Making Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures a curriculum priority

Mon, 31/07/2017

Programming humanoid robots and learning about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures are rarely combined into one lesson in the classroom. 

But at Maitland Lutheran School in South Australia, students have been learning the Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies by teaching a humanoid robot how to speak the sleeping language of their local Aboriginal community.

“We have a fairly high Indigenous student population in our school, about 20 per cent,” Maitland Lutheran School teacher, Scott Carson, said.

“We decided to do something quite out of the box, in combining Narungga language and culture with a robotics program from the Digital Technologies curriculum.”

The school is one of seven featured in a series of short videos, or illustrations of practice, that have been released today by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA).

Funded by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training, these videos show how the Australian Curriculum’s cross-curriculum priority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures may be implemented in a variety of school settings.

“The Australian Curriculum is a national curriculum for every child, no matter where they are in the country,” ACARA CEO, Robert Randall, said. “There are three main components that make up the Australian Curriculum: learning areas (subjects), general capabilities (such as Critical and Creative Thinking, and ICT Capability) and cross-curriculum priorities. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures is one of three cross-curriculum priorities.”

The videos released today feature creative programs incorporating learning areas such as History, Languages and Science, in metropolitan and rural schools with high, medium and low percentages of Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander students.

“These illustrations of practice are a valuable resource for all teachers from any school – whether urban or remote – and for all students,” Mr Randall said.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students should be able to see themselves, their identities and their cultures reflected in the Australian Curriculum, just like their non-Aboriginal and non-Torres Strait Islander peers, to fully participate in the curriculum and build their self-esteem.”

Among other illustrations of practice videos are Year 8 students from Queensland exploring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ skills in fire-making; and Years 3 and 4 students exploring the impact of colonisation on Tasmanian Aboriginal peoples.

To view all the illustrations of practice, or to learn more about cross-curriculum priorities, visit the Australian Curriculum website

Other news for the month