School teachers will have access to new resources to support their teaching of Australia’s Indigenous histories and cultures under a new Coalition Government project.
Launched today, the Coalition Government funded National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Curricula Project will aid teachers in broadening student knowledge and appreciation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, languages and histories in classrooms.
An expert team at the University of Melbourne, led by prominent Indigenous academic Professor Marcia Langton AM, has developed a number of resources to assist teachers to integrate Indigenous perspectives into their classroom practice.
The resources focus on three main themes – astronomy, fire and water. They showcase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge systems and provide opportunities for teachers to introduce new and more diverse examples of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and histories into their classrooms.
Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion said that to know the history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians is to know the history of Australia.
“Our nation is so proud and privileged to be home to the oldest continuing cultures on earth yet many Australians today do not have a good understanding or knowledge about the history of our nation prior to European colonisation – it is my sincere hope that resources like this will educate our students to better understand the unique histories, languages, cultures and stories of First Australians.
“These resources are a wonderful but necessary and initial step as part of my vision to see all Australian children learn more about Indigenous history, culture and language especially in their own region.
“I have no doubt that providing Australian students with a deeper understanding of Indigenous history and culture is one of the most valuable lessons we can teach current and future generations, and we are proud to be supporting teachers to share elements of this with their students.
“These resources will support teachers in their implementation of the existing curriculum and strengthen the inclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content in Australian classrooms and we are pleased to offer these Indigenous led and designed resources for teachers to draw on.
“Students will have the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding about the depth, wealth and diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures.
Professor Langton said the resources will ensure students have the opportunity to learn about the sophistication of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures that have thrived and cultivated the Australian landscape for more than 60,000 years.
“It is my wish that all Australian children, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, will grow up with an understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledges and cultures,” Professor Langton said.
“We have designed freely available teacher resources. Astronomy because Australians have been reading the sky for 65,000 years, fire because Australians have been shaping our country with fire for 65,000 years, and water because water is essential to all life.
“It is our hope that this work will support teachers to include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander curriculum content in their classrooms — normalising inclusion — so it is seen as an integral element of their curriculum delivery.”
The Curricula Project is supported by an expert panel, consisting of experts in Indigenous knowledge systems. In developing the resources, the panel engaged with teachers and education departments across the country and held focus groups with primary and secondary teachers.
For more information about the project please visit: https://www.indigenous.gov.au/curricula-project