Having spent time on a teaching practicum in an indigenous school in North East Arnhem land (Marparu) I gained first hand insight into what has been often felt by students on community in Arnhem land - That much of our mainstream curriculum is not often relatable to their lives on community.
Also there are challenges for those students in experiencing success when having to sit nationwide exams like the Naplan that can at times have a negative effect, serving only to undermine the experience of success for many of those students.
It is important in schools such as Marparu that the local language and culture is integrated into learning basic literacy concepts in both numeracy and English.
Within numeracy a two way system that acknowledges the complex patterns of Gurrutu (kinship) as a form of numeracy as well as teaching basic numeracy concepts needed to participate in broader Australian society such as a project facilitated on where the students ran the local shop facilitated by a teacher. Here they would have weigh, measure and calculate.
On the other hand, there are many schools within Australia with very few or no students that identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait islander. In these schools such as Currambena in Lane Cove NSW where I taught the music program for a year and half, it is my role to educate and integrate Aboriginal awareness and cultural knowledge into the lesson - we celebrated Indigenous culture by learning to sing songs in Aboriginal languages like the song Inanay which is in a Yolngu language from North East Arnhem land.
The students also learned and performed “From Little things Big things grow” by Kev Carmody and Paul Kelly on reconciliation day.
This also lead to a unit of work and discussion on some of the many challenges facing Aboriginal people today such as land rights and reconciliation. These lessons sought to equip the students with an acknowledgement and respect for indigenous Australian culture and heritage as well as what empowering them to be a part of the reconciliation process as well as social justice.
There are a number of great resources in my continued teaching journey that I will be seeking new ideas from in order to give this important standard the attention it deserves. Here listed are some of those web sites: