed 13 May 2010]

                                                                                                                     11
12   Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives in Schools
What is EATSIPS?
Aims of the EATSIPS guide                                      2. Whole-school ethos
The EATSIPS guide is a tool for schools to use                 •   Created by the shared language that describes
to help them to build long lasting, meaningful                     accountabilities, curriculum and pedagogy,
relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait                    organisational environment and community
Islander people to improve Indigenous                              partnerships.
student learning outcomes, and to provide all
Australian students with an understanding of, and              3. Classroom ethos
respect for, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander             •   Created by pedagogy and practices that impact
traditional and contemporary cultures.                             on student participation and outcomes.
The guide uses a framework that:                               Creating a ‘third cultural space’ allows a school
•     defi nes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander           community to work towards helping Aboriginal and
      perspectives                                             Torres Strait Islander students to be stronger and
                                                               smarter in their journey through lifelong learning.
•     promotes an Indigenous standpoint that
      challenges and supports existing structures              This approach has been adopted with success.
                                                               Loganlea State High School and Knowledge House,
•     focuses professional refl ection, planning and           in Logan City, one of the biggest Indigenous
      practices around the four components                     populations in the South East region (12.2%), uses
      — professional and personal accountabilities;            this most effective practice model. Refer to the Dare

                                                                                                                            Section
      community engagement; organisational                     to Lead article for more information on this best
      environment; and curriculum and pedagogy                 practice model.2
•     provides tools for schools to engage with                Loganlea State High School trebled its Indigenous
      Indigenous community members in a                        enrolments by following holistic learning and the
      meaningful way.                                          delivery of place-based learning, nyumba bugir anga
                                                               — a ‘three-way’ process known as PLACE; FACE;
Embedding the Aboriginal and                                   SPACE (Davis et al. 2008).
Torres Strait Islander Perspectives
framework                                                           I love my community, we are a strong
                                                                   community, our culture is strong …Last year
Operating within the framework are three elements                  we had 50 Indigenous students and families

                                                                                                                            1
that work together to create a strong school and                   attending school (student population is 700
community culture. Schools need to create a ‘third                 students), now we have over 100, coming
cultural space’, a place where we can all meet,                    from bad habits to go further.
grow and learn. The elements through which we                      KD, DURITHUNGA, Student Leader
do this are:

1. Personal refl ections
•     Our knowledge and understanding of personal
      histories, attitudes and perceptions inform our
      expectations of students and impact on student
      participation and outcomes.

2
    www.daretolead.edu.au/ servlet/ Web?s=169694&p=STORY_Loganlea_State_HS_QLD [accessed 13 May 2010]

                                                                                                                       13
Personal refl ect i ons

                                                      Professional
                                                     and personal
                                                    accountabilities

                                                      &            Per
                                                   es                 ce

                                           ud

                                                                          pt
                                                                             ion
                                               t
                                        At t i

                                                                                s
                         Community                                                  Organisational
                         engagement                                                  environment

                                                                      i es
                                                   Pe
                                                    so

                                                                   or
                                                                      t
                                                     r   nal     Hi s

                                                         Curriculum
                                                            and
                                                         pedagogy

                                      Critical                   Understanding
                                   understanding                  Indigenous
                                    and review Co                  knowledge
                                      of texts                    frameworks
                                                                                            Awareness
                  Understanding
                                                                                             of your
                   Indigenous
                                                                                          organisational
                     protocol
                                                                                           environment

           Understanding
                                         Embedding                                                Developing
           language and
             appropriate
                                         Indigenous                                                 strong
                                                                                                  community
            language use                perspectives                                             partnerships

                 Understanding                                                             Professional
                 your students                                                            and personal
                   and their                                                             accountabilities
                  community
                                                                    Planning,
                                     Assessment                    developing
                                                                                                                     h os
     Wh                                                                                                           et
                                         and                     and evaluating
                                      reporting                    curriculum
        ol e                                                                                                 om
            -sc                                                     materials
                                                                                                           ro
               hoo                                                                                       ss
                  l et h                                                                             Cl a
                              os

