Reconciliation Resource – Learning, Unlearning, Relearning
As a teacher, the opportunity to educate students about Australia’s First Nations peoples, histories and cultures is a unique, exciting and sometimes overwhelming experience. Historically, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives have been left out of classrooms, the curriculum and textbooks. As a result, generations of Australians grew up with a basic, mostly inadequate understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, and very limited awareness of the true histories of Australia.
Today, while Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures is a cross curriculum priority, the inclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives in the classroom is still met with hesitation. Feelings of not wanting to be tokenistic, a fear of causing offence or getting it wrong, often leads to teachers not doing anything at all.
The Narragunnawali professional learning resource, Reconciliation in Education: Learning Unlearning Relearning, encourages teachers and educators to reflect on the importance of education to reconciliation in relation to your own education experiences. Genuinely engaging in reconciliation involves personal and professional learning and reflection. This may become a journey of 'unlearning' and 'relearning' – of challenging assumptions and recognising that what has been taught about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories and cultures in schools may have been inaccurate or incomplete.
Watch the film Reconciliation in Education: Learning Unlearning Relearning and start a conversation with staff in your school or early learning service about the importance of education to reconciliation, and the need for continued learning and unlearning. When facilitating these discussions, it is important to create a safe and supportive space for active listening, respectful conversation and continued critical reflection.
Finding out that you didn't know the truth can be confronting. But the benefits and contribution to reconciliation far outweighs any discomfort. Australia’s reconciliation journey is, at its core, a personal and shared learning journey. It's never too late to learn.