Today I attended a professional development activity called Dare to Lead, presented by Rob Miller at Dandenong South PS. It’s an initiative set up by Principals Australia aimed at improving the teaching of Aboriginal history and culture. They run PD such as conferences and send out regular newsletters about resources and so on. Membership is free and you can sign up online. I attended to find out more to support the implementation of the Wannik Strategy at our school.
Rob stressed the importance of knowing the children you work with: you need to ask where they’re from, whose mob they belong to. He also said that it’s important to have a go, even if you don’t know much about a topic, it’s better to try than do nothing. But when you can, personalise the curriculum so that it’s Victorian, and even better, so that it’s local.
There was a spirited discussion about whether to teach ‘units’ about Aboriginal history, culture and issues, but Rob agreed that including Aboriginal perspectives across the curriculum (as we are at MPPS) was a better way to do it. The APAC site (from Western Australia – there isn’t one for Victoria) – has concept maps which show how Aboriginal perspectives can be infused with ideas about Aboriginal history, culture and issues, and there are other resources such as lesson plans too (though of course not all of these are transferable to other states and you need to assess their appropriateness).
If you interested in the work we’ve done at Mossgiel Park, visit the Aboriginal Perspectives page on this blog.