For advice on curriculum strategies and considerations for teaching Aboriginal students, see Diversity of learners.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures
For an overview of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures cross-curriculum priority, see Capabilities and priorities.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander principles and protocols
Successful implementation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures content in all K–12 syllabuses is underpinned by a sound understanding of the key principles and protocols below.
NSW schools can ensure successful and sustainable learning outcomes by working in partnership with their local Aboriginal community(ies) in the planning, programming and delivery of:
- specialised Aboriginal Studies and Aboriginal Languages syllabuses
- units of work with a particular or sustained focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures.
Principles of cultural safety are founded on respectful behaviours and integrity. Some consistent principles associated with the teaching of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures include:
- respect for, and protection of, the knowledge and cultural expressions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
- the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to self-determination
- ongoing consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge holders and keepers, custodians and stakeholders
- reciprocity between education providers and communities
- commitment to long-term improvement and partnership
- engagement with stakeholders focusing on cultural safety
- recognition of Indigenous cultural and intellectual property.
In NSW, protocols may differ between local Aboriginal communities, but they could share some commonalities. The following are some broad, commonly observed protocols within Aboriginal communities:
- respect for Elders in decision-making processes
- respect for the roles of men and the roles of women
- collective custodianship by traditional owners and keepers of Country and cultural knowledge
- arrival at decisions by consensus
- awareness of on-Country and off-Country obligations
- the right to observe cultural responsibilities and obligations, eg to care for Country and to pass on cultural knowledge.
To develop further knowledge about principles and protocols school representatives can contact:
- their local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group (AECG)
- Aboriginal education consultants within education sectors
- local Aboriginal land councils
- Aboriginal language centres.
This approach reflects the guide, Working with Aboriginal Communities: A Guide to Community Consultation and Protocols (2008) (PDF, 37 pages, 1.7 MB).
Download a copy of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander principles and protocols (PDF, 1 page, 68 KB).