Education Between Indigenous and Non- Indigenous Australians. Essay

Discuss if and how the area of education can contribute to achieve relationships between Indigenous and non- Indigenous Australians. Education is among the most important factors in achieving relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Through the incorporation of Indigenous Education in all schools, Australian children will have every opportunity to learn and understand Aboriginal issues and history, which will help eliminate naive and stereotypical perceptions of Aboriginal Australians in the future. For relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians to become a true reality a quality Aboriginal Education curriculum must be developed within Australian schools through the National Curriculum that is to be implemented in 2012. Such a curriculum must promote reconciliation, which would mean giving all students the opportunity to develope and sustain relationships between Indigenous and non Australians on a mutual and respectful basis (Reconciliation Australia, 2005-2011). Through quality education, relationships can one day be achieved, with both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians working together cooperatively, to bridge the social and financial gaps that exist between the two. Education is paramount to this and will help to serve the best interest for all Australians. To be successful in building relationships, it is important for all to gain knowledge and understanding of the history of Indigenous Australians and their culture. Racism and misrepresentations are often bred by ignorance, yet with the right education, such attitudes can indeed be altered. For a quality curriculum to be successfully delivered in Australian schools, tertiary institutions must continue to focus on the education of future teachers in the field of Aboriginal Education. Mick Dodson stated that: ‘If like me, you believe education is the principle pathway to reconciliation, you need to act on that belief’ (Dodson, Reconciliation Australia, 2005-2011), meaning that education is the most important means of achieving relationships amongst Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Therefore, it is crucial to include Aboriginal Education in all Australian schools, as it is such a significant part of Australia’s history as well as its present (Hunter & Schwab, Practical reconciliation and recent trends in Indigenous education, 2004). Many non-Indigenous people’s perceptions of Indigenous Australians are somewhat negative due to the fact that they have never truly been educated about Aboriginal history, issues and affairs. Such attitudes, which are generally bred from ignorance rather than experience, are able to be changed through education. If all children are educated about Aboriginal history and culture, they will grow up with positive perceptions of Indigenous Australians that they will be able to pass on to future generations. However, for relationships to become a reality there needs to be some substantial evidence of agreement in the area of education between Indigenous and non Indigenous Australians (Hunter & Schwab, 2004). This can be achieved through the National Curriculum, which is to be implemented throughout Australian schools in 2012, where Aboriginal perspectives will hopefully make up a significant part. The Australian Curriculum and Assessment Reporting Authority has acknowledged the importance of relationships and is currently writing Indigenous perspectives into the national curriculum ‘to make sure that all Australians have the chance to learn about, understand and respect the history and culture of Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders’ (Greenfield & Harrison, Relationship To Place). It is of critical importance that Indigenous Australians continue to be involved in the development of an Aboriginal Education curriculum. Since 1982, Indigenous Australians have been active in the development of the NSW Department of Education Aboriginal Education Policy. The rationale for creating this policy was originally for people to recognise the significance in including Aboriginal Education into the school curriculum (Reconciliation, 2006). The policy was created in the hope that Indigenous Australians could share accurate knowledge and understandings with non-Indigenous Australians about their culture and history in contrast to the largely ignorant misunderstandings that have long been perceived (Reconciliation, 2006). Another important goal of the policy was to eliminate stereotypical assumptions, which often resulted in racist attitudes and behaviour by those who have not been properly educated or do not have a sound understanding of Aboriginal culture. Similar to the NSW Aboriginal Education Policy is The Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians, which stresses the importance for every Australian student to ‘appreciate and recognize the significance of Indigenous cultures and enhance the knowledge, skills and understanding to contribute to, and gain from, relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians’ (Greenfield & Harrison, Relationship To Place). Through persistence, continued development and the implementation into all Australian schools, a uniform Aboriginal Education curriculum that is developed with the assistance of Indigenous Australians can only work to assist in the achievement of relationships in this country. Those that already exist, such as the NSW Aboriginal Education Policy and the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians, can be used as a foundation for the further development of a successful, Australia-wide Aboriginal Education curriculum. In order for