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Perceptions are basically how a person looks at the world and the how the knowledge about things around him is constructed. An individual's background such as social, cultural, and linguistic influences affect the personal perceptions. Negative perception and attitude regarding the indigenous peoples are embedded into the Australian society. Due to this reason, the way teachers work with Indigenous students is not satisfactory. This ultimately changes and alters the status of indigenous student success and that is what needs to change. The first major task should be to figure out why these perceptions are present in the first place. Changes in the education system can be brought about if effort is made at not only an institutional level but also at an individual level. (Dreise, 2004)
Torres Strait Islanders are the indigenous people of the Torres Strait Islands that is part of Queensland, Australia. Genetically and culturally these people are the peoples of Papua New Ginnuie. Even though they fall under the aboriginal category, they are very different from the other aboriginal cultures present in Australia today. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are diverse, rich and strong. The identity that they have is their central belief and they are quite possessive about it.
The aboriginal people and the Torres Strait island people are basically the original inhabitants of Australia. It should be cleared that when one states Aboriginal people that doesn't necessarily include people of Torres Strait Islands and the same goes for the term Torres Strait Islander. The population of Queensland is made up of both Torres State Islanders and aboriginal population. The aboriginal and the Torres Strait Islander people have different sorts of relationships and comprehension of the Australian Environment. Some relationships that these people are established more on practice and knowledge coming down from generation to generations.
As mentioned earlier, the sort of relationship created varies from person to person. The term country is basically used to talk about the association and the family origin they have to certain part of the country. They don't consider all of Australia their country rather they say that ac retain area is their country. As it was mentioned earlier, the aboriginal people and the Torres Islander peoples both have their own set of cultures and traditions and thus they have their own stories as well. The schools will benefit from the comprehension of the relationship these indigenous families have to the country where the school is located. The correlation and association these people make to the land will decrease the lack of understanding between the indigenous and non-indigenous people. Due to this reason, including more discussion about the country is a relevant strategy that is being taken up by the schools.
The Torres Strait Islands make up about the 100 islands that are present between Papa New Guinea and Australia. Torres Strait became a part of Queensland up until 1879 after the Queensland coast Islands Act 1879 was passed. In 1936, a maritime strike was arranged by the Islanders in attempts to have more domination of their affairs. These people raised their voices for fairer treatment. By 1947, the first Torres Strait resident was allowed to work on the mainland to cute canine and by the 1960s this law applied to most of the people on the Island.
By the 1980s, the Torres Strait Islander people started to protest again over their right to own land. Their protests and demands were reviewed and tossed back and forth in the High Court of Australia. Eventually, the principle of terra nullius was overturned and the basic land rights for the Torres Strait islander people were recognized. This brief introduction was to customize to the relation and the story of the group of people that would be discussed below. As it was stated before, it was in the 1940s that someone from the group of people was allowed to work in Australia.
Even though these people were the original inhabitants of the country, they got their basic rights after a long time. Since the past three decades, more awareness has been created about education in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Residents. There has been a lot of discussion on the poor performance of aboriginal students due to the absence of culturally relevant curriculum. A student is sent to a university or a high school to reach his true potential and work to all his ability. Seeing how the school is a place for everyone to excel, the students and the parents expect to be treated equally. It is true that the Aboriginal students have been progressively showing low achievement rates as opposed to the other students. Many say that the low achievement rates of the aboriginal students are due to their own faults. In other words, their low grades are a result of the actions of the individuals, their families or their communities. On the other hand, research states that it is the school system and not the aboriginal culture that must be altered. (Battiste, 2002) There are educators and researchers of both aboriginal descent and non-Aboriginal descent who feel that poor academic performance of the students is because of the ignorance or the reduced sensitive that is shown by the teacher and other class mates. (Agbo, 2001)
Seeing how the number of Aboriginal and Torres Stated Islander enrollments in colleges and universities has been increasing, there has been more interest given to their growth and progress. (Lane, 2009) Not only are more of these indigenous groups turning towards enhanced education, there are also academic centers at higher institutions being created that are solely linked to education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Teachers can get better informed about the indigenous perspectives by looking and understanding the personal histories of the groups in hand. They should have sufficient knowledge and understanding of what they are reading. Attitude and perception about a certain group is not made by studying a small number of people. A teacher should be able to connect with her students and try to look at things from their point-of-view. These actions should not be carried out for one or two students but for a large number of students. The teachers should be able to reflect personally and professional. Personal reflection to the incorporation of these perspectives is mandatory because it diminishes the thrusting effect of the perspectives. In other words, if the teachers have a personal relevance to it, they will teach and incorporate it into their respective disciplines rather than just thrust the new information.
Teachers should have a clear understanding of the knowledge framework of the indigenous people. This knowledge is rarely reviewed through the texts written about the people. It should note that the majority of the history that is present regarding these peoples has been researched and written down by the non-indigenous group. Similarly whatever the media portrays is also backed up and initiated by the non-indigenous people. It should be noted that many of the people working in a school environment are non-indigenous. These people do not belong to the Aboriginal group of the Torres Strait Islander group. Thus a major way through which teachers will be more informed is by spending time with the indigenous people.
This clearly gives teachers the stimulus to reflect on and build upon the changes that are required. Teachers should be aware of the organizational environment that they are working in. They should be able to comprehend the changes that are going on and thus be able to adapt themselves to it in a proper way. The community partnership that a teacher creates should be a strong one as well. In other words, teachers should increase their interaction with not only the non-indigenous students but also the parents of these students. The teachers should be an active part of the curriculum that is presented to them. They should be able to plan it, develop it and also evaluate what has been given to them. This again builds up on the personal linkage to the new additions to the curriculum. Teachers should be able to critical understanding the texts that they are teaching and shouldn't just be delivering lectures for the sake of it. They should know why they are doing something and understand the indigenous protocol. Lastly, teachers should be able to understand the students and the community that they are in. Trying to look at things from the perspective of the indigenous students is a major underlying theme in this process.
Even though literature on pedagogy and indigenous knowledge is present, it has been altered and moved around. Due to the Eurocentric involvement in government and public schools, many educational systems have removed indigenous knowledge. Tribal nations used to have their own diverse educational systems. (Pewewardy, 2002) A lot of practices and principles are similar for most of the indigenous people and the sort of education that they believed in. It should be noted that indigenous pedagogy sees the child as a can…[continue]
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