Our land, our stories, our classrooms

Transcript of interview with Madonna King and Alison Quin

Madonna: Welcome to season two of Podclass, a series of conversations that delve deeper into the world of educators. I'm Madonna King and I'm excited again to be unpacking some of the important issues that face teachers and parents today.

Intro: Teachers help shape our children for the future. They develop the next generation of leaders, thinkers and innovators and they know better than most that learning never stops. Even for themselves.

Dr Chris Blundell: Technology is viewed as being part of learning now and so schools are moving in that direction. It's valued as something that's essential.

Alison Quin: It's certainly an Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander way of seeing the world where country is foundational.

Intro: This is the podcast for educators by educators.

Dr Lyndal O’Gorman: I think it's about communicating and understanding meaning, then that helps to step up our understanding of what art can do in education.

Dr Jennifer Alford: There could be 30 languages represented. Teachers don't need to feel that they need to speak all of those languages.

Dr Jenna Gillett-Swan: I think what are the key things is ensuring that students have an equal seat at the table.

Intro: This is QUT Podclass, and we look forward to diving into season two with you.

Madonna: What plays a role in success in the classroom? What challenges do teachers face? And what new opportunities can they embrace? There are so many important topics to cover, but today's episode is all about embedding Indigenous perspectives. How do you go about doing that? What will students gain and what resources are there available to assist teachers? Our guest today is Alison Quin, a former high school teacher, who now lectures in Indigenous education in QUT’s Faculty of Education. And we're recording this podcast on Turrbal and Yugara country. Alison, hello.

Alison: Hello Madonna.

Madonna: You are of Tagalak descent, tell me about your own education.

Alison: I’d say that my own education through primary school and secondary school was very similar to many other people's mainstream Australian education in the 80s and 90s. As an Aboriginal person, it really didn't come across into the classroom or any of my experiences. I have a vague recollection, in primary school, of some unit we were studying that had some pictures; I can sort of see an Aboriginal person holding a spear and I think they were hunting kangaroos. But it was in terms of here’s a town, there were Aborigines, the town got built, the Aborigines disappeared, kind of narrative. And that's really the only thing that stands out in any of my education. And so, for me, I guess there was just a big dislocation between who I was and this thing that you did, actually at school, who you became when you're at school.

Madonna: Yeah, well you then became a high school teacher in Darwin. You worked in remote communities, in the science unit at QuestaCon, lectured in Indigenous studies online. What actually underpinned all of that to bring you to what you're doing today?

Alison: I think it's my own interest. You know, I'm interested in learning. So all of those things have just taken me on journeys where you get to meet different people and learn different things. So that has been a great privilege. But I think, as well, what that’s shown me is that here in Australia we actually have two great knowledge traditions. So we do have the knowledge tradition that came across from Europe and we do have the knowledge tradition that has been here for tens of thousands of years. And at the moment in education, there's a disparity in what gets shared and what gets known. And so my whole thing, really, is just trying to bring that back to an equal footing.

Madonna: Yeah.

Alison: Because these are the two great traditions that are here.

Madonna: And not just for Indigenous children, for all children.

Alison: For everyone. This is our whole inheritance and we can't actually go forward into the future unless we actually bring those two together on an equal footing.

Madonna: Do you think it's natural for teachers to default to how they were taught?

Alison: I think that is part of the process. I mean as students going through education systems ourselves, we have a whole heap of role models, we see what teachers do. And so that when you actually stand up there for the first time yourself,

Madonna: Yeah.

Alison: You do what you know, what you've seen, what you've experienced. And for a lot of people there is a sameness in the continuity between what they experienced as they went through the classroom themselves and then as they step in as a teacher, it is the same kind of place and the same kind of experiences.

Madonna: So what about you, did you feel prepared to teach those sitting in front of you?

Alison: For me it became complicated really quickly. And I think I went in thinking I'll become a teacher, with that mindset of ‘I’ll just do what teachers do’. Which is what I'd seen myself as a student. And very early on, in one of my pracs when I was becoming a teacher, I observed a teacher who was teaching a unit to a class of mostly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids. Boarding school setting, so they come from many different nations, and it was about Lieutenant James Cook discovering Australia, and then the arrival of the First Fleet and how Australia began. And it was fascinating just to watch it because, one, the content was part of that narrative of discovery and he begins the Great Australian nation, which is not necessarily where my views sit. And at the same time, it was fascinating to watch the students who this they were studying something that was the beginning of the theft of their land and their own disempowerment and that didn't cause a blip of thought. And I actually thought that it was something to do with the way it was being taught. Because it's being taught with a textbook and worksheets. And it just became, for them, an activity of find the answers.

