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Some Comments from Project Participants

ANTHONY ANGEL

Science Teacher - Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College (Berkeley Vale Campus)

I contacted our school ASSPA (Aboriginal Student Support and Parent Awareness) representative who then was so enthusiastic towards the project, started bringing in members of the local Aboriginal community into the school to have meetings with us and really give a lot of ideas and they were so keen to go with the project.

MARGARET SIMOES

Consultant Aboriginal Education - Catholic Education Office, Wollongong

Considering the nature of your school community
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities vary widely in New South Wales and the way in which Aboriginal perspectives are integrated will depend upon the nature of the local school community, their needs and available resources. Some different school contexts include:


A school with no students or very few students who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. There is likely to be little local cultural knowledge or knowledge of Aboriginal skills related to the environment.


Other schools may have several Aboriginal families, not necessarily known to each other or several families who are known to each other. In either case the knowledge of culture will be diverse.


A third situation is a large and diverse community drawing on different kinship groups. In this case there will be an even greater diversity of knowledge of culture.


Some variations arise through stories coming through different family lines from different parts of Australia. There are many stories about kangaroos, for example, but communities recognise the variations. Dreaming stories are an oral tradition, passed down the generations. Although variations between different kinship groups are recognised, experimentation by being creative with traditional stories is not acceptable.


Another situation that schools may have is a local Aboriginal community. In this case there is likely to be local cultural knowledge and environmental skills.

MAUREEN JOHNSON

Priority Schools Funding Project Consultant

Aboriginal community involvement and consultation is critical to any project with an Aboriginal perspective. Protocols need to be strictly observed. There should be acknowledgement of those involved in the project, ongoing consultation. The community should never be asked to endorse a project unless they've been involved in the whole process. Teachers must be in-serviced on how to implement the program effectively and this will allow them to broaden their skills and enable them to program Aboriginal perspectives into other areas of the curriculum.

JANE PEARCE

Science Consultant, Mt Druitt

Some elders I spoke to talked of previous experiences that had not been positive in working on other projects and were slightly unsure of what to expect from this one. It is extremely important that all input be acknowledged and they should be shown the final product for their approval before it is used in the classroom.

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