as supporting in-service teachers and educators, Narragunnawali recognises the
importance of supporting reconciliation in the pre-service
The Australian Council of Deans of Education, particularly through the Australian Indigenous Lecturers in Teacher Education Association, has developed the 3Rs platform precisely in appreciation of the value of equipping teaching staff with key understandings around the concept of reconciliation, and the continuing significance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and perspectives, even before they enter their future classrooms, schools and wider educational communities.
To build on this work, below are some suggestions for how Initial Teacher Education (ITE) staff and students may consider engaging with Narragunnawali, and with reconciliation in education more widely.
Host a link to the Narragunnawali platform on your WebsiteHost the Narragunnawali logo and Narragunnawali platform URL (www.narragunnawali.org.au) on your website or open-source learning management system (Moodle, iLearn, or equivalent). Include the following descriptive text:
Reconciliation Australia’s Narragunnawali: Reconciliation in Schools and Early Learning program and online platform is designed to support all schools and early learning services in Australia to develop environments that foster a higher level of knowledge and pride in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and contributions.
Please contact us to inform us of your decision to host a link to the Narragunnawali platform on your website or open-source learning management system, and to request a high resolution version of the logo.
Join us for a Narragunnawali Webinar/Workshop
The Narragunnawali team runs a regular Webinar series which ITE staff and students are welcome to freely register for by visiting: https://www.narragunnawali.org.au/about/webinars
Contact us to enquire about the prospect of arranging a private/tailored Webinar or, where feasible, an in-person workshop/guest lecture from a representative of the Narragunnawali team.
Engage with some Suggested Readings and Resources
Reconciliation Australia has published a range of material that ITE staff and students may wish to engage with while teaching, learning and critically reflecting on the context and concept of reconciliation in education, just a couple of which include:
• Reconciliation Australia (2016) 2016 Australian Reconciliation Barometer (See, in particular, the summarised Reconciliation Insights: Education)
• Reconciliation Australia (2016) The State of Reconciliation in Australia (Summary and Full versions)
For other Reconciliation Australia resources and reference materials of relevance, consider visiting:
Subject Resource Guides
Alongside the range of wider professional learning and curriculum resources, you can also find a suite of Subject/Learning Area-specific resource guides on the Narragunnawali platform:
- ScienceConsider also engaging with surrounding academic literature which, although not necessarily prescriptively or universally, may have important relationships to reconciliation-in-education. Examples may include, but are certainly not limited to, literature around critical-reflective practice; place-based pedagogies; whiteness and critical race theory; high expectations relationships; ‘Indigenising’ and decolonising curricula; rights-based and social justice approaches to education; ethics in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research, learning and teaching; resilience theories and threshold concepts.
Request a Resource, Assessment Task, or Lecture/Tutorial Plan Review
The Narragunnawali platform hosts a range of self-led and self-paced professional learning resources to support teaching staff to critically evaluate, and strengthen, their teaching materials and approaches in alignment with reconciliatory thinking, language and action.
Just a couple of examples include:
- Cultural Safety and Respect in the Classroom
- Evaluating Resources
- Bringing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives into the Classroom: No Excuses
- Tackling Tokenism
As part of their learning and assessment, ITE students may also benefit from critical-reflective exercises around the information and resources contained under the Actions pages on the Narragunnawali platform. Each of these pages provides structured and practical guidance around a suggested reconciliation initiative – as part of a wider, whole-scale Reconciliation Action Plan framework – for the in-service context. Similarly, students could critically consider examples of excellent commitment to reconciliation in education as showcased through the Narragunnawali Awards program.
The Narragunnawali team also welcomes opportunities to review external resources, so please do not hesitate to contact us about the prospect of having us review your resource, and identify potential avenues for strengthening its capacity to support reconciliation in its use in the lecture theatre, tutorial or ITE assessment task context.
Spread Some Key Messages
The ITE teaching/learning context is a powerful one for spreading key messages about the history and continued significance of reconciliation in education. ITE staff may wish to carry out an audit of where and how these messages are currently embedded in their ITE program, and to identify opportunities for strengthening their incorporation into ITE lecture and tutorial sessions into the future.