Madonna: Yes.

Alison: And there was no engagement with the actual content of what was being taught.

Madonna: Yeah.

Alison: So there becomes, in that way, some kind of, you know, non-critical thinking and just absorbing. And right then and there I just suddenly thought what is this education thing and what is my role in that and if I was actually teaching that particular unit to the particular class, what would I do?

Madonna: Yes.

Alison: That point I had no answers. But really my journey has just been trying to find those answers ever since.

Madonna: Yes. So what mightn’t a teacher understand about the importance of understanding the context around our history?

Alison: It shapes who Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are today. It shapes the whole nation. But it's really hard to see that. So where Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander people have been disempowered and disadvantaged, others have been empowered and advantaged and it's very hard to see that. And some of that plays out in the classroom as well; in which knowledges are privileged, which ones are the things that are to be known and which ones are just those sideline things.

Madonna: Yes.

Alison: Which is always been the place of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content in education and in schools and classrooms. It's on the side. It's an add-on. It's an interesting thing, but it's not the core business of what is to be known and what can be known. And so alongside that, in terms of teaching, there's that way of teaching influences how you teach things, influences how you know things.

Madonna: Yeah.

Alison: And so, you can teach things to a textbook and it's a particular way of knowing something and it doesn't necessarily, again, align with that incredible tradition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ways of knowing in this content.

Madonna: From your experience how I teachers doing this now?

Alison: So, we have a range of things going on, because we do have some new initiatives that have come in. So, the Australian curriculum has formalised nationally that this is something that can be taught. So Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures. There is a cross-curriculum priority, which means that all teachers can take this, no matter what they're teaching, no matter what level of schooling they’re teaching and it can become something that's part of their classroom work and part of what's being taught. And so that leads then to all sorts of things that can be happening. So, teachers as professionals, can work out – well, who are they? What's their classroom? Who are the kids that are there? What are the things that can happen? How do we actually take those things and make it relevant to what's being taught and who's in that classroom?

Madonna: So, we talking about bush tucker gardens and visiting talks from Elders? Or am I missing the point here – are there many more innovative ways of delivering these lessons?

Alison: Yeah, so there's no off-the-shelf product that you can just take and apply and ‘oh we've solved this situation’. We have been trying lots of different things in this space. We haven't solved it. So, it's not going to be a silver bullet. We need to be able to create and trust teachers as professionals to be able to say ‘well here are the kids in front of me. Here’s where I am. Here are the people I have relationships within the community. Here's what we're trying to achieve through this education. And here's the strategies I'm going to use’. And it may be that a bush tucker garden is right for that. It may be ongoing, sustained involvement of Elders in delivering content.

Madonna: Or in choosing the books you study maybe?

Alison: It could be choosing the books that you study. It could be bringing in things to do with the landscape where you are - so you're embedding the learning that students are doing in the location and making those connections. Or connecting in with community - are there things that the community likes to see, where the school and the community can actually connect and achieve things together. There's no one answer and this is actually one of the complications in teaching in this space. So I can't tell teachers what to do when you're out there, ‘this is what you do’.

Madonna: Yes.

Alison: It's actually when you're out there, you have to figure out all these bits and pieces to be able to figure out what to do.

Madonna: So many questions out of that. How does a teacher know they're doing this well, then?

Alison: The best resonance there, is going to be – one, student learning. But two, any of the connections that you can have with community, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents and caregivers and community and community organisations. Those connections are going to be the thing that tells you that you're on the right track. Because you're going to be doing this. The ultimate is you do this together. This is not something where you do it and they're out there. This is actually where you have relationships and partnerships to achieve good education outcomes.

Madonna: Do you see a generational change in how teachers are doing this?

Alison: I think we might be on the cusp of one, because this has been increasing in initial teacher education programs. It is now required. So, the introduction of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers, has two particular standards that relate to being able to teach Indigenous children and also being able to provide learning opportunities for all students in terms of reconciliation. So being able to embed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives. And so once you get into that territory, all of the new generations of teachers coming through will have studied that in their teaching and will need to be able to show capabilities against that. And in fact, all teachers need to be able to show that capability. It's just that not everyone's been prepared to be able to do that.

Madonna: You're listening to QUT Podclass. I'm Madonna King and with me Alison Quin, who lectures in Indigenous education in QUT’s Faculty of Education. And today we're looking at embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives into lessons. Alison, does it help if a teacher understands their own background and how its influenced them?

Alison: For me, it’s the starting point. So, a lot of the way that we think about this is we look at any Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in the classroom and we think ‘oh, so, who are they culturally? Where are they coming from? How is that affecting how they interact in the classroom?’. So we can put them under the microscope. But all of what's happening with those students is happening with the teacher as well.

Madonna: Yeah.

Alison: So, the teacher’s cultural background is influencing how they operate in the classroom and how they interact and the choices that they make. And so being able to be aware of that is the first step in sort of understanding how a person, as a teacher, is situated in relation to this big entity called education. And what that might be doing in terms of any First Nations students in the classroom.

Madonna: You mentioned the curriculum. What about the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers, does it provide any guidance here?

Alison: It provides standards in terms of what teachers need to be able to do.

Madonna: Yes.

Alison: So,

Madonna: But not how to do it.

Alison: Not necessarily how to do it. I mean AITSL provides some exemplars.

Madonna: Yes.

Alison: And there are little bits and pieces around that. But really the standards are more just about what teachers need to be able to do in terms of their capabilities. And so it's really up to their own learning places, so any initial teacher education programs, to be able to prepare them to be able to meet those.

Madonna: So what are the issues that might arise if a teacher doesn't have a real understanding?

Alison: So, it could be the same situation that I found myself in as a child. So, here's me as an Aboriginal child - this is who I am. Being in a school that just doesn't acknowledge that, it completely ignores it.

Madonna: It's almost heart-breaking when you say it like that.

Alison: Well, it caused a lot of complications, you know. There is no doubt, and this I am certain, that many, many other Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander people go through this, is - who are you and how do you know yourself. And part of society is creating that, but obviously education as a part of society is part of that enculturation process.

Madonna: And it isn’t just about Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander students either, is it? It's about all students.

Alison: So, if we don't acknowledge this and if we don't bring it into the classroom, then a whole generation of students grows up in ignorance and continued ignorance. And with particular understandings of Australian history as it relates to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and also Peoples themselves. And we know that those stereotypes are out there in society. And for students to continue to grow up in ignorance means that those kinds of understandings get perpetuated.

Madonna: So, take me inside a primary school where a teacher is really good. What might be the thought or the processes behind what they do?

Alison: So, first of all, as much as teachers can do a lot in their classrooms, some of this also has to operate at the school level. Because we need to be aware that if a student on their whole learning journey has a fantastic year here, but then nothing else either side of it - It actually has limited effect.

Madonna: Yes.

Alison: So, there needs to be whole of school approaches to this. But inside the classroom, aligning with those approaches, is a recognition that this school is located somewhere. It's on someone's country and there is a history and a context. And embedding that becomes something where you recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives. Where country is the first teacher. So, where are we? What's around us? How do we bring that in? And that can be a whole range of things. It can be the landscape that we’re in, it can be the things that are there - like the particular types of trees or the animals, and we can use them as our sort of launch pad for different types of learning. It can be the community and its particular history. So, we make those connections to where we are. So, one of the other ways that you can do that is not just in the physical sense. We can do this in a sort of more metaphorical sense. So we can actually draw and go we’re about to teach a unit here.

Madonna: Yes.

Alison: And here's our learning journey that we're going to take and you'll see that it takes the shape of the river outside. And so, here's all the different places that we're going to go.

Madonna: Yes.

Alison: So that's actually bringing in, it's a very simple thing you can teach absolutely anything using that kind of metaphorical framing, and that's making that connection to where we are, to the teaching that we're doing. It's a cultural aspect and its certainly an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander way of seeing the world - where country is foundational.

Madonna: Alison, you were a teacher. How did you do this, let’s say, in a in a primary school class?

Alison: So there was one time when I was teaching in a community up on the Cape and we were doing science and this particular lesson was about density. And so you can do this neat little experiment where you get two equal amounts of water, that you pour a whole heap of salt into one of them so that it becomes really dense, and you colour the waters different, and you can actually put one on top of the other - so fresh water floats on top of saltwater because salt water is more dense. And so this is, you know, the science experiment and the things that we work through but in this particular community, saltwater and freshwater had an additional resonance. So because particular clans and families, consider themselves freshwater people, so river people, and others considered themselves salt water people, there were the saltwater people. We had kids in the class who would think of themselves in those terms and so we use that and so the kids who had responsibility for the fresh water were the freshwater kids and the kids who had responsibility for the salt water were the salt water kids. And then we did these experiments together in pairs and ultimately sort of we created things where we could mix salt water and fresh water. That's with our classroom. So we were mixing freshwater and saltwater.

Madonna: Wow.

Alison: But one of the things that I had to be really aware of is that there's an additional philosophical layer to all of that as well. So there are knowledges associated with that - the salt water people can have, that the freshwater people can have, they’re connected to their land and their kinship connections. And that's all sitting there in the background that these students are drawing on as well. And that's the territory that because I'm an outsider, I don't actually know about. And actually can't really enter into. That's taught within the communities on constructs, but it was there. And so I think that lesson itself, you know as much as that was great in itself, the ability to then connect in with community people, to be able to bring in that additional layer of learning would have been a great enhancement for that particular lesson.

Madonna: You've been quite careful not to prescribe to teachers what they should do, specifically. Why is that?

Alison: It's because we need to be responsive to every single unique situation. So the students in any given classroom, in any given location, the country, it's particular history, the people who are there now, all of that is going to be pieces that make up a different picture every single time. So I can't say that bringing in an elder to tell dreaming stories is the right strategy because we need to know the students, what it is you're trying to teach, is this a good pedagogical approach, is this the right person to be coming in and bringing in this knowledge?

Madonna: So when you have teachers come in to do PD at QUT, what do they struggle with or what advice do you give them in terms of embedding these perspectives?

Alison: So often it's the notion that I can't give you an off-the-shelf product. I can't give you ‘use this, do that, problem solved’. This is something that does take individual work and also takes time. And we know that there's often an urgency. We want the answers right now for what we want to do right now.

Madonna: Yeah.

Alison: And to be able to step back and to take that learning journey is often just a difficult thing to do. To take that deep breath and just ‘it's okay, we're going to work through this’. Because there is that chance that if you just go off the cuff, then you can, I don't want to say cause damage, but you might not be as successful as you as you want to be.

Madonna: And the sky's the limit. It's a matter of tailoring it to those beautiful children sitting in front of you. Do teachers need connections with the people from the land and the knowledge holders so that they can pass that on, or can it actually be done without that?

Alison: There needs to be some kind of recognition of where you are.

Madonna: Yes.

Alison: So Australia's history has created particular kinds of chaos. So it is difficult to find in all instances, that you have the people of that country on that country. You'll often have many other people from different nations on country. And you'll often have disrupted knowledge traditions as well. So you're going to have a whole range of different potential circumstances. And this is one of the things where teachers need to be able to work that out. So, where are you? What is the context? What is the history of this place? What kinds of relationships do you need to be able to go forward in this space?

Madonna: How you do it in maths or English or science, might that even depend on what country?

Alison: Absolutely, absolutely.

Madonna: How?

Alison: So this is where every single context becomes unique. Because we're really saying that for a teacher in a classroom. You work out - who are the students? What do they need to learn? Who are they? How do we be responsive to them? Where are we? What's appropriate here?

Madonna: Yeah.

Alison: And so for everything that you're doing, you’re starting with the student, what you want them to learn, but you have to recognise that bigger connection in that place and what it all means. And so every single time it is going to be unique and tailored kind of learning experience.

Madonna: For a teacher listening who wants some guidance here, is there professional development available?

Alison: At QUT we do offer professional development for teachers. We have workshops that really get to the heart of what are Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander perspectives. It's a word that gets tossed around a lot. And so, you know, we work with it. We work with the QUT Kelvin Grove campus to sort of unpack here we are. What does it mean? What's the perspectives here? And then we also have workshops that are about well, let's look at your teaching and your context and let's see. Well, how could we actually work on this in your space? And we also have further study options as well. So graduate certificates.

Madonna: From my perspective a lot of this seems umbrellaed by subtlety. Would you like it to be less so or does this actually allow a broadness in how a teacher might deliver lessons?

Alison: We need teachers to have the space to be responsive to their context and there is definitely a conversation here between national standards and localised autonomy. So you do need that ability to be responsive to where you are. And there is a tension when you have national standards.

Madonna: So that brings in the curriculum, I guess. Let me ask, for a teacher listening who wants to go into the classroom tomorrow and thinks this is something that I haven't been doing, I'd love to improve or increase - what would be their starting point to embed Indigenous perspectives in in their class?

Alison: Well, this is one of the complications, I would say don't start tomorrow.

Madonna: Yeah.

Alison: This is actually, there needs to be some careful work before you can get to that stage.

Madonna: Yes.

Alison: But if you want to go into the classroom tomorrow, is find out who your kids are, find out who those students are in the classroom. If you have Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students at the school or in your class, get to know them, get to know their parents and through that get to know the community. So relationships and knowing your local context and filling in all of those gaps that you might have in terms of the local history and even national history and the impacts it’s had, are going to be the first step that will guide you.

Madonna: And ensuring that it's a school-wide approach.

Alison: So teachers have differing responsibilities in that, so there is a role here for school leadership, as well and to be able to work out what this means for the whole school, for the whole student learning journey rather than let’s not conceptualise it as the school. We think of a student going through - how are they going to be exposed to all of this through their journey?

Madonna: So now what do you see as the big challenges or hurdles to us embedding these perspectives across education?

Alison: Really just that we're starting from a long way behind, this is going to take a lot of new work. So whenever teachers are coming through my classes at QUT, I'm always saying to them you will be the innovators in this space. There is nothing – there are things out there that we can look at in terms of good practice, but you will be the ones in your context who are going to lead in this space.

Madonna: I can't help thinking that there's a discussion in wider Australia, which is not always nice, that might permeate many classrooms.

Alison: Well, I guess this is something that's underlying all of this isn't it? In that there is something at the heart of Australia itself where we have had people here since the beginning and then 200 odd years of an imposed system. And that has empowered some and disempowered others and this really is about changing the future of Australia so that we can bring back some balance.

Madonna: So how could we change our national narrative going forward? Where could we start? Is it with young children? Is it too late by the time our students are in grade 11 and 12?

Alison: No, it's never too late. This is one of those things where you are working with these ideas across all of society. So this needs to be an understanding of Australia's position on these matters.

Madonna: Yeah.

Alison: So it permeates all of our institutions including education.

Madonna: What about parents and caregivers? What can they do in this space?

Alison: For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents, there is actually, and community people as well, the relationship between schools and themselves can often be very fraught. There haven't been good experiences in the past and there is an element of patience and capability building and trying to find those people that we can work with within schools, who we can develop those relationships with. And for parents, generally, I guess this is where it's not just about working on the kids. I mean, this is if you're taking that school-wide approach then this is an element of what you're talking about. This is what the school stands for and this is what our school community stands for and this is how we do these things. So parents become part of that school community and part of that base.

Madonna: We can all learn.

Alison: Well and this is this is where I think you know, we sort of get to that point of saying well what is schools, you know, they focus on the young people but they don't have to you know, this is about education. How do we work through that?

Madonna: Picking up on your comment earlier on younger teachers, how does a teacher who has not been exposed to this, who might have been teaching, let's say, very well for 30 years, is this harder for them? Or what advice, what tips would you have for them?

Alison: I don't think it's harder. I think there can sometimes be some difficulties or confrontations when you start looking at yourself and who you are and you know, so maybe there's a difficult journey there. But actually teachers who are so experienced, I mean, it would be extraordinary to have their engagement with these kinds of initiatives because they have so much experience and knowledge already. And so I think they're in a good position to be able to lead and guide here. And again, so we do offer, there's a website ‘your story, our journey’, which is made for teachers who are out there who want to just start taking their own little journey in this space.

Madonna: So you've worked on this national project with QUT colleagues on how to best prepare teachers to engage in this ‘your story, our journey’ dot net. Just explain that to me.

Alison: So this is actually for the teachers who perhaps have not gone through an education program that has trained them to be able to do this. We do know that there are many teachers out there who want to embed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives and just not sure how to go about it. So we've created a learning resource that people can engage within their own time, in their own space, people come in and out as they need to and it's built around some principles such as knowing yourself and your community. And it’s just got some guiding questions on do you know whose country you’re on and you know, if you don't here’s a resource where you could perhaps go find out. Or here’s someone you could, find someone that you can go talk to and there's a couple different things there. So who you are in your community, proactivity, so working on that this is not an easy task and that sometimes you'll try things and they'll fail, sometimes you'll reach out and be rejected and so it's just that notion of you're just keeping on rethinking and persisting in this space. There's a principle of togetherness, which is really just highlighting that this is not you as a lone actor, this is about forming those relationships and bringing community and school together so that education becomes something that we do together. And so it's built around those kinds of principles and it's really just for people to sort of, there's some leading questions and then some suggestions for how people could find answers to those questions. If they feel that they, this is something they don't know about and would like to know more about for themselves.

