Supporting the teaching profession to enable a culturally responsive curriculum
International Handbook on Education Development in Asia-Pacific
School of Education
One of the issues facing the Australian teaching profession is that the majority of teachers are white, bringing little experience or knowledge of diverse cultures to their practice, particularly relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. One of the reasons for this issue is that historically, schooling in the Australian context has been a process of imposing ways of thinking and learning on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, with little to no input by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This lack of recognition silences Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ voices, continuing an omission that lies at the center of this nation’s history and impedes real progress toward reconciliation. The need for privileging and honoring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ experiences, knowledges, and perspectives and ensuring they are at the center of the embodied enactment of schooling in every community is key to moving this nation toward reconciliation. Teacher education is critical to changing this dire situation and in continuing to better address the preparation of teachers to be culturally responsive and ensure culturally safe places of learning. This chapter provides critical background to an overview of various Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education policies, government funded initiatives, and the recommendations for teacher education providers. The chapter also provides a critical review into the extent to which these nationally funded initiatives have not yet been taken up fully by the education sector, the reasons behind this phenomenon and most importantly, what changes can be made.