Let’s start with a quick quiz:
1. Who is the man on Australia’s $50 note and why is he celebrated?
2. What’s the world’s oldest living culture?
3. What’s the difference between a Welcome To, and Acknowledgement of, Country?
4. Do you know what the Australian Aboriginal flag represents?
Some might think those are very basic questions, yet educators of our future teachers find they often confound teaching students, as well as those already in classrooms.
Not convinced? Then try asking a few people to name six past or present prominent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples who are not actors, musicians or sportspeople.
To build up some basics, a series of short, interesting, shareable, Know This? animations and infographics are being released by the Australian Council of Deans of Education (ACDE).
Most of the questions stem from an ACDE webinar, viewed by more than 7000 teaching students and teachers, and interviews conducted with teacher education students.
Drs Sheelagh Daniels-Mayes and Graeme Gower, of the Australian Indigenous Lecturers in Initial Teacher Education (AILITEA) and the ACDE have created the Know This? content with support from Teachers Mutual Bank.
‘Understanding is crucial yet many Australians, particularly more mature ones, have little knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and history. Often it was not part of their school curriculum or was taught only in limited ways,’ Dr Gower of Edith Cowan University says.
‘But this is all our Australian history. That’s why we hope the Know This? Content will spark interest and encourage Australians to learn more,’ he says.
‘We need to demystify what Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education is about, because Aboriginal history and culture is really exciting.’ Dr Daniels-Mayes of the University of Sydney says.
‘It’s really important for those who are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teachers and students, and those who are not, to know each other much better,’ she says.
ACDE and the AILITEA encourage and welcome the sharing of Know This? content as widely as possible.