education to aid the process of relationships in Australia, a quality Aboriginal Education curriculum must be mandatory in all Australian schools. Such a curriculum would therefore need to be widely understood and embraced by both current and future educators. In order for this to become a reality, teacher training courses must enable all educators to understand that Australia has a significant Aboriginal history and Aboriginal view points on social, cultural and historical matters (Reconciliation, 2006). To be successful in achieving relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, it is important when teaching Indigenous studies to be able to understand and acknowledge reconciliation as a step into political restoration (Reconciliation, 2006). Delivering all Australian students an Aboriginal Education curriculum that incorporates this is an important way to gain a common understanding between Indigenous and non Indigenous people. A way to help achieve relationships is to include accurate and core information into Indigenous studies subjects, for student teachers involved in education courses (Reconciliation, 2006). A curriculum that incorporates these things would play a significant part in eliminating negative perceptions through properly educating non-Indigenous Australians about Indigenous Australians, their history and their current social and cultural view points. Through further educating our educators in Aboriginal history, culture and affairs, the message of reconciliation has the opportunity to become more widespread. Therefore, there is a need for educators to teach Aboriginal Education, including at a tertiary level because in the past, Australian schools and write my essay discount code institutions have largely ignored Aboriginal studies (Teaching the Teachers Aboriginal Studies, 2005, p. 14). Over many years there have been government reports given to Australian teacher education institutions to include compulsory Indigenous Studies courses for teachers to assist in the cause for reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people and to concentrate on Aboriginal educational disadvantage (Craven, 1998, Is the Dawn breaking?). Indigenous studies are vitally important for pre-service teachers to be taught, and learn how to teach, in order for this country to one day achieve reconciliation (Reconciliation, 2006). It has only been recently that changes in Australian teacher education institutions have provided student teachers with the opportunity to carry out Indigenous studies during their education courses (Teaching the Teachers Aboriginal Studies, 2005, p. 15). Within the 36 Australian tertiary institutions, there are 54 teacher education programs. It has been estimated that 48 percent of these include mandatory units of Indigenous studies. This is a massive increase considering that in 1992, there was no more than one university in Australia that made the topic of Indigenous studies mandatory for pre service teachers (Craven, 1998). However, this figure needs to be 100 percent in order for all future educators to suitably pass on their knowledge of Indigenous culture and history to their future students and do their part to promote reconciliation. In order to achieve relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, education must be a major focus. The delivery of a quality Aboriginal Education curriculum that has been developed with significant input from Indigenous Australians would provide Australian students with the opportunity to gain a true understanding of Aboriginal history and culture. This would aid the process of reconciliation substantially, as it would help to eliminate some of the preconceived misconceptions that some non-Indigenous Australians have towards Indigenous people and their culture. A quality curriculum for all Australian students would leave little room for ignorance and false judgements, as it would be providing them with truthful, accurate information, which would lay the foundation for reconciliation. Through educating our youth, relationships have a strong chance of becoming a reality because knowledge can be passed on through future generations. It is of great importance that both current and future educators become more and more exposed to teaching Aboriginal Education if relationships are to become a reality in Australia. References Author unknown, (2005-2011), Reconciliation Australia: Resources, http://www.reconciliation. org. au/home/resources, Viewed on 17/10/11 Mooney, J & Craven, R. G, (2006), Reconciliation: Why we need to teach Teacher’s to teach Aboriginal Studies to all Australian students, University of Western Sydney, , Viewed on 17/10/11 Craven, R. G, (2002),Is the Dawn Breaking? The First Empirical Investigations of the Impact of Mandatory Aboriginal Studies Teacher Education Courses on Teachers’ Self-concepts and Other Desirable Outcomes, University of Western Sydney, , Viewed on 17/10/2011 Dodson, M, (2005-2011), Reconciliation Australia: Mick Dodson speaks at the National Press Club, < http://www.reconciliation. org. au/home/latest/mick-dodson-speaks-at-the-national-press-club > Viewed on 19/10/11 Greenfield, M & Harrison, N, (date unknown), Relationship to place: Positioning aboriginal knowledge and perspectives in classroom pedagogies , Viewed on 18/10/11 Hunter, B. H. & Schwab, R. G. (2004), Practical reconciliation and recent trends in Indigenous education, The Australian National University , Viewed on 19/10/11 Author unknown, (2005), Teaching the Teachers Aboriginal Studies: Impact on Teaching, Australian Department of Education, Science and Training , p. 14 and 15, Viewed on 18/10/2011.


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