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Rosanne Herat

Rosanne Herat
What was your personal motivation behind participating in this project?

I was actually seconded by a Science Board of Studies member and I accepted the role on the team to help me to increase my awareness of Aboriginal perspectives in Science in the syllabus and in the curriculum.

How did you go about making links with your local Aboriginal community?

Through our District Office staff, through Aboriginal Education Assistants within Chifley College and we also knew of the local Elders in our area, so we approached them.

How has your view or perspective changed on the impact of Aboriginal beliefs and culture on scientific understanding?

By writing a program on simple machines, I realised that even though Aboriginal people used primitive tools, they were still highly skilled and advanced with their technologies. Aboriginal tools were used for necessity, however, they still followed the conventional laws of Science.

What barriers did you encounter in trying to undertake this project?

It is important to have clear indicators when developing units of work, so that you know what you want the students to know. Discuss units with the Aboriginal community first. Put programs together with consultation and collaboration. Make sure Aboriginal perspectives are clearly understood and taught by teachers. Also, be aware of possible cultural differences or cultural barriers when addressing Aboriginal perspectives.

Where to from here? What will you do in future to plan for and implement Aboriginal perspectives content into your Years 7-10 science teaching-learning program?

I will train teachers in my faculty to use the program effectively. The challenge occurs within the time constraints for teaching the topic. From an evaluation point of view, it is important to spend time reading resources and speaking with Elders. It would have been helpful had we taped all of our conversations. A benefit of doing this program was becoming more aware of the tools and have an increased understanding of the use of the Aboriginal tools. Its important to be mindful of acknowledging the community with their efforts in helping out. The Elders were enthusiastic about being involved and excited that Aboriginal perspectives were being implemented in schools.

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