The Australian Curriculum sets expectations for what all Australian students should be taught, regardless of where they live in Australia or their background. Included in the Australian Curriculum are three cross-curriculum priorities, one of which is Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures priority provides the opportunity for all young Australians to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, knowledge traditions and holistic world views. This knowledge will enrich all learners’ ability to participate positively in Australia’s journey towards reconciliation through a deepening understanding and connection with the world’s oldest continuous living cultures. Indeed, the Alice Springs (Mpartnwe) Education Declaration argues that this cross-curriculum priority forms an important part of committing to the delivery of world-class curriculum and assessment more generally, and supports students to become “responsible local and global members of the community in an interconnected world and to engage with complex ethical issues and concepts such as sustainability.”
For many teachers, this may be the first time they have been required to teach this content. It is therefore important that staff in all learning areas and across all year groups are supported to better understand and embed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, and are given strategies to include the cross-curriculum priority in the development of units, lesson plans and resources.