From little things big things grow

Kerri Carr

Wauchope PS builds reconciliation awareness

Small actions are a good way for teachers to begin making positive contributions to Aboriginal education, Federation Aboriginal Education Coordinator Charline Emzin-Boyd said.

“The union’s Aboriginal Education Profile — Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Strategy can help you turn good intentions into action.” The document includes a range of suggested activities under the following topics:

  • acknowledging and celebrating Aboriginal Australia
  • building and sustaining community workplace relationships
  • meeting students’ needs
  • planning teaching and learning
  • setting high expectations
  • promoting cultural understanding
  • leading through example
  • working with other stakeholders.

While the document is worded in terms of an education strategy for Aboriginal education at a workplace level, Ms Emzin-Boyd said teachers can use it to create their own Aboriginal Education Profile, to first implement ideas in their classroom and then build up to actions at a stage/faculty or school level.

As a first step, she suggests teachers reflect on what’s already happening in their classroom in terms of Aboriginal education. “Then select just one activity that’s important to you and a deadline for yourself that will be achievable for your given your workload.”

Ms Emzin-Boyd said this small steps approach enables self-confidence and resilience to build.

“Not always will one little thing work,” she admits.

“What might work at one school may not work at your school; it might not be the right time or the right personnel, but because it’s a small thing you don’t have to get disheartened.

“With something small, it’s easy to reflect on what happened, build it and change it.”

Ms Emzin-Boyd said developing your own Aboriginal Education profile this way is “like developing a canvas”.

“Paint one layer, let it set, then add another layer. When you are happy with one layer, add another layer. It’s so achievable.”

To achieve goals for Aboriginal education outside your classroom, at a stage/faculty or school level, Ms Emzin-Boyd said to identify like-minded people amongst the staff “to help progress your canvas”.

Ms Emzin-Boyd said building up your profile of achieved actions would have the effect of creating an environment whereby Aboriginal students and their community feel increasingly respected and acknowledged and thus students will be more engaged and achieve improved educational outcomes.

She said it was important to revisit your Aboriginal Education Profile to reflect on your progress and “say it, do it, own it”.

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