As badly as I was looking forward to the holidays, as quick it is over. I can hardly believe that everybody is stressing about their midterms already, and all I am anxious for is my practicum that starts in about two weeks. I still have no clue which school I will be send to. Not that I have much time to really worry about it. In the four remaining weeks of our semester – did I already tell you this semester is flying by – I still have 7 assignments to finish. Honestly, I still have to get started.
One of our core curriculum subjects is on Aboriginal Education. For those who now think that I will be able to teach Aboriginal Culture or Languages, you are incorrect. Aboriginal Education focuses on the cultural differences between the Indigenous Peoples and European settlers and their offspring. I can understand that you now think, but how different can it be, European settlement started many years ago, and wasn’t it a settlement much more peaceful than the colonisation of the United States?
I totally understand. I have been there myself. Prior to my exchange in 2015, I did not know any better than that Australian settlement was peaceful, and no one was hurt in the process. Little did I know that due to the settlement 90% of the Indigenous people died due to the European ‘peaceful’ settlement.
Additionally, the European settlers were so determined in creating one culture that until the 1970s children from Aboriginal descent were taken from their families and put in a European family. The children were taught to behave as Europeans and cut all their ties with their Aboriginal culture. Since the abolishment of the Stolen Generation, Australia Government has been working to close the gap between the Indigenous peoples and Australians.
This all comes back in my education degree. As teachers, we have to be aware that students from non-English descent may not speak English as their first language. Therefore, they might have a low literacy in the English language, which means that students sometimes need a little longer to understand your subject. Additionally, not all Aboriginals are the same. Australia as a country is bigger than the whole continent of Europe and just like Europe, Aboriginal Australia contained many different nations. Even though the Indigenous people of Perth (Whadjuk) and the Indigenous people of Sydney (Eora) are both seen as Aboriginal, their cultures, beliefs and languages are significantly different.
The status of Aboriginals in Australia is far from equal yet. As teachers, we can influence our students and help to close the gap by opening ourselves up to their cultures, beliefs, and ancestry.