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Change is coming from the classroom

October 31, 2018

Engagement between Australia’s Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people is shifting, says author and Indigenous literary advocate Dr Anita Heiss, and the classroom is taking the lead.

“For the most part, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people do the heavy lifting in this country in terms of reconciliation and it’s not meant to be that way,” Dr Heiss told the Centre for Professional Learning’s Aboriginal Education K-12 Conference in Sydney on Tuesday.

“But I think I can see a shift, and you see it in the classroom, and real change in the way that we engage with each other in the public domain and elsewhere – that comes from the classroom.”

Dr Heiss said no Australian is born racist, they learn it at home and take it to school. “So it’s an unfortunate reality – or good reality really – that teachers have so much capacity to influence in a positive way how we view each other and how we treat each other with respect regardless of cultural heritage.”

The author of 16 books ranging in content from picture books through the school years to adult audiences, Dr Heiss’s presentation “How you can use literature to embed Aboriginal content and perspectives in you school’s KLAs” covered the array of books and material, most with teaching resources, available for K-12 teachers.

Visit cpl.asn.au/ for course and conference descriptions and to apply.

— Scott Coomber