Aboriginal Education Project: Wadjak Noongar
Education Materials Project: Aboriginal History, Culture and Issues
A pilot study is currently underway in thirteen Year 9 Humanities and Social Sciences classes in four northern Perth government high schools, with evaluation as a formal academic study by Researchers from Murdoch University. The major long-term objective of this project is to raise the general level of understanding of Western Australian people regarding Aboriginal history, culture and issues. The entire project may involve up to three projects in different regional areas of Western Australia.
The project pursues its objective via production of suitable education materials for use in secondary schools. Existing materials have been reviewed and new materials designed to meet the needs of teachers and students, with special consideration of digital aspects of teaching and learning. The project also takes into account changes in teaching as a result of development of the new Australian Curriculum – see ACARA. The project proposal has been discussed with staff from the WA Department of Education, who are collaborating with the project.
Identification and assembly of the first example set of education materials has been facilitated by collaboration with the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council (SWALSC) – see Kaartdijin Noongar website at KAARTDIJIN. The materials focus on Wadjak Noongar, the language group from the Perth area where the trial is occurring. Indigenous Intellectual Property rights have been emphasized in this project. The approach adopted is for most of the material presented at any school to be about the Aboriginal language groups and communities in that locality, rather than an amalgamation of materials about Aboriginal people across the country. The project has included the development of a Professional Development workshop to assist teachers in teaching the pilot course about Wadjak Noongar.
The project has a second objective of advancing practical reconciliation in regional WA as well as Perth in conjunction with the Rotary District 9455 Aboriginal Reference Group and regional Rotary clubs. Project oversight is provided by a Project Reference Group consisting of senior Indigenous people and educationalists interested in this topic.
Around July 2015, Rotary, in collaboration with Murdoch University, SWALSC and the WA Department of Education, will distributed a report on the pilot project to secondary schools, Rotary Clubs and regional Aboriginal organisations in WA. This will stimulate interest in extending the project to other Metropolitan and Regional State High Schools and aid in raising the necessary funding.