Board of Studies New South Wales PDF Print E-mail

Making a difference in our schools

Two important publications launched recently, which aim to promote cross- cultural understanding between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students and teachers in our schools. Developed by the Board of Studies NSW, the publications were produced in response to recommendations by the Royal commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.

The first of these publications Making Difference - A Guide to the Education - related Recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, was launched by Mr Lloyd McDermott, Chairperson of the NSW Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committee.

The publication stresses the vital role education plays in the reconciliation process, and shows how education is inextricably linked to the promotion of social justice.

"Schools can play a critical role in eradicating the underlying causes that contribute to racism and inequality in society. This book will provide teachers with insights and strategies to bring change to attitudes and understanding." said Mr. McDermott.

" It examines Australian history, and seeks to address many of the misconceptions that exist about this country's past. In turn, this will help people build positive relationships and aid reconciliation."

The Royal Commission examined the lives and deaths of 99 Aboriginal people, and the role education played in their lives. Of this group only two had completed secondary schooling.
By addressing the Aboriginal experience of learning in our schools, the publication aims to improve these statistics and provide strategies to effect change.

The book examines the importance of history and includes a series of questions designed to identify a range of historical and contemporary issues. It also reproduces the education - related recommendations of the Royal Commission, and provides suggestions for implementing the recommendations.

The publication includes a selection of comments from a wide range of people about learning, teaching, schools, contemporary issues, racism and cultural difference.

There's also a list of useful resources and contacts, a helpful glossary and detailed information on varied topics, such as Aboriginal English, the implications of hearing loss, and social justice.

The second publication, launched by Mr Charles Davison, the new President of the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group, provides strategies to ensure the continuation of Aboriginal languages by encouraging their study in schools.

NSW Aboriginal Languages, Interim Framework K-10, addresses the Royal Commission's recommendations that government and funding bodies recognise the importance of the national Aboriginal Language Policy.

" There are at least 70 Aboriginal language groups across NSW, and the health of these languages must be addressed if they are to continue." Mr. Davison said.

" The teaching of Aboriginal languages in schools has been recognised as one way to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. In addition, the teaching of Aboriginal languages to non- Aboriginal students will benefit cross-cultural understanding, and promote reconciliation."

This interim version of the NSW Aboriginal Languages Framework specifies aims, objectives, and outcomes intended to guide the development of language programs in schools across NSW.

"The development of these important publications by the Board of Studies is an indication of the Board's commitment to supporting reconciliation, and equitable outcomes for Aboriginal students.

These publications will be valuable resources for teachers and communities in promoting cross-cultural understanding." Said Mr John Ward, General Manager of the Office of the
Board of Studies.

For more information contact Dianne Brien at the Office of the Board of Studies on
02 9367 8250 or
0418 418 053.