Response to Indigenous Perspectives in ACARA National Curriculum

Audio interview available at

The release of Australia’s National Curriculum by ACARA presents a great deal of opportunity for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian children. It also presents some tremendous opportunities for educators throughout Australia.

For Indigenous children there is tremendous potential to feel a sense of ‘connectedness’ to schools, as well as pride in knowing and understanding that the history of our people does indeed have a valid place in our classrooms. The uniformity of the national curriculum can also go some of the way to ensuring a degree of equal expectations and quality assurance between rural, remote and metropolitan schools.

For non-Indigenous children there is the opportunity to understand and celebrate the notion that they are friends and schoolmates to those who are descendants of the oldest living human existence on the planet. This is something that only Australian schoolchildren can celebrate. That’s pretty special and it is worth understanding better. They will also get to understand the historical challenges confronted by Indigenous Australians, and hopefully appreciate the strength and resilience to survive with a level of pride and dignity intact.

For educators there is tremendous scope here to engage positively with local Indigenous people in communities to develop relevant learning experiences. If taken seriously this can lay the platform for serious dialogue about not only curriculum content, but also Indigenous student performance. Educators must also embrace this as an opportunity to move well beyond that historical sense of schools as a place where Indigenous children have genuinely felt alienated, to a future in which our schools and classrooms are designed to make Indigenous students feel like they have a valid sense of place there.

Whilst there might be some apprehension about the challenges in setting about the delivery of this new curriculum, the truth is that many good quality educators have already engaged in such learning development processes within their respective classrooms and schools. For many the shift to embrace this new curriculum will not be that dramatic.

If one is to read correctly the intent of the national curriculum, it seems determined to move beyond romantic white notions of Australian history. Fortunately it also seems determined to move beyond black armband views of history.  It may surprise some to realise that many Aboriginal people will be pleased about this shift beyond such representations of Aboriginal history. We have always been a historically proud and robust group of people who have simply asked other Australians to know and understand the truth about us and our history, not to feel sorry for us. The new curriculum directions has some scope to enable such knowledge and understanding without the need for other Australians to feel threatened, guilty, betrayed or sorry.


One Response

  1. […] Sarra, C 2010 ‘Response to Indigenous Perspectives in ACARA National Curriculum’, viewed 1 August 2010,… […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: