Senior Syllabus Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies 2009 Glossary and special terms

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Senior Syllabus

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies


Glossary and special terms

We suggest that readers look through the Glossary (at the end of the syllabus) before reading this work. This will reduce the possibility of misunderstanding a term which may have a special meaning in the context of this syllabus.

ISBN: 978-1-920749-83-5

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies

© The State of Queensland (Queensland Studies Authority) 2009

Queensland Studies Authority, PO Box 307, Spring Hill, Queensland, Australia 4004

Phone: (07) 3864 0299

Fax: (07) 3221 2553




Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies 1

1. Rationale 5

1. Rationale 5

1.1 Considerations when offering this subject 6

1.2. Staffing and resource commitments 7

1.3 Building community relationships 7

1.4 Appropriate terminology 8

1.5 Distinct peoples 8

2. Global aims 10

2. Global aims 10

3. General objectives 11

3. General objectives 11

3.1 Knowing and understanding 11

3.2 Managing and processing through critical inquiry 11

3.3 Reflecting on perspectives and processes 13

3.4 Communicating 13

3.5 Values and attitudes 13

4. Course organisation 15

4. Course organisation 15

4.1 Course requirements 15

4.2 Components of the course of study 17

4.3 Themes and inquiry topics 18

4.4 Composite classes 26

4.5 Work program requirements 27

5. Learning experiences 28

5. Learning experiences 28

5.1 Inquiry learning model 28

5.2 Approaches 29

5.3 Local area study 32

6. Assessment 37

6. Assessment 37

6.1 Principles of exit assessment 37

6.2 Planning an assessment program 40

6.3 Special provisions 41

6.4 Authentication of student work 41

6.5 Assessment techniques 42

6.6 Requirements for verification folio 43

6.7 Exit criteria and standards 45

6.8 Determining exit levels of achievement 45

7. Language education 51

7. Language education 51

7.1 Inclusive language 51

8. Quantitative concepts and skills 52

8. Quantitative concepts and skills 52

9. Educational equity 53

9. Educational equity 53

10. Resources 55

10. Resources 55

Teaching references 55

Websites 56

Texts 59

DVD 62

Journals and periodicals 63

Local human and physical resources 63

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education facilities 64

11. Glossary 65

11. Glossary 65

1. Rationale

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies is about knowing and understanding that the longest continuous cultures in the world have always survived and thrived in Australia. This is fundamental to developing and promoting respect for the integrity of all people in a robust and shared Australian identity. The histories, cultures, values, beliefs, languages, lifestyles and roles of Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander people from past and present contexts are therefore a central tenet of the subject. The syllabus acknowledges that there are two distinct Indigenous cultures in Australia: Aboriginal People and Torres Strait Islander People, and it respects their complexity.

The syllabus explores the complexity of Indigenous knowledge systems and shows how the power of these systems shapes pedagogy for all students, Indigenous and non-Indigenous. The research shows that these systems have a wealth of intelligences that form, move and interact with each other. This allows for many knowledge frameworks. The various elements are interlinked and inseparable. It is a diverse knowledge that is spread throughout different peoples in many layers. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies includes a variety of approaches that provide opportunities to understand these nuances.

The practical, personal and contextual aspects of Indigenous knowledges make it a sensitive subject to study. Discussing these aspects out of context may be viewed as intrusive or insensitive. The exploration of the community and cultural protocols is therefore an important dimension of the general objectives. Continuing contact with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, especially community figures, should form foundation experiences for students undertaking the subject. With such contact, students will be advantaged in achieving the objectives of the course.

The syllabus has a blend of the holistic1 world views of Indigenous Australians and the processes of the social sciences. Inquiry learning is a core contribution to the success of this blend.

Managing and processing through critical inquiry encapsulates the idea that knowledge frameworks are multidimensional, non-hierarchical, and that mutual relationships exist among all the elements.

Reflecting on perspectives and processes represents a shift towards a more interdisciplined and interlinked world view. This will provide students with the opportunity to produce deeper and more individuated cultural responses to community engagement.

A course based on this syllabus explores the effects of colonisation and current issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. These include contributions to local, regional, national and global economies, knowledges and communities. Understanding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander world views and cultural protocols will provide all students, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, with understandings that will help to identify and combat prejudice and racism.

The aspect of community engagement means that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies has a varied community of learners. The flexibility of the syllabus document incorporates teaching and assessment variables that recognise that the students come from diverse backgrounds and study the subject for various reasons. These variables include, but are not limited to:

the academic challenge of exploring the subtlety and diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives

using the distinct nature of the “learning log” and “multimodal” assessment techniques as pieces of cultural expression (see Section 6.5 for an explanation of these techniques).

Such a focus will enable students to apply the subject matter personally by:

analysing their own and others’ cultures

developing the ability to understand how their own cultural identity is constructed

developing the skills to recognise the part they play in creating culture

developing life skills that link to a broad range of vocational pathways.

We would encourage students to use Indigenous approaches to enrich their own understanding of topics and issues covered in the course and, indeed, the nature of knowledge itself. The teaching and learning contexts of the subject also provide opportunities for the development of five of the seven key competencies1. In designing learning activities for their students, teachers should use the listed key competencies to inspire specific inquiries or projects. In a course of study, students independently plan and manage their research and excursions in order to collect, analyse and organise information about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. As the subject requires social and cultural activity, students will interact with people individually and in groups. A range of information technology, including audiovisual equipment, can be used in communicating and conveying understandings.

Schools have a high level of flexibility in interpreting and applying the syllabus to devise courses that are best suited to the level of expertise and knowledge available within their school community, and to the needs and interests of their students.

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