I have always been interested in working with other people and having the opportunity to communicate with others. Through communication people find out a lot of new information and share it with others as well. That’s why I have decided to become an educator in future. Teaching people is a constant process of teaching oneself too as every day we discover new things and new facts. But even more important is the following: being an educator we bring light into areas which need it, into special communities which have no access to studying and self-development in this particular field. Such communities are Aboriginal and Torres Strait representatives. They are a special contingency of the population which requires particular attitude and special help, but at the same time it must be done with tolerance, understanding and respect. Pupils from such communities have special needs and treatment in order to get used to a new environment and become a part of it.
In teaching this group of students it is important to to avoid direct eye contact and respect their natural culture. Aboriginal students are not going to answer questions in their classroom becasue they are not taught previously to so this. But they do like to tell stories. just not to answer questions so that this group would do better in a long winded essay type of reply to a learning problem rather than a short one word answer to a question.
The students have a great desire to learn and have high expectations but do not have high outcomes. A good teacher must not see them as an experiement but as an group of students who need to learn of things other than their own culture if they are to take a place in the mainstream.
In the given essay I would like to present the strategies which, in my personal opinion, may be useful in the teaching of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. The choice of methods and approaches must be careful and profound in order to satisfy all the requirements and achieve the desired effect.
First of all, I would like to enlarge on the importance and necessity of educating such communities. Nowadays we live in the era of well-developed society with a wide range of technologies and people are an essential part of it. Being aware of the basic and ground knowledge, understanding the world we live in and processes which surround us is essential for each social group, cultural unity or community. It is necessary for feeling oneself a part of this world and a member of the society.
Secondly, the importance of the special environment for studying representatives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities must be revealed. Those people need special attitude and attention in order to get used to the world which is ordinary for us but unusual for them. Students of those groups should participate in the process of a program and curriculum development for the studying process. It helps to achieve mutual understanding, learn about each other and feel oneself as a real participant of teaching-studying process. Rruki says “Consultation with Aboriginal communities is essential in the development of meaningful Aboriginal perspectives and studies across the curriculum. The involvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the development and implementation of learning programs allows a genuine exploration of Aboriginal history, languages, culture and contemporary issues” (Rruki, 2008). Those social groups are a peculiar feature of the Australian culture and they should be respected and well-treated. It is a false approach to think that those people are ignorant, they have their special education systems and rules, but they just differ from our ones. Price states “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education is not a new phenomenonIn the past, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people identified the skills of their young people and worked together as a community to develop those skills. In this way, young people grew with a sense of purpose about how they would contribute to the group” (Price, 2012). The communities just have different approach to the studying process, but the aim and objectives are believed to be quite alike. This difference was influenced by various surrounding and environment in which we and community members lived in. I have managed to find out about the way of education of the communities’ members and the history of the development of education within their settlements. The representatives of these groups were often called “uneducable”, but there were examples which proved that this tendency was wrong. Children from Aboriginal and Torres Strait societies managed to get high results in education and break the chains of ignorance. These events took place back in 18th century at the area known as Sydney now. The schools, which were created at that time in order to educate children from communities, were not numerous but they managed to change the common belief and this influenced the Constitutional process in the 20th century and giving rights to these groups.
Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population is a significant part of Australian history. Also, the history of those communities themselves is full of sad and negative experiences, with the examples of forced taking children from their families, abuse and racial prejudiced attitude. That’s why it is very important to pay special attention to providing the fair rights to these communities and considering their interest in the curriculum throughout all Australia is a fair thing to do, in order to spread the information about the original settlers of Australia and their culture and inform the population widely. According to Williams-Mozley “There is a real risk that the New National Schools Curriculum will continue the status quo of retaining on harmful silence on both the achievements and historical mistreatment of Australia’s First Nations Peoples. Its omission will deny non-Indigenous students a real and honest understanding of the issues of racism and discrimination that Australia faces today and why the need for reconciliation exists” (Williams-Mozley, 2013). That’s why the necessity of it stands harshly in modern society and educational world of Australia. It is important to show that people of Australia are lack of prejudices and unfair judgments, they respect other cultures and try to live in understanding and peace. I have managed to find out about various programs within universities and colleges which promote and provide education with respect to the communities and their features. One of such programs is Yumi Education, which is present in Tagai state college. Within this program such factors as culture, origin, traditions and customs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait people are considered.
Though the efforts have been made in order to create the cooperation between different social communities, urban and Aboriginal and Torres Trait Islander, the gap between those is still big. Buckskin states “the “gap” between their English literacy and numeracy achievements and those of non-Indigenous counterparts is so large thatit would not be closed for 20 years” (Buckskin, 2013). It is difficult for Aboriginal and Torres Trait Islander children to adopt to the system of education which is not adopted towards them as well. Such pupils require special attention to their needs and peculiarities of their culture and bringing up environment. Understanding their own unsuccessfulness they feel discouraged in studying and do not have any desire to fight and study. Students are lack of motivations which leads to failures in studying. The situation needs solution the sooner the better, as the gap may become that big that it will never be closed. As a future instructor I have found out that a teacher should never make a difference between pupils, especially those who depend to different cultures, Aboriginal and Torres Strait in particular. An educator have to be fair and motivate students in order to achieve positive results.
One of the best ways to fight this problem is teaching students from those communities Australian language. This way they will attain the knowledge and the instrument which will open them the door to studying other subjects and becoming more successful. Language is the key to culture and realizing oneself as a part of it. Troy claims “Teaching an Australian language to your students helps to develop their self esteem, engagement in education and their overall well being” (Troy, 2012). Language helps people to participate in the life of society and country, to differentiate oneself in various situations and live with other people as a part of their cultural group. Australian language is the elements which unites all people around the country, and even more, as well as English is an international language, it is great significance all over the world. I have learnt that children from communities have the right to study in the language they prefer which is protected by the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. The right to learn and be taught in the cultural environment and original language provides with good example of understanding and respecting of these communities, as well as the attempts to educate its representatives through providing beneficial environment. It also contributed to my understanding and respecting other cultures, Indigenous in particular. This can be performed with the aid of strategies which presuppose different language background and language qualifications such as First Language Learner Pathway, Second Language Learner Pathway and Language Revival Learner Pathway (ACARA, 2015).
Attention to cultural and social groups within the country is very important. It is necessary for creating a strong, well-educated and powerful country with a reliable future generation, which will make the country prosperous and rich.
ACARA. (2015). The Framework for Aboriginal Languages and Torres Strait Islander Languages; Hindi and Turkish Curricula. Retrieved from http://www.acara.edu.au/news_media/acara_news/acara_news_2015_12.html#201512161
Buckskin, P. (2013). Engaging Indigenous students: The important relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and their teachers Aboriginal. In: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education: an introduction for the teaching profession. Melbourne: Cambridge University Press.
Price, K. (2012). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education: An.Introduction for the Teaching Profession. Melbourne: Cambridge University Press.
Rruki, G. (2008). Working With Aboriginal Communities. Sydney: Board of Studies NSW.
Troy, J. (2013). Language and Literacy. In: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education: an introduction for the teaching profession. Melbourne: Cambridge University Press.
Williams-Mozley, J. (2013). The stolen generations: what does this mean for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people today? In: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education: an introduction for the teaching profession. Melbourne: Cambridge University Press.