DEC Scan Journal : 2014 Issue 1
2014 Volume 33, Issue 1 31 Contents Editorial Currents Teaching & learning Research Curriculum support Share this Resource reviews to avoid (Harrison & Greenfield, 2011). Even more concerning is the potential negative effect such misrepresentation may have on the Aboriginal students within the classroom in relation to their self-concept, engagement, and Aboriginal identity. Finally, Harrison and Greenfield argue that, in order for Aboriginal education to be effective in the classroom, Aboriginal knowledge and perspectives need to be clearly understood by teachers and effectively distinguished. They state Aboriginal perspectives refer to the teaching of respect, and awareness whereas Aboriginal knowledge is where partnerships with Aboriginal communities and representatives ensure that lessons are taught in-place with direct relevance to the diverse Aboriginal communities and the knowledge contexts schools may be situated in. incorporate Aboriginal perspectives into the school curriculum for more than a decade (Harrison, 2010; Konigsberg & Collard, 2002), teachers commonly reported knowing very little about Aboriginal people and their culture. Consequently, teachers had difficulties knowing how exactly how to incorporate Aboriginal knowledge and perspectives into the existing school programs. Further compounding the problem, teachers and schools often reported having problems connecting with their local Aboriginal community which is particularly problematic because, as Dodson (2007) argues, one of the key features of a successful model of Aboriginal education is intense community involvement (p. 3). Taken together, these findings suggest that, despite the NSW policy on Aboriginal Education introduced in 2009 stating that all teachers are required to undergo cultural competence training, the typical one-hour session offered does not adequately prepare teachers for teaching Aboriginal knowledge and perspectives (Harrison & Greenfield, 2011). By failing to adequately teach Aboriginal perspectives and knowledge, schools and teachers are in danger of perpetuating the very stereotypes and overgeneralisations that we are trying curriculum and pedagogy may also be related to higher levels of achievement (Castagno & Brayboy, 2008; Ladson- Billings, 1995). Taken together, these findings offer a critical insight into the importance of culturally inclusive teaching strategies in fostering and promoting the identities of Australia’s first peoples. Critical to any understanding of cultural sensitivity, inclusivity, and Aboriginal Education practices within the classroom is the need to move beyond surface inclusivity practices (Yunkaporta & Mcginty, 2009). For example, Amosa et al. (2007) found that, although the learning and environmental components of the NSW quality teaching framework were successful in increasing achievement patterns for Aboriginal students, practices surrounding significance (e.g. cultural relevance) were found to be counterproductive to closing the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students’ achievement. On closer examination of the findings, Amosa et al. concluded that schools were largely failing to fully commit to in- depth culturally inclusive practices. One of the reasons for this failing may be gleaned from a study conducted by Harrison and Greenfield (2011). They found that although it has been a Department of Education requirement among all states and territories to The impact of cultural and Aboriginal Education strategies The empirical research examining the link between Indigenous students’ sense of cultural identity to increased classroom engagement and achievement has demonstrated some promising findings. One Australian quantitative study found that Indigenous students’ sense of self- identity was a diverse, multifaceted, contextually sensitive, and complicated construct, with some of the most important markers for a positive identity being a strong sense of identification with kinship groups, an understanding of the true history, languages, and traditional practices, and a strong sense of place (Purdie, Tripcony, Boulton- Lewis, Fanshawe, & Gunstone, 2000). Purdie et al. also found that, after family, teachers played one of the strongest roles in the formation of students’ sense of identity. Furthermore, an increasing amount of qualitative research has also shown how identity is critical in promoting the engagement of Indigenous students (Harrison, & Greenfield, 2011; Munns, Martin, & Craven, 2008; NSW AECG & NSW DET, 2004; Sarra, 2011; Yunkaporta & Mcginty, 2009). A review of the international research also suggests that culturally inclusive ... identity is critical in promoting the engagement of Indigenous students.
Volume 33 Issue 2