14   Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives in Schools
School: Loganlea State High School                                  •   Come to intimately know the framework and its
                                                                        underpinning philosophy.
The Knowledge House at Logan City, South East
Queensland, is an example of the third cultural                     •   Support good practice and facilitate change
space in an urban context. It is a valued and                           where necessary across the whole school
recognised space for cultural infusion. It exists as                    environment.
a powerful process for community, school staff and                  •   Articulate a position of quality teaching and high
students to access, promote and bring to life the                       expectations for Indigenous students.
ideal of lifelong learning. Knowledge House does
this in reality by the processes it has embedded.                   •   Lead and take part in embedding Aboriginal
Central to this process is the notion of multiple                       and Torres Strait Islander perspectives in their
perspectives for complex challenges, sitting and                        schools’ philosophy and practice.
yarning with people to get the best forward traction.               Strategies
Community involvement in curriculum planning and                    Strategies that may assist school leaders,
development, valuing the social and cultural context                particularly principals, in this process include:
of the learner and acknowledging the power that
exists in Indigenous communities goes some way                      •   participation in the Stronger Smarter Institute3
to moving schools from the traditional silo model, a                •   seeking advice from EATSIPS offi cers in your
separate institute of power and control, to laying the                  region4
foundations for community hubs of learning which
value and promote lifelong learning for all.                        •   seeking advice from Indigenous Schooling
                                                                        Support Unit (ISSU) staff
      Teachers who don’t have the knowledge                         •   linking to other national programs such as What
      come and fi nd out what they don’t know …                         Works5
      They come and we invite them to come to                       •   ensuring active participation/ involvement of
      Knowledge House …                                                 heads of department, heads of curriculum and
      Belinda Wilson in Davis et al. 2000                               deputy principals.

                                                                    School values
School leadership and
                                                                    A school refl ects the collective values of the
educational leadership                                              individuals in the school, the school leadership
We don’t see the world as it is. We see the world as                and the community in which it is located. It does
we are (Gandhi).                                                    this through day-to-day activities, particularly
                                                                    in the ways in which it communicates its ethos
Principals seek to evoke a passion for learning
                                                                    to the people who work in the school and to the
and believe that every child is important and every
                                                                    community. This can be done, for example, through
school day makes a difference to the achievement of
                                                                    newsletters, the school prospectus or handbook,
outcomes. (Leadership Matters)
                                                                    and the uniform. The dominant values embedded
The EATSIPS guide supports principals as leaders                    within the schooling system in Australia are drawn
in developing intercultural capabilities by providing               from Western cultures; even schools with high
strategies that allow individual and whole-of-                      proportions of Indigenous students may fi nd that
school refl ection and action across professional                   the school organisational environment refl ects
and personal accountabilities, curriculum                           Western values more strongly than Indigenous
and pedagogy, community engagement and                              Australian values.
organisational environment.
                                                                    As a part of embedding Aboriginal and Torres
                                                                    Strait Islander perspectives, school staff will look
Actions for school leaders
                                                                    at the ways in which the school refl ects the values
•     Advocate for embedding Aboriginal and Torres                  of Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander
      Strait Islander perspectives in their school as               peoples. Developing and redefi ning values is a
      part of the implementation of the Australian                  slow process. It requires a shift in mindsets and
      Government’s Closing the Gap on Indigenous                    a commitment to work explicitly to build a sense
      Disadvantage: the Challenge for Australia policy              of pride in Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait
      and The Queensland Government Reconciliation                  Islander people’s values, beliefs and perspectives.
      Action Plan 2009–2012, across the school and
      school community.
3
    www.strongersmarter.qut.edu.au/ [accessed 13 May 2010]
4
    www.learningplace.com.au/ ea/ issu-csq [accessed 14 May 2010]
5
    www.whatworks.edu.au [accessed 13 May 2010]
                                                                                                                             15
16   Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives in Schools
The EATSIPS framework
This section introduces the components of the           Benefi ts for school leadership and teachers:
EATSIPS framework and shows how the framework
                                                        •   increases cultural competence, including the
aligns with exiting school and classroom processes
                                                            capacity to interact effectively with people from
and practices.
                                                            other cultures

Components                                              •   creates opportunities to provide representations
                                                            and challenge:
The three components of the framework are:
                                                            – dominant viewpoints
Personal refl ections                                       – media representations
•   Refl ecting on knowledge and understanding of           – negative stereotypes
    personal histories, attitudes and perceptions,
    building a sense of self and knowledge and              – racism.
    understanding about others and the impact           Benefi ts for students:
    they have on each other; for example, refl ecting
                                                        •   enhances a strong sense of self-identity and
    personally and professionally using a holistic
                                                            pride for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
    planning and teaching framework.
                                                            students
Whole-school ethos                                      •   provides Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
                                                            students with an understanding of how attitudes

                                                                                                                     Section
•   Looking at ways in which the school refl ects the
    value of Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait           and perceptions are formed and how to respond
    Islander peoples; for example, acknowledgment           to negative attitudes
    of Country and school planning process.             •   provides non-Indigenous students with
                                                            Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewpoints.
Classroom ethos
                                                        Benefi ts for the Indigenous community, parents and
•   Looking at ways in which teachers use their         carers:
    curriculum and pedagogy processes and
    practices to provide a balanced inclusive           •   increases opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres
    curriculum; for example, cooperative planning           Strait Islander community decision-making and
    and yarning circles.                                    engagement in the school.

