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The education of Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander has become a focus of the NSW Department of Education while making policies of education in Australia as the nation strives to bring equality for them. The education of Aboriginal students has faced a number of challenges in the past which led to their continuous educational failure. The overt or covert form of racism has always remained a feature of Aboriginal educational polices, which has always marginalized these students. Any member of the society should not be deprived of education as it is a social resource. Teaching and learning practices need to consider the special requirements of the diverse range of groups and curriculum needs to be designed in such a way that it does not perpetuate the inferiority of anyone’s belief system. This essay will be looking at the historical legacy of Aboriginal students which deciphers the educational disadvantage experienced by them through teaching practices, curriculum and policy. You also can use some essay writing services, like ghostwritingessays.com. In order to discuss the implications for teaching and learning, Transformative theory of learning along with Butins theory and Piane’s frameworks will also be highlighted. This essay will also throw light on Marxist theory and Pierre Bourdieu’s various forms of capital to show the discrimination experienced by Aboriginals. The poor educational outcomes for the Aboriginal students owe to the impact of colonilisation where the educational policies were driven by racism. It was till 1950’s that Indigenous students were denied access to equal opportunities of education and racism was a governing force behind this policy (Gray & Beresford, 2008). They were considered inferior to white people and were forced to live apart (A.P.Elkin, 1930’s cited by Gray & Beresford, 2008). Various policies were implemented which allowed the removal of Aboriginal students from schools (Heitmeyer, 2004). Whereas some children of Aboriginal origin were forcibly placed in the missions, the others were a target of community racism which barred them from going to state schools. The policies of assimilation like Stolen Generations put the educational outcomes of these students at a higher degree of risk. Racism, in one way or another, became an important element of the educational policies made for Aboriginal students. Even though, in 1880, NSW Department of School Education came up with equal opportunities of education to all irrespective of the caste, race or creed. But the racist attitude of people towards Indigenous students made NSW Education Department to come up with a policy
known as Clean, Clad and Courteous in1884 which singled out the Indigenous students by stating that unless the students of this particular origin are not clean, clad and courteous, they cannot attend the school (Heitmeyer, 2004). It seems that the effects of their dwellings near rubbish dumps or cemeteries would have been ignored while formulating such policies (Gray & Beresford, 2008).Instead of teaching them how to lead a hygienic lifestyle, rejecting them for not being neat and clean was a violation of the self made policy by NSW Department of Education, which provided equal opportunities to all. Furthermore, Exclusion on Demand policy in 1902 took away their right of basic education as it stated that any objection by the parents of non-aboriginal students will lead to their removal from the school (Heitmeyer, 2004). Considering the Anti-Racism policy made by NSW Department of Education, racial discrimination needs to be eliminated which can bring better educational outcomes for these students.

