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Teaching with BlackWords
Encouraging Best Practice Teaching with Indigenous Stories
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  • Using BlackWords and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Authored Stories in the Classroom

    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.

  • Classroom Ideas

    Below are a few ideas for using blackwords in the classroom

    Click here to explore other trails and resources developed by BlackWords collaborators.

    Consider building your own lesson plans around them.

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      Classroom Idea : Author Larissa Behrendt

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      Classroom Idea : Author Melissa Lucashenko

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      Classroom Idea : Author Boori Pryor

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      Challenging the Terra Nullius of the Mind

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      Classroom Idea : Exploring 'History'

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      Classroom Idea : Exploring 'Country'

  • Further Advice

    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.

    'Getting Indigenous Voices into the Classroom' by Ellen van Neerven for ABC Splash.

  • Understanding the Term 'Storyteller'

    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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