Benefi ts
The framework helps Indigenous students to be
stronger and smarter in their journey through
lifelong learning. However, it is focused on
                                                        Whole-school ethos
                                                        The EATSIPS implementation plan below is
                                                        designed to complement the planning processes
                                                        of developing key improvement strategies,
                                                                                                                     2
improving learning for all students and delivers        performance measures and targets for Indigenous
benefi ts to the whole school and community.            education in Queensland schools. This process is
                                                        explored further in Section 6.

                                                                                                                17
Planning processes
     The School Planning, Reporting and Reviewing
     Framework For Queensland State Schools – 2010
     details the school improvement processes of
     planning, reporting and reviewing to be enacted in
     Queensland state schools to implement state and
     national reforms, and to ensure improved learning
     outcomes for all students.
     Short term — operational plans and budgets are
     developed in consultation with, and endorsed by,
     the school’s Parents and Citizens Association/
     School Council.
     Long term — strategic plans — this process
     involves collaborative planning with the whole
     school community on how it will improve student
     achievement, monitor school performance and
     provide direction for the operational planning.6
     Many school Parents and Citizens Associations may
     not have Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
     represented, therefore engaging and consulting with
     other existing Indigenous community organisations
     within the local area outside the school may also
     be necessary. Operational plans and strategic plans
     need to refl ect the whole school community.

               Figure 1: Operational Plan (OP)

     6
         www.education.qld.gov.au/ strategic/ accountability/ pdf/ sprr-framework.pdf [accessed 13 May 2010]

18   Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives in Schools
Figure 2: EATSIPS Implementation Plan

Implementation process and planning tools designed and developed by Penny Hamilton 2008.

                                                                                                2

                                                                                           19
20   Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives in Schools
What are Aboriginal
and Torres Strait
Islander perspectives?
This section shows how the framework has been                     treated; not as a commodity or resource, but as
designed to help leadership teams and teachers                    an extension of the group and something to be
refl ect on personal knowledge and the effects                    nurtured.
perspectives may have on student learning
                                                                  In some areas, a unique localised culture and
expectations and outcomes.
                                                                  language has developed out of the historical union
                                                                  of many different Aboriginal groups. Communities
Defi ning perspectives                                            developed from missions, government settlement
What are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander                    and reserves have a rich cultural heritage and
perspectives?                                                     tradition based on oral histories, shared beliefs
                                                                  and values, and individuals. These communities,
•   Perspectives are ways of seeing the world.                    therefore, may have developed a wider perspective

                                                                                                                             Section
    Perspectives affect the way we interact with                  of cultural diversity than other Indigenous
    the environment and the perceptions we have                   communities.
    about ourselves, our culture and the way we see
    others.                                                       Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
                                                                  maintain cultural identity whether in urban, rural
•   Personal and family experiences, group and                    or remote locations, and engage in a range of
    religious affi liations, linguistic understandings,           cultural practices. For example, Indigenous housing
    media, text and visual representations, cultural              cooperatives and health services are recognised
    beliefs and values all contribute to individuals’             strength nodes (Dillon & Westbury 2004) in all
    perspectives or standpoints.                                  contexts, from urban to remote.
•   Perspectives are not limited to a particular way              Within urban settings these sites become safe
    of viewing or experiencing the world from one                 spaces within a dominant Western society to

                                                                                                                             3
    specifi c group or cultural perspective. Individual           reconnect and be provided with safe opportunities.
    and collective identities contribute to the various           These will differ depending on personal experiences
    perspectives we hold.                                         and background.
In many areas, localised Aboriginal culture is                    Some collective perspectives and knowledge are
closely aligned to nature and the environment, with               shared among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
particular emphasis on cycles and patterns and                    peoples, whereas individual and family experiences
the effect each has on the other. It is based on an               and local history also infl uence individual
undeniable link to the land, language and culture.7               perspectives. Although many books and education
These links also affect perspectives. For example,                materials will provide an ‘Indigenous perspective’,
close ties to Country by some Aboriginal cultural                 these generalisations are often misleading and
groups affect the way the land is perceived and                   inappropriate, causing the homogenisation of
                                                                  Indigenous peoples.
7
  Queensland Studies Authority 2001, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Senior Syllabus:
www.qsa.qld.edu.au/ 10-12/ 8848.html [accessed 13 May 2010]
Education Queensland The holistic learning and teaching framework:
www.education.qld.gov.au/ learningplace/ onlinelearning/ courses/ courses-hptf.html [accessed 13 May 2010]
www.education.qld.gov.au/ schools/ indigenous/ services/ cultural-local.html [accessed 13 May 2010]