Strong examples of reconciliation in education often tend to:
• Address all five integral and interrelated dimensions of reconciliation – historical acceptance; race relations; equality and equity; institutional integrity; and unity – recognising that these dimensions do not exist in isolation, and that the state of reconciliation in Australia will only ever be as strong as its weakest dimension.
• Recognise the relationship and yet distinctions between ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education’ and ‘reconciliation in education.’ That is, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education is focused primarily on supporting educational opportunities and outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. Reconciliation in education can encompass pedagogies and practices for supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student’s learning, but is further focused on engaging all students, staff, and indeed all members of the educational community with the importance of reconciliation, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories and cultures.
• Recognise that reconciliation in education, and meaningfully incorporating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content and perspectives into curricula, applies not just to ‘Indigenous Studies,’ but to all areas of study.
• Appreciate that reconciliation is everybody’s responsibility, and for everybody's benefit, and should be driven in a whole-scale sense. (e.g. not only in the classroom but also around the school, and with the community).
• Focus not just on the importance of students’ learning, but also on the importance of continued professional learning of teaching staff. Sometimes, for non-Indigenous staff, this can also involve a process of ‘un-learning’ and ‘re-learning,’ given some of the inappropriate or inadequate ways Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and contributions have historically been taught.
• Draw on a strengths-based approach – that is, don’t focus exclusively on “close the gap”-type targets but also recognise the successes and continued potential of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledges and contributions in shaping educational (and wider) outcomes.
• Genuinely embed reconciliation actions into everyday practice, rather than reserving them for special events or as extra-curricular activities.
• Develop reconciliation initiatives that are not only consistently informed by, but which also have the potential to reciprocally and responsively inform, wider internal strategy/protocol documents (such as Inclusion, Anti-Racism and/or Indigenous Education Strategies and contextualised Cultural Protocol documents).
• Demonstrate an active awareness of the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identities, histories, cultures and perspectives both within and across communities.
• Recognise that reconciliation in Australia is about more than celebrating multiculturalism, diversity and inclusion generally, or promoting human rights and equal opportunities on a broad level. It is essential to highlight the particular place of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia’s reconciliation journey, and explicitly point to the significance of recognising and respecting the histories, cultures and contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians as part of our shared national story and identity.
• Be founded on a commitment to building ‘transformational’ rather than ‘transactional’ relationships with the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community (involving deep conversations, consultations and collaborations with local community members).
• Appreciate that the ways in which we talk about reconciliation can be just as important as the way in which we ‘walk’ together in reconciliation, and thereby demonstrate a meaningful attention to respectful and inclusive language and terminology.
Reconciliation Action Plans (RAPs) for Educational Institutions
Early Learning, Primary and Secondary Schools
The Narragunnawali platform facilitates a self-guided and self-paced process for all Australian schools and early learning services to develop Reconciliation Action Plans (RAPs). A RAP is a formal statement of commit to reconciliation which a school or early learning service can develop to register existing initiatives or to begin a new journey. The Narragunnawali RAP framework provides a sustainable and whole-scale approach to change, outlining the need to develop relationships, respect and opportunities in the classroom, around the school and with the community alike.
It is important for ITE students to be aware of the purpose and process of developing RAPs through Narragunnawali so that they may feel equipped to participate in – or even drive – RAP initiatives as part of their practical teaching experience and more permanent teaching careers.
Explore the interactive Who has a RAP? map on the Narragunnawali platform to learn about those schools and early learning services across the country who have engaged with the Narragunnawali RAP development process
Tertiary Educational Institutions
Tertiary educational institutions are encouraged to develop RAPs through Reconciliation Australia's wider workplace RAP program, which provides a meaningful and practicable framework for organisations to support the national reconciliation movement. No matter where a tertiary educational institution is at on its reconciliation journey, it can be supported to develop one of four types of RAP— Reflect, Innovate, Stretch or Elevate. Visit www.reconciliation.org.au/reconciliation-action-plans/ for more information.
Examples of tertiary educational institutions that currently have a published RAP include:
Share Your Ideas with Us!
Feedback and ideas from educational jurisdictions, academics, teachers, educators, parents, students and community members has been at the core of the Narragunnawali program’s development over time, and our team is committed to ensuring our work is as relevant and responsive as possible. As such, we encourage you to contact us should you wish to share any ideas beyond those outlined above.