Educational failure of the Aboriginal students can be attributed to a number of school related factors like discontinuity of their culture and exclusion of their language in the school curriculum, inappropriate content and pedagogy .Aboriginal students get differential treatment in the classroom. Their cultural identity is seen as inferior and even when they are in any problem, teachers do not listen to their viewpoint only because of the identity which they possess (Godfrey, Partington, Harslett & richer, 2001 cited by Partington, 2003). Schools are a place where their culture is denigrated and they do not get a chance to enjoy their own culture or use their own language. Teachers do not try to recognize the home culture of Aboriginal students and their Aboriginality. The policies and practices of school give recognition to the dominant culture and they are accepted without question (Plevitiz, 2007). In this context, it is important to bring Butin’s cultural lens into practice which demands the greater tolerance of diversity. Because in order to engage in culturally diverse pedagogy, it is essential for teachers to understand the needs of students of diverse cultures (Irvine, 2003 cited by Saggers & Carrington, 2008). Although, NSW Department of Education launched various policies to promote Aboriginal education yet the experiences of the Aboriginal students in educational institutions have generally remained
negative. They continuously complain about getting the unfair treatment in the schools. Teachers posses stereotypical attitude towards these students. Ignorant of the history of Aboriginals, teachers adopt such strategies which have increased their departure from the school. So many of the problems faced by Aboriginal students are due to the practices and belief system of teachers towards them (Partington, 2003). Considering Piane’s framework of diversity, it becomes essential for teachers to appreciate diversity by understanding four kinds of diversity i.e. individual, categorical, contextual and pedagogical ( Piane, 1989 cited by Bell, Horn & Roxas, 2007). Elaborating Piane’s theory, biological or psychological differences exist in individuals which make every individual different demanding different treatment. So the teachers have to use the strategies and approaches keeping in mind the individual needs of the students. Next, Piane views diversity from a categorical context because people can be differentiated by putting in different categories like social class, race or gender and after that the teachers have to understand why those differences exist. That will broaden their views about contextual differences. Therefore, instead of rejecting the Aboriginal students because of their different origin, teachers need to accept them while understanding their backgrounds. This broadened perspective gives a way to understanding pedagogical diversity which demands the teachers to acknowledge and consider the differences in their teaching and learning of the Aboriginal students ( Piane, 1989 cited by Bell, Horn & Roxas, 2007). Considering the prior Knowledge of the Aboriginal students as something inferior, the teachers do not give value to their opinions. Aboriginal students complain about always being discouraged whenever they speak their own English in the class and their English is regarded as bad which in turn de-motivates these students (Koori primary students on using Aboriginal English, NSW Board of Studies, 1997 cited by Heitmeyer, 2004). For continuity of learning, it is essential for teachers to accept the prior knowledge of the child. When the teachers do not consider what the child has learnt in the family, the important criterion of effective learning which is build upon prior learning is negated. In this respect, while making implications for teaching or learning teachers need to form their teaching practices which may be built upon the transformative learning of the students. Transformative learning theory is
build around being critically aware about why and how an individual’s assumptions accommodate the way in which he identifies himself with the world and what he feels and understands about the world (McGonigal, 2005). When an individual understands these assumptions, it helps him to alter the habitual expectations to make them more discriminative and inclusive and integrating his thoughts to make choices and act upon his new understandings (McGonigal, 2005). It is a kind of learning which takes place when a child learns skills in the class which he can associate with his existing skills to make a lifelong learning. Moreover, the newly learnt skills of students can be further expanded once their learning is challenged. Teachers should always keep in mind that the assumptions of students are formulated through their prior learning and life experiences which are generally ignored in the case of Aboriginal students. So, in order to develop transformative learning among the Indigenous students, teachers have to come up with such events that can help the students to examine their thinking and limitations of the understanding which they have. Conflicting viewpoints can be provided by the teacher which can help the students to give another thought to their viewpoints (McGonigal, 2005). When Aboriginal students will be provided with an opportunity to express their perspective, it will help them to gain self confidence that their voices are heard. The formulation of curriculum has also discriminated against Aboriginal students by not being culturally responsive towards them. Giving recognition to the dominant culture, curriculum takes away their sense of belongingness where they see the classrooms as irrelevant places to them. Teachers have not only to develop the ways of engaging them in the core curriculum but curriculum also needs to be designed in such a way that with which they can identify themselves. The use of Aboriginal English, the pictures of Aboriginal people and Aboriginal role models can make the students feel related in the classroom and can encourage their greater participation in the education (Partington, 2003). By incorporating the voices of Aboriginals in the curriculum, Butin’s political lens can be brought into practice. The political lens of Butin’s theory is concerned about empowering and promoting the voices of weak and non- dominant group in the society ( Butin, 2005 cited by Saggers & Carrington, 2008). So the curriculum needs to be built around social issues which are relevant to their day to day life ( Baldwin, Buchanan &