                                                                                                                        21
Rethinking perspectives                                                 As part of the EATSIPS process, both Indigenous and
                                                                             non-Indigenous staff are encouraged to redefi ne
     It is not a one-way view of the world                                   the way they consider Aboriginal and Torres Strait
                                                                             Islander perspectives, to challenge their own attitudes
     Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives                      and perceptions, and to become a part of a lifelong
     are inclusive of non-Indigenous peoples’                                learning process in working together in a mutually
     perspectives.                                                           respectful way for the benefi t of all students.
     Perspectives on Australian history, local and                           Current practice and incorporating Aboriginal and
     national developments should not be viewed as                           Torres Strait Islander ways of thinking is seen through
     separate to Indigenous perspectives on Australian                       the holistic planning process designed from a Djirribal8
     history. Each event and circumstance has impacted                       perspective. This, alongside processes like Yarning
     on another, for example, colonisation has impacted                      Circles (Bennett 2004) and Indigenous Knowledge
     on Indigenous peoples and Indigenous peoples                            Principled Processes (Sheehan 2001), provides ways
     have impacted on local and regional development.                        where we learn through Aboriginal culture not about
     EATSIPS encourages schools to rethink the ways in                       Aboriginal culture —an important shift.
     which Indigenous perspectives are conceptualised,
     and in particular, the way in which Indigenous                          Personal histories
     perspectives have been positioned as something
     that exists at the margins of mainstream education                      Refl ecting on personal knowledge
     policy and programs.                                                    — my history, my beliefs, my attitudes
     Consider the following:                                                 Consider three distinct areas when refl ecting:

     •   The majority of principals, school leaders and                      1. the personal histories of Indigenous Australians
         teachers within schools are non-Indigenous,                         2. the personal histories of the local area
         possibly with limited experiences of working
         with or socialising with Indigenous people.                         3. the personal histories of non-Indigenous
                                                                                Australians.
     •   Non-Indigenous perspectives are fi ltered through
         Western ways of knowing and doing.                                  The task for schools is to identify and articulate the
                                                                             different perspectives of staff on issues (events,
     •   The majority of history written about Indigenous                    knowledges or people) and the impact of these.
         peoples has been recorded and researched by
         non-Indigenous people.                                              Refl ection questions

     •   The majority of mainstream media                                    1 Why do I hold particular perspectives?
         representations of Indigenous peoples are                           2. How were my perspectives formed?
         mediated by non-Indigenous people.
                                                                             3. Who and what infl uenced these perspectives?
     •   Most Indigenous education resources and
                                                                             4. Where and how do they impact on my work
         programs existing today have been developed
                                                                                within the school and community?
         and delivered by non-Indigenous people.
                                                                             5. Do I need to rethink my position on Aboriginal
     Teachers and schools need to consider the
                                                                                and Torres Strait Islander perspectives in my
     implications of a non-Indigenous perspective for
                                                                                school’s policies and teaching and learning
     an understanding of both the nation’s past and
                                                                                processes and practices?
     ongoing relationships between Indigenous and non-
     Indigenous Australians, and how these perspectives                      Discussions should be guided by the following
     impact on what is taught and learnt in the school                       premises.
     environment.
                                                                             1. The personal histories of Indigenous
     Recognising the shared effects that history and
                                                                             Australians
     events have on the various parties, and the place
     of Indigenous Australians within the educational                        Personal histories of Indigenous peoples are
     context, will assist in shaping and designing an                        not representative of a type of knowledge, often
     education system that is inclusive of Indigenous                        labelled as ‘traditional knowledge’, or a type of
     perspectives. It will also assist teachers to present                   history, ‘cultural confl ict’ or ‘white or black’. They
     diverse cultural knowledge, experiences and                             are individual perspectives or positions on personal
     attitudes in a positive way.                                            histories that have been produced through multi-

     8
       The Djirribal frame – the Holistic Planner – is designed by Uncle Ernie Grant a Djirribal man. It is a teaching and learning tool which
     enables educators to see and understand issues or themes or plan from a Djirribal perspective (Grant 2000).

