Although schools have processes for identifying and developing partnerships with the community, personalising these relationships by using your professional and personal accountability processes is invaluable.
Seeking partnerships with a diverse range of people will expose teachers to a variety of positions, standpoints and perspectives. This rich tapestry of knowledge and personal histories will greatly assist teachers and students