Rudisill, 2007). Looking at the Marxist theory, Aboriginal people are the powerless class in the society as if they are born to be discriminated. According to this theory, society is divided into two classes, one is powerful and one is powerless. Education serves as a tool for the powerful class and powerful class is a class which owes and has control over the productive resources. They have the capability to determine the action of others even if it is against the wishes of powerless and so is the case with the Aboriginals (McHenry, 2005). Since the period of colonialism, Aboriginals have become a tool in the hands of the White people, who moulded them according to their wishes by making various policies against them and that is even practiced till now as the Indigenous students are expected to behave according to the expectations of the Whites because they own power. Curriculum, too is serving the interests of the privileged class in the society and it does not consider the interests of the Aboriginal students. It is important to mention here Pierre Bourdieu’s theory which talks about different kinds of capital. He considers capital as a source which produces power (Dergisi, nd). Bordieu talks about four kinds of capital, cultural, social, economic and symbolic. Cultural capital consists of certain type of knowledge and skills, language, ways of thinking and beliefs etc. Material wealth is identified as economic capital. Further, having access to social institutions, social resources and social relations contribute to social capital of an individual. The social, economic and cultural capital revolves around status, authority and prestige which are classified as symbolic capital. Bourdieu believes that students who possess more valuable social or cultural capital are expected to perform better than those who have less valuable social or cultural capital (Lareau & Horvat, 1999). Relating this theory to the Aboriginal students, the capital which they possess, whether cultural or social is always undermined. From the time, their land is occupied by the Europeans, they are lacking in the social as well economic capital. Barring them from going to school limited their access to social institutions, this resulted in their less valuable capital. Therefore, it is the discrimination against them which led them to possess less valuable capitals and hence, to their low academic performance. Teachers need to create such environment in the class where the students may build healthy relationships and enrich their social capital. Along with
that, giving value to the culture of Aboriginals as well, can improve their cultural capital. Better performance in educational institutions may help them to get better jobs in future, thus, building upon their economic capital. This strategy may also eliminate Marx’s class structures which lead to the exploitation of the powerless. In conclusion, Aboriginal students have experienced discrimination since the time their land is occupied by Europeans. No doubt, NSW, Department of Education is determined to bring improvement in their education but the things cannot change until the policies are not brought into practice. Curriculum needs to consider the interests of the Aboriginals and the teachers have to eliminate different forms of discrimination, appreciating diversity while bringing Piane and Butin’s theories into practice. While giving recognisation to the knowledge of Aboriginal students, Transaformative theory of learning can become a base for ensuring the lifelong learning of the students. Being a nation builder, it is a responsibility of a teacher to build a classless society while eliminating the classes mentioned by Karl Marx and enrich the students with various forms of capital classified by Pierre Bourdieu so that the academic performance of Aboriginal students can be improved and all kinds of discrimination can be eliminated. ReferencesBaldwin, S. C., Buchanan, A. M., & Rudisill, M. E. (2007). What teacher candidates learned about diversity, social justice and themselves from service-learning experiences. Journal of Teacher Education, 58(4). Bell, C. A., Horn, B. R., & Roxas, K. C. (2007). ). We know it’s service, but what are they learning?: Preservice teachers’ understanding of diversity. Equity & Excellence, 40(2). Dergisi, S. B. (n.d.). Pierre Burdieu’s Theory of Social Action. Retrieved September 27, 2012, from http://www.aku.edu.tr/aku/dosyayonetimi/sosyalbilens/dergi/VI2/sozturk.pdfGray, J., & Beresford, Q. (208). A ‘formidable challenge’: Australia’s quest for equity in Indigenous education. Australian Journal of Education. 52(2), 197-223. Heitmeyer, D. (2004). It’s not a Race: Aboriginality and Education, in J. Allen, Sociology of Education:Possibilities and Practices, Southbank, Melbourne, Social Science Press. (3), Chapter 10, 220-249. Lareau, A., & MacNamara, H. E. (1999). Moments of inclusion and exclusion race, class and cultural capital in family-school relationships. Sociology of Education,

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