22   Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives in Schools
layered and multidimensional interactions, personal        Both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people within
experiences and events.                                    Queensland have had differing levels of contact with
                                                           each other. This contact created a shared history
The following points contribute to personal
                                                           of the local area that continually impacts on the
histories:
                                                           peoples, the landscape and the school.
•     Since colonisation, the space that Aboriginal and
      Torres Strait Islander peoples have occupied and
      interacted within Australia is complex.
                                                               It is important to consider
•     Indigenous history and Australian history have
                                                               How colonial history has impacted on an
      often been positioned as separate.
                                                               understanding of traditional custodianships
•     Much of the written media about, or on,                  and access to lands:
      Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
                                                               •   struggle for land rights
      is written through a Western framework for a
      Western purpose.                                         •   oral history and written record
                                                                   inconsistencies
•     The construction of Aboriginal peoples
      and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the               •   disputes over language boundaries and
      manipulation of Indigenous knowledges (editing,              traditional custodianship rights.
      selection) has infl uenced the way Indigenous
      people have interpreted who they are and who
      they ought to be.                                    At times, confusion around these issues has
                                                           contributed to a breakdown of some relationships
•     Personal histories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait   within the local community.
      Islander peoples are based on experiences and
      infl uences from both Western and traditional        This complex history impacts on attitudes and
      knowledge systems.                                   perceptions of:
•     Experiences and infl uences are complex,             •   Indigenous peoples to non-Indigenous people
      interrelated and individual, and are collective      •   non-Indigenous people to Indigenous peoples
      narratives of the past mediated by individuals
      and communities.                                     •   traditional custodians to other Indigenous
                                                               peoples.
Martin Nakata (2007) describes this well:
                                                           A limited understanding of the local history makes
Even in the way we now understand ourselves,               it impossible to fully understand the current local
we defi ne ourselves primarily in our difference to        context and position of Indigenous and non-
others and the descriptions and characteristics of         indigenous peoples. A clear understanding will
this difference have been fi rmly developed within         create a strong picture of how the school was
Western knowledge tradition.9                              developed within this complex history, and how it is
                                                           perceived by various peoples.
2. The personal histories of the local area
                                                           Schools will benefi t from understanding the
The personal history of the local area impacts on          family relationships within the local Indigenous
the understanding of the local environment and             community, their particular associations to the
the attitudes and perceptions of local Indigenous          Country where the school is located and their
people and non-Indigenous people, and of the               association to their traditional lands. These issues
school’s position in the local area.                       should be considered and sensitively negotiated by
The local environment/ region contains evidence of         both Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.
ancestors, of creation times, of time before time,         When implementing EATSIPS, it is important to
of the relationships between the sky, landforms,           consider at all times how this history impacts on the
waterways, plants, animals and people, of                  school processes, individual and collective beliefs,
relationships between other Indigenous groups,             attitudes and behaviours, and Indigenous peoples’
of language use over time, of colonisation, loss,          participation in the school.
change, life stories, family histories and current
realities. A rich tapestry of knowledge exists to
describe the local area from Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander peoples’ perspectives that extend
back generations, through more than 120 000 years
of occupation.
9
    Nakata 2004, p. 198.

                                                                                                                   23
3. Personal histories of non-Indigenous
     peoples                                                       Attitudes and perceptions
     The framework supports non-Indigenous educators               Perceptions are how one sees the world,
     as professionals to refl ect on their understanding           and how information and knowledge about
     of their own history and cultural perspectives, as            the world are processed and constructed.
     this will assist in understanding how personal                This world view both limits and creates
     attitudes and perceptions of Aboriginal and Torres            possibilities for learning. Many dimensions of
     Strait Islander peoples are formed. It helps to refl ect      an individual’s background such as cultural,
     on personal behaviours and how they impact on                 linguistic and social, infl uence personal
     Aboriginal people, particularly students. Cultural            perceptions. Attitudes are the emotional
     backgrounds, religious belief, family histories               reactions and physical responses to the world.
     and individual experiences (including those with              They are both conscious and unconscious,
     Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander peoples) will           being tied to strong emotions and patterns of
     also impact on the attitudes and perceptions of               behavior. Negative attitudes and perceptions
     Indigenous peoples.                                           of Indigenous peoples are entrenched into
     Non-Indigenous people have various stories and                the fabric of Australian society, and continue
     narratives that represent a collective world view             to infl uence the way teachers work with
     of mainstream Australia. Non-Indigenous people                Indigenous students. In order to change the
     represent many cultural backgrounds and countries             current status of Indigenous student success
     of origin other than Australia. These countries,              in the schools, we must fi rstly seek to label,
     including the religious and cultural values, continue         reveal and reframe the root cause of these
     to infl uence individuals and families.                       attitudes and perceptions. This is at both an
                                                                   individual and collective (or institutional) level
     These factors contribute to the diversity of non-             (Dreise 2004).
     Indigenous cultural histories and may also reveal:
     •     class difference and privilege, which may be
           based on the acquisition of land                     Attitudes refer to the opinions and responses
     •     negative interactions with Indigenous people         people have to a variety of circumstances, others
           during non-Indigenous settlement of the local        and themselves. They include physical and
           area                                                 emotional positions, either conscious or
                                                                unconscious, that are present, especially while
     •     racist attitudes held by family or the wider         interacting with others. These attitudes are active in
           community                                            daily life and can affect individuals (self and others)
     •     activism and support on Indigenous land rights       in positive or negative ways.

