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Vanessa

Vanessa was a fourth and final year student of the Bachelor of Education. She completed four subjects to form an Indigenous Studies Minor as a part of her degree. Vanessa demonstrated a clear passion for Indigenous education throughout her degree studies, volunteering in the school where she completed her fourth practicum and internship as a Homework Centre tutor for several years prior.

Despite her school being an 'EATSIPS' (Embedding Aboriginal and Torrest Strait Islander Perspectives in Schools) school, and one with many curriculum and policy structures in place to support the embedding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives and knowledges, Vanessa experienced some resistance to embedding Indigenous knowledges.

Her school had their own cultural studies program (an independent subject) and Indigenous teacher with whom all classes alternated throughout the terms. It appeared that Vanessa felt her regular classroom teacher, Amanda, did not see the need to embed Indigenous knowledges in the regular classroom because the children were receiving Indigenous knowledges through the compulsory cultural studies program. Thus, Indigenous knowledges was perhaps seen as peripheral by Amanda to the core learning of English, Maths, Science, History, etc., and was not 'embedded' in the spirit of the Australian Curriculum, C2C and QSA Indigenous Perspectives Statement.

Ultimately, Vanessa decided that she would showcase her skills in embedding against the relevant professional standards and she developed an outstanding portfolio.

Postscript

Vanessa graduated and successfully secured a full-time teaching position in a large school in South-East Queensland.  Based on her lessons of national flags around the world, she focused a few lessons on the Australian flags, inclusive of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island flags.

Her passion of Indigenous knowledges and perspectives was contagious, the class (mainly non-Indigenous students) realised they could not fly all three flags in front of the school. She integrated the topic across key learning areas; her Year 7 students wrote letters seeking donations and fundraised for two extra flagpoles.

A year later, with financial assistance from a federal senator and the local representative from the House of Representative, three new flags and two flagpoles were presented to the school.