Teaching First Nations cultures and histories - Education Matters Magazine

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Teaching First Nations cultures and histories

Reconciliation WA Education Manager Pamela Chatfield explains the peak body’s role in supporting educators teaching First Nations cultures and histories.

Reconciliation WA is Western Australia’s peak body for reconciliation and partners with Reconciliation Australia. We provide leadership, advocacy and support to people and organisations driving the reconciliation movement in Western Australia.

Reconciliation WA’s education team supports educators in implementing the cross-curriculum priority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History and Cultures and the Aboriginal Cultural Standards Framework.

One way we do this is through developing school-based Reconciliation Action Plans (RAP) with the resources of Narragunnawali, our national partner providing curriculum and professional learning resources for schools and teachers.

They are the main provider of RAP resources for schools and early learning services. Last year, we celebrated the success of Winterfold Primary School becoming the first WA school to win the national biennial Narragunnawali Awards for schools with RAPs.

In addition to our ongoing initiatives, we launched the Year 4 Reconciliation in Education Program. As we are located at The Constitutional Centre of WA (West Perth), the hour-long lessons for students at our premises address Civics and Citizenship in the Humanities and Social Sciences curriculum.

Our program can be done by itself or in concert with other programs provided by Constitutional Education at The Constitutional Centre of WA.

The Year 4 Reconciliation in Education Program presents a quality educational lesson designed by experienced teachers and focuses on comparing modern law and traditional lore. Our presenters explore the differences between the Westminster system and the Cultural knowledge of the Traditional Owners of this land from the past 60,000+ years. Through participatory activities such as yarning circles, students are encouraged to formulate their own perspectives on reconciliation.

Our first offering received positive reviews from Year 4 teachers and students who took part in our Year 4 pilot in 2023. Schools can book to do both the constitutional education and our reconciliation lesson on-site or invite Reconciliation WA to their schools to provide a lesson co-facilitated by an Aboriginal and a non-Aboriginal presenter.

In 2024, we will continue to develop more lessons for upper primary. Teachers who would like their students to take part in the Year 4 program, or in the Year 5/6 program later this year, can enquire on our website or by contacting Reconciliation WA directly (08 6552 6990 or admin@recwa.org.au).

Future offerings around anti-racism strategies and trials are heading our way in the coming months, so stay tuned to our website and social media pages as we launch these resources.

But what if you are not an upper primary teacher? We extend you an invitation to join our Reconciliation Industry Network Group (RING) for Education, where we run events each term that offer educators the opportunity to network with others and learn more about how to implement culturally responsive programs in their classrooms.

Additionally, educators are encouraged to subscribe to our complimentary seasonal newsletter for access to a plethora of events and resources tailored to support their educational endeavours: www.recwa.org.au/reconciliation-in-education.

We are also the main state provider of National Reconciliation Week (NRW) events. We create booklists and lesson resource links to support schools in running NRW events and teaching in their school. This year’s theme is ‘Now More Than Ever’ and events will run from 27 May to 3 June. Keep an eye on our website (www.recwa.org.au) for further details.

Contact Pamela Chatfield at pamela@recwa.org.au to see how we can tailor support to your requirements.

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