     •     infl uence/ acceptance of Indigenous values,         Perceptions in this context refer to the world views
           cultural practices and languages.                    of individuals. They consider the way knowledge
                                                                is gained, mediated and constructed, and how
     Prior to European contact (colonisation), Australia        situations, events and peoples are understood.
     was once a multicultural country, with over 200
     self-suffi cient nations, with strong governance           Personal histories impact on attitudes and
     and social structures. While deemed multicultural          perceptions, so too attitudes and perceptions
     today, Australia has a predominantly Western-              impact on personal histories.
     based culture and knowledge base, which is often           Attitudes and perceptions affect a person’s ability to
     labelled as European or English-based (infl uenced         learn. For example, if students view the classroom
     by Christianity), but with many minority groups,           as an unsafe and disorderly place, they are unlikely
     including Indigenous Australians and Australians           to engage in learning. Similarly, if students have
     from all parts of the world.                               negative attitudes about classroom tasks, they
                                                                will probably put little effort into those tasks. In
                                                                this case, a key element of effective teaching is
                                                                helping students to establish positive attitudes
                                                                and perceptions about the classroom and about
                                                                learning.10

     10
          These examples have been take from McCrel

24   Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives in Schools
Indigenous student attitudes will be diverse and          In the same way, attitudes and perceptions of
refl ect a range of responses to their world, including   school leaders, teachers, support workers and
attitudes and perceptions towards:                        parents will impact on the EATSIPS process.
                                                          Professional and personal accountability of the
•   land, waterways and the environment
                                                          EATSIPS framework requires individuals to be willing
•   school and school staff                               and committed to a learning journey. If attitudes
                                                          and perceptions impact on learning, then one must
•   others (Indigenous and non-Indigenous)
                                                          refl ect on these attributes, and how their personal
•   themselves (for example, body image and               history has informed these, to enable genuine
    personal identity)                                    participation in the process.
•   culture
•   family
•   personal relationships.

    CASESTUDY
    Refl ecting on personal knowledge:                    My response was, “ my tactile teaching strategies
                                                          allow the kids to learn their way” .
    One teacher’s journey
                                                          I have continued to build on my professional
    – Robyn Gooley                                        capabilities and personal knowledge beyond
    ‘The personal history – my history, my beliefs,       my initial experiences at Yarrabah by educating
    my attitudes.                                         myself and building relationships with
    Throughout my personal life, I had very little        Indigenous people and culture at a local level
    experience of, or contact with, Aboriginal            in a number of school settings. I have actively
    and Torres Strait Islander people. What I had         participated in the EATSIPS Committee (see
    constructed in my mind came from mainstream           Section 6), and I recently accepted a leadership
    media, family and the Western education               position at the Indigenous Knowledge House in
    system that excluded Aboriginal and Torres            Logan City. I now share responsibilities with a
    Strait Islander peoples’ cultures, traditional or     dedicated team, including an Indigenous teacher
    contemporary. The implications for me as an           aide, tutor and representatives of the Indigenous
    individual and educator really meant that I had:      community.

    •   a limited understanding and knowledge of          I now know that it’s essential to work within the
        Australia’s shared history                        cultural context and to listen to the perspectives
                                                          of the local community. I have come from “ a
    •   no insight into, or understanding of, the         place of not knowing” . My intentional journey
        Indigenous language and its impact                has led me to a place where I seek to understand
    •   no knowledge and understanding of the             other perspectives to become the best possible
        signifi cance of local history                    teacher I can be.

    •   little or no understanding of Indigenous          My advice to all other educators is, while I have
        protocol.                                         taught in multiple settings within Queensland,
                                                          I believe that, as an educator, it doesn’t matter
    When I arrived in Yarrabah, building my               where and who you teach, understanding your
    knowledge and understanding allowed me to             students and their community is part of your
    very quickly engage the Aboriginal and Torres         professional and personal accountability. You
    Strait Islander kids. Community people and            have to keep growing as an individual and
    colleagues wondered how I managed to do this          constantly remind yourself of your own cultural
    after only a limited time at the school. They         capacity.’
    asked, “ why are those kids talking to you, they
    normally only talk to teachers after a month?”

