BlackWords is an important resource for teachers and students. It provides access to Australian Indigenous-written and Indigenous-influenced stories in many forms alongside detailed information on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander authors and their works. It can be used as a professional development tool and in the classroom.
BlackWords can help teachers embed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives in their teaching practices; expanding students understanding of Australia's history, and acknowledging the rich, diverse and continuing cultural heritage of Australia's first peoples.
BlackWords provides access to curated lists of writing from around Australia and the Torres Strait Islands. These resources address a range of themes, locations, and cultural heritages and can be used flexibly to complement a range of curriculum learning goals. Moreover, these resources ensure that teachers can include authentic, diverse perspectives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in their teaching, as is recommended by the Australian Curriculum.
Click here to explore other trails and resources developed by BlackWords collaborators.
Consider building your own lesson plans around them.
This module is based on a the short film featuring Kungganji and Birrigubba author Boori Pryor.
Link: Brown Paper Bag
The BlackWords team workshopped this idea with Solid Pathways participants (a group of deadly young people excelling at school) aged 10-12. From this workshop, the students asked themselves what they themselves have in their Brown Paper bag to keep their culture strong.
These learning resources were originally developed by Lindsay Williams for the Teaching with BlackWords Symposium held at The University of Queensland on 22 November 2017, and supported by the School of Communication and Arts. These resources were updated in October 2019 in time for a new round of workshops in Rockhampton and Mt Isa.
Below is a slideshow of Lindsay's presentation and a set of suggested activities for the classroom and teacher professional development. You can also download a PDF of these lesson plans. These should be seen as a possible starting point.
This section has special interest for History, but will also be useful for any teachers looking for resources that will provide historical contexts for units of work. For example, an English teacher might want students to research the historical background to the Rabbit Proof Fence; a Health and Physical Education teacher might wish to provide some context for the performance of an Indigenous athlete.
The place to start is with the very useful BlackWords Historical Events Calendar: Significant Dates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. This shows Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history from the time of white colonisation in 1788 to the present, and is a very accessible resource for both students and teachers.Explore the resources.
The resources listed here will take you to writings and other resources that explore Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders’ diverse experiences of ‘country’. In the essay BlackWords: Writers on Country, Dr Anita Heiss breaks down stereotypes about Indigenous relationships with the land and provides valuable background for teachers wishing to explore this concept further with their students. The essay BlackWords: Children’s Literature About Country explores children’s and young adult literature by aboriginal writers who focus on the meaning of place.
It is also recommended to read the Protocols for working with Indigenous artists and their works, endorsed by the Australia Council for the Arts.
If you intend to ask students (especially non-Indigenous students) to create writing about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and culture, then it is worth being familiar with these protocols and principles, including: respect; indigenous control; communication, consultation and consent; interpretation, integrity and authenticity; secrecy and confidentiality; attribution and copyright; continuing cultures; and recognition and protection. Even school students should be aware of and debate the sensitivities and ethics of potential cultural appropriation. Similar protocols exist for the performing arts, visual arts, media arts and music.
Other Useful Resources
Teaching Indigenous Content with Magabala Books by publisher Magabala Books
Localising Australian Indigenous Resources by Crackerjack Education.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander storytellers like Albert Holt and Boori Pryor are eloquent storytellers. When they speak, their words inextricably tie Indigenous peoples to their land and to their mob.
Storytelling continues to play an important role in maintaining and passing on knowledge, values and historical information in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. As a form of cultural transmission, it remains an important tool for educating young community members about their roles and responsibilities.
BlackWords team members create records for recognised Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander storytellers, whether or not they have published works.
To see all the storytellers currently listed in BlackWords, click here. Using the menu on the left of the search results page, select 'cultural heritage' to find storytellers in your area.
|Aboriginal Storytellers||Torres Strait Islander Storytellers|
Queensland Curriculum Authority: Storytelling in the classroom.
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