Madonna: So there are several resources on the site that people can access.

Alison: Yeah.

Madonna: We’ll include a list of those in our show notes at the end of this QUT Podclass. How important do you think teachers are in changing this whole narrative nationally?

Alison: I think teachers can have a very great impact. The number of students that they see over the course of their career and how they can shape those initial understandings and further student understandings, one teacher can have an extraordinary impact. And collectively teachers can have an impact as well. So as teachers, you know in different organisations, associations that they can belong to, then they can also further understandings in this space. You know, just thinking in history teachers’ association or how do you do that for that? How do you do it in terms of maths, you know those kinds of things. And so I think teachers, I mean is this is not just about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education, teachers are the people that we say to create the next generation. And these are the ones that we trust to take our country forward.

Madonna: Yeah, it struck a chord with me when you said, you know one teacher can have an extraordinary impact. It did in my life and no doubt your life and you think that that child sitting there today is the person who may think differently walking out of your classroom – it's quite powerful, isn't it? So, what's the big picture when you go to work each day, is it to drive education and life outcomes for Aboriginal children?

Alison: Yes. Yes. Absolutely. The starting point for me is just the fact that we have a situation in Australia where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, we’ll run through the statistics - they have shorter life expectancies. They have poorer health outcomes. They have poorer employment outcomes. They have poorer education outcomes and it leads to a cycle of disadvantage and that's really what we're trying to break. Education is one way to do it. There is no doubt that individual students can find a pathway and build a life that can step out of those boundaries of disadvantage, but it's not just about the individual. We actually have to change Australia so that all of these societies in the whole of Australian society doesn't have this inequity anymore.

Madonna: Yeah.

Alison: And that's really where it’s coming from. I'm doing my little bit in education to try and figure out how we can use teacher education and teachers and education to address that inequity. But this is actually a conversation that is happening across Australia. But unless we address that very real issue at the core of Australia, which is that this country is built on the theft of land and the disempowerment of a whole people, then we're not really going to make the big advances that we need to. We can do little bits around the edges, but there is also a core change that needs to come through.

Madonna: So we began with this chat with reflecting on your own childhood, you now have your own children. If you had to tell me your single hope here, what is it and have you attached a timeframe to that?

Alison: Well in terms of time frame, it's taken us two hundred odd years to get into the situation that we're in now, so this is not going to change overnight. This is going to be the result of many generations to come. And I actually think that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives help us here because we have been here since the beginning and we are still here. We talk about this in terms of we're changing things. We want to change things. But actually this is just the continuation of what we've been fighting for since January 1788. I think that you know, this is something that the Australian society will continue to work through for many generations. And so for my own children who are in the situation right now, I just hope that my daughter in primary school, that she will meet teachers who understand this context and who will be able to bring this into the classroom for her so that she, not only gets validated for who she is in terms of her identity, but she also learns school is a place to learn. So this is somewhere where she can learn some of those Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives and potentially in different places knowledges so that this becomes part of just her normal education. This is not something that we do when we go camping on the weekend.

Madonna: And her non-Indigenous friends too. All our students benefit from understanding this don't they?

Alison: Well, this is the privilege that we can all have, that all Australians can have, is to be able to learn from these two great knowledge traditions.

Madonna: Delivered by teachers. Alison Quin, thank you.

Alison: Thank you.

Madonna: Alison lectures in Indigenous education in QUT’s Faculty of Education. I’m Madonna King and you're listening to Podclass, the QUT podcast series focusing on teachers and teaching.

Madonna: Thanks for listening to this episode of Podclass. I hope you got as much out of it as I did. For a little homework, links to further information and insight on this topic, see the details provided in the show notes. Or to continue broadening your thinking in the classroom, listen in to the other season 2 episodes.

Outro: Podclass is an initiative of the QUT Faculty of Education. To take your teaching potential to the next level, explore their range of professional development and postgraduate study options on offer. Because the more you learn, the more they learn.