                                                                                                                 25
26   Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives in Schools
Whole-school ethos
Embedding Aboriginal and Torres                                   Each action area is focused around specifi c
                                                                  strategies for embedding Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander perspectives:                                     Strait Islander perspectives into the ethos of the
the four action areas                                             school and the school community. Implementing
                                                                  EATSIPS requires schools to work holistically and
The EATSIPS framework focuses school planning and
                                                                  simultaneously across a number of areas of the
change around four action areas (professional and
                                                                  school in developing sustainable practices and
personal accountabilities; community engagement;
                                                                  increased outcomes across a range of targets.
organisational environment; and curriculum and
pedagogy) underpinned by two refl ective attributes               Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
(personal histories and attitudes and perceptions).               perspectives is often seen as a curriculum issue.
                                                                  EATSIPS targets strategies far broader than the
Through a focus on each of the four action areas
                                                                  curriculum and provides opportunities for systemic
and an increased consciousness of the infl uence
                                                                  change across the whole school and community
that the refl ective attributes have on these, schools
                                                                  environment.
can work towards embedding Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander perspectives. The aim is to embed
Indigenous perspectives to a level where they
become an integral part of the school’s philosophy
and practice.

                                                                                                                            Section
                                                         Professional
                                                        and personal
                                                       accountabilities

                                                         &             Per
                                                      es                  ce
                                             ud

                                                                              pt
                                                                                 ion
                                                 t
                                          At t i

                                                                                    s

                          Community
                          engagement
                                                                                        Organisational
                                                                                         environment
                                                                                                                            4
                                                                          i es
                                                     Per

                                                        on
                                                                       or

                                                                          t
                                                         s

                                                          al         Hi s

                                                             Curriculum
                                                                and
                                                             pedagogy

                                                                                                                       27
Curriculum and pedagogy form a part of the four         The reframing of attitudes and perceptions has
     action areas of EATSIPS. However, each area is          been described as cultural baggage or unpacking
     essential in embedding Aboriginal and Torres            whiteness. Chris and Grace Sarra, in their refl ections
     Strait Islander perspectives. The other action areas    on the powerful shifts in Cherbourg State School
     include community partnerships, organisational          and the current Stronger Smarter Institute,
     environments, and professional and personal             link transformational shift in relation to high
     accountability.                                         expectations and understanding the social and
                                                             cultural context of the learning environment. Grace
     The philosophical position of EATSIPS is visionary
                                                             Sarra says that understanding cultural baggage is
     and seeks to move schools into a process whereby
                                                             ‘our responsibility’ as teachers.
     reconciliation is a lived and experienced reality.
                                                             We need ‘to be aware of our own social and cultural
     Professional and personal                               baggage we bring to the classroom’
                                                             (Sarra 2008, p 17).
     accountabilities
                                                             This process of understanding our cultural baggage
     Within the possibilities of schooling, it is teachers   is about examining what it means to be privileged
     and their practices that have the most effect on        on the basis of physical appearance, and through
     student learning (Lingard et al. 2003).                 belonging to a dominant mainstream culture.
     Department of Education and Training employees          Attitudes and perceptions developed through
     are professionally accountable for including            personal histories and cultural perspectives (critical
     Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives      cultural theories) are explored, unpacked and
     within their professional practices. It is important    reassessed. This process extends from personal
     that teachers and leaders commit to leadership          journeys to systemic racism, misrepresentations
     roles within their school to ensure that Indigenous     and omissions of Indigenous peoples in texts,
     perspectives are woven into the fabric of the           media, policy, practices and institutions.
     school environment. This collective professional        Implications for your school involve developing a
     accountability will support the EATSIPS process.        deep personal refl ection on:
     However, this professional accountability will not      •   attitudes to, and perceptions about, Aboriginal
     enable a person to fully engage in the EATSIPS              and Torres Strait Islander peoples
     process. It may, in fact, be the starting point for
     many, or an institutional recognition of what they      •   privilege based on belonging to the dominant
     are already doing. Individual staff members need to         culture
     be open to this process, personally committed and       •   underlying values and beliefs and how they
     accountable for their own actions.                          might have developed into attitudes and
     The EATSIPS process involves reframing non-                 perceptions
     Indigenous staff attitudes and perceptions about        •   the infl uence these may have in the way school
     Indigenous peoples, and Indigenous staff attitudes          staff interact with each other, students and the
     and perceptions about Indigenous peoples.                   community.
     This also extends to the school community through
     partnerships and engagement processes that will         Working to embed Aboriginal and Torres Strait
     assist in altering the attitudes and perceptions of     Islander perspectives provides opportunities to
     staff, students and the school community over time.     commence this process with systemic support.
                                                             As this process is ongoing, it is important for school
     This reframing process invites school leaders,          leaders to monitor the process appropriately,
     teachers and education workers, Indigenous and          respond to negative attitudes and perceptions
     non-Indigenous, to consider their own background        as they arise, support staff in their personal
     and experiences, and to refl ect on their personal      revelations, and enhance the opportunities for
     attitudes and perceptions in relation to their own      positive actions to occur.
     personal history.

