Aborignial and Torres Strait Islander Students

Caitlin, a teacher’s pedagogy is extremely important in becoming more effective teachers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students (Phillips & Lambert 2005). One needs to develop a range of strategies to cater for the diverse needs of the students. This is the same for adapting teaching methods to cater for and enhance Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. The following points need to be incorporated into how and what we, as beginning and effective teachers need to teach:

  • Each student must be respected
  • Their cultures and the relevant implications of those cultures must be respected
  • Each student must be taught well
  • Each student must participate consistently.

(Phillips & Lambert 2005)


Caitlin, as your school has a strong Indigenous community, this requires you to adapt your teaching pedagogy to include more reflective practices to make sure that you are teaching in a way that is beneficial for all students, including those who are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders. By changing the view that education is ‘compensatory’ towards Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders students will able to stop underachieving, lower their absentee rates and stay at school for longer than previous generations have (Phillips & Lambert 2005).

1.1.4 of the DET Aboriginal Education and Training Policy  states ‘The Department will provide Aboriginal cultural education for all staff and education about Aboriginal Australia for all students, as it is everybody’s business’ (NSW DET 2008). This shows the high level of importance that the DEC has placed on creating a more supportive education environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. The DEC is has invested methods and strategies to develop the curriculum to support and evolve around all students, including our Indigenous students. The policy also develops further from the Anti-Racism Policy, where all DET employees are to promote acceptance of Australia's cultural, linguistic and religious diversity. All staff need to be able to question and ensure that the correct actions are taken when a student, or other staff member, show discriminatory behaviours (NSW DET 2005).


Caitlin as your class has at least one Aboriginal student, developing your program to include Aboriginal education practices will allow Dale to feel included.

The links below will be able to help you plan and implement valid and effective teaching episodes in your teaching.


Further Readings:

Foreman, P 2007, Inclusion in Action 3rd Edn, Thomson Social Science Press, Southbank, VIC.

Phillips, J & Lampert, J 2005, Introductory Indigenous Studies in Education, Pearson Education, Australia.

Yunkaporta, T & McGinty, S 2009, 'Reclaiming Aboriginal Knowledge at the Cultural Interface', The Australian Education Researcher, vol.36, no.2.

Learning to Teach Aboriginal Kids