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Gaining Insight Through Indigenous Studies

Most of us would remember learning History in school, covering civilisations from far away or Australia’s colonization through a rather narrow lens. For many of us, we can name more Native American Indian tribes than we can our own First Nations Peoples – but PLC is changing this.

Left to right: Monique Smith, Brooke Milner from Scotch College, Jasmine Walter, and Montana Reidy all in Year 11 in 2021.

Commencing in Term 4 last year, students now have the ability to learn the essential narrative of Australia’s history through the new course of ‘Aboriginal and Intercultural Studies General’. The course provides both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students the opportunity to explore ‘shared histories’ and involve themselves in active reconciliation.

The class affirms the cultural experience and identity of Aboriginal students, and all students have the opportunity to learn from, and with Aboriginal People.

2020 saw eight students enrol in the inaugural class, hailing from both PLC and Scotch College and the hope is to attract more students to this insightful course this year.

Meeza Humphries is about to start Year 11 in 2021 from the Nyul Nyul mob and thoroughly enjoyed the classes last year. “Personally, I chose AIS to learn about myself, Australia, and other cultures and mobs. I believe it is important to know and educate people (as well as myself) about different cultures and mobs.”

Understanding and valuing cultural diversity are key skills, both for citizenship in contemporary multicultural Australia and for participation in an increasingly global community.

The Aboriginal and Intercultural Studies General course is intended to equip students with the knowledge, skills and values to be active citizens at the local, national, and international levels. These skills are also highly valued in today’s workplaces. The ability to work effectively in a culturally diverse environment is important in a wide range of vocational contexts.

Jasmine Walker is also about to start Year 11 in 2021 and is from a non-Aboriginal background and chose Aboriginal and Intercultural Studies General in 2020 because she wanted to learn more about other cultures.

“I thought it would be good to learn, as I am thinking of becoming an early childhood teacher. I think it is good to know about different cultures when becoming a teacher as you will have kids from different places and cultures,” reflected Jasmine.

Ms Geetha Nair, Head of Humanities, and Ms Josephine Mfne, Assistant Head of Humanities and History Teacher, were the collective driving force behind the introduction of this course and believe it is a vital part of our shared history.

“Education is the fastest way to change how people see themselves and others. If we are truly to move forward as a reconciled nation, we must learn to acknowledge what the clash of cultures created and learn how to move beyond the problems together This subject equips the next generation to do that, together,” shared Ms Mfune.
Blackwatch Edition 2 2020 cover

Read more great articles like this one in the latest edition of Blackwatch here.

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