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Exploring My Country

Unit description

This unit of work examines issues around sense of self, the importance of connections to people and places for both non-Indigenous and Aboriginal people, removal of Aboriginal children from their families and communities, and the impact that such practices have had on the health of Aboriginal people.

Students will explore the impact that their cultural background has on their sense of self and their connections with people, places and time. They will use a range of texts and websites to learn about places of significance to Aboriginal people in their local country.

During the unit of work students will research Dreaming stories and will discuss their importance to sense of self and connectedness to Indigenous Australians. The final aspect of the unit focuses on factors that affect health. Students will examine the current health status of Australians and identify inequities that exist.

Aboriginal perspectives

This unit of work integrates Aboriginal perspectives by focusing on issues that are of importance to Aboriginal people and their communities. During the unit students will examine a number of relevant texts that will improve their understanding of the unit outcomes. They will examine Shaun Tan's book, The Arrival, as a stimulus to engage students in discussions about sense of self and connections to people, places and time.

During the unit of work students will also examine recent political and social events of significance to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians such as the Apology. The unit concludes with students examining the health status of Australians and identifying areas of significant inequity.

Phases of learning:

  1. Sense of self. Students discuss the concept of 'sense of self' and how it can be different in various social contexts. They describe how particular factors influencing a sense of self (eg culture, values and beliefs) are interdependent and can change in significance over time.
  2. Connectedness. Students explore the importance of connections to Aboriginal people. They define key terms and discuss how the socially constructed meaning of these terms may impact on our broader perceptions of groups of people. The Arrival is used as stimulus to demonstrate the strength of connection a person can feel to people, place and country. Students discuss displacement and its effect on individuals and communities. They examine the importance of connection to the family, with particular attention to kinship, clans and family structures in Aboriginal society.
  3. Factors that affect health. Students review the nature of health and brainstorm the major health problems of the Australian population. They identify the aspects of health that are most important to Aboriginal people and discuss what may happen if the components of health are unbalanced. They identify the factors that affect health and examine those of particular significance to the Aboriginal community. Students propose strategies to overcome the barriers to improved health for all Australians.

Quality teaching framework

All units have been mapped to QT throughout.

Click here for QT details for this unit (PDF, 1 page, 65 KB)


Assessment activity 1 – Research: Students select a well-known Aboriginal person and write six sentences describing the influences on that person's sense of self. They examine how this is similar to the influences on their own sense of self.

Assessment activity 2 – Self-portrait: Students create a written self-portrait that portrays their unique characteristics. They write a summary paragraph to highlight how their culture and heritage have made them unique.

Assessment activity 3 – Information report: Students research the health status of Australians and identify current inequities.

Cross-curriculum content

  • Literacy
  • HSIE
  • Aboriginal Education
Unit of work
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Exploring My Country