28   Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives in Schools
Strategies                                                        •   relationships and behaviours among students
                                                                      and teachers.12
•   Examining personal histories — when individuals
    examine their own position in today’s society                 These elements are interconnected and provide
    and the infl uences from their past and their                 the experiences that contribute to student
    family’s past, they can acknowledge, understand               learning. Each of the four components of the
    and respect the impact that personal histories                EATSIPS framework (professional and personal
    have on the different positions — work-related,               accountabilities, community engagement,
    economic, social, political — that people have                organisational environment, and curriculum and
    within Australian society today.                              pedagogy,) and the refl ective attributes (attitudes
                                                                  and perceptions; and personal histories) are either
•   Journal keeping — enables individuals to refl ect
                                                                  included in, or impact strongly on, the curriculum
    on where they have come from and where they
                                                                  offered by the school.
    are now. Journals can also help to create the
    capacity for self refl ection needed for changing             The P–12 Curriculum Framework is the overarching
    attitudes and perceptions created through a                   framework that captures the curriculum
    dominant paradigm.                                            requirements from Prep to Year 12. It outlines the
                                                                  intended curriculum learning requirements of the
•   Focus groups — joining or creating a focus group
                                                                  early phase, middle phase and senior phase of
    for professional and personal accountabilities
                                                                  learning as specifi ed in the Early Years Curriculum
    assists school staff in sharing journeys at
                                                                  Guidelines; Queensland Curriculum, Assessment
    a personal level. It also assists in building
                                                                  and Reporting Framework (1–9) Essential Learnings,
    relationships and extending individual learning
                                                                  and in the Queensland Studies Authority’s senior
    through sharing of experiences and responses.
                                                                  syllabuses, nationally endorsed training packages
    Reconciliation groups can also assist in this
                                                                  and nationally accredited vocational education and
    process.
                                                                  training courses.
•   Professional commitment which is ongoing and
                                                                  Using the EATSIPS framework still enables staff to
    systemically sustained — establish processes
                                                                  adhere to policy, principles and guidelines found
    for staff to showcase their professional
                                                                  in the P–12 Curriculum Framework whilst working
    (and personal) learning journey. In one-to-
                                                                  towards systemic change through implementing
    one meetings, staff can be provided with
                                                                  the Closing the Gap policy and The Queensland
    opportunities to share where EATSIPS has
                                                                  Government Reconciliation Action Plan and
    impacted on their professional role within the
                                                                  associated strategies.
    school.
                                                                  The P–12 Curriculum Framework clearly articulates
Curriculum and pedagogy                                           high expectations for all students, including
                                                                  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students,
The curriculum and pedagogy action area supports                  valuing the resources they bring from their home
teachers and is focused around the classroom                      and communities.
context of the school. Curriculum is all the planned
learning that is offered and enacted by a school.11               A curriculum for all promotes:
Pedagogy is the function or work of a teacher; it is              •   learning environments that value and respond to
the art of teaching and the various instructional                     diversity
methods used in the learning and teaching
                                                                  •   use of a range of resources appropriate to
process. Current educational terminology describes
                                                                      students’ learning needs, and that refl ect
pedagogy as a critical component of the curriculum.
                                                                      students’ identities
Curriculum is much more than a syllabus, which
                                                                  •   relationships and behaviours between students,
outlines what is to be taught. It is dynamic and
                                                                      and between teachers and students, that are fair
encompasses the:
                                                                      and respectful.
•   learning environment
                                                                  These principles focus on equity and begin with
•   resources                                                     planning with a consideration of students’ prior
•   teaching approaches and strategies                            knowledge, interests and concerns, aspirations and
                                                                  needs, and gifts and talents. This provides a basis
•   assessment programs and methods                               for motivating and engaging students in learning,
•   values and ethos of the school                                and targeting teaching to maximise each student’s
                                                                  achievements.
11–12
      P–12 Curriculum Framework, Policy, Principles and Guidelines for Queensland State Schools, Education Queensland 2008
www.education.qld.gov.au/ curriculum/ framework/ p-12/ docs/ p-12-policy.pdf [accessed 13 May 2010]

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