On the pupil free day this week, teaching staff participated in a professional development (PD) session about the Histories of South Australia from an Aboriginal Perspective. It was held at the Hills Environment Centre at Norton Summit.
This tied in with our key PD focus this year which is 'Enhancing the Cultural Curriculum' and in particular looking at Indigenous education. It also aligns very well with our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). One of our RAP actions is to 'provide staff with a range of opportunities to build and extend their knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures'.
The PD session was presented by local Kaurna man Corey Turner and a team of local indigenous people. It was significant and impactful to have this session run by indigenous people.
The session incorporated a guided art workshop learning about various South Australia aboriginal language/cultural groups. We learnt about the specific country and how the land was used, the significant animals and stories of that area and the lifestyle of each group.
We also spent time learning about the true and often confronting history of these cultural groups. We all participated in a role play looking at the history from an aboriginal perspective which was incredibly powerful, emotional and thought provoking.
All staff were moved by the session and it prompted much discussion, reflection and inspired a 'call to action'. It certainly 'set the scene' for us as a staff to think about authentically implementing our RAP and committing to building relationships with First Nations people, learning about and working towards reconciliation, raising awareness of current affairs and issues that are significant to Aboriginal people and respecting, valuing and teaching Indigenous culture and history.
As educators we have a responsibility to educate our young people, provide them with opportunities and extend their knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and history.
It was certainly a memorable experience to heighten our awareness, strengthen our knowledge and provide the impetus to reflect upon our values and beliefs .
We are looking forward to officially launching our Reconciliation Action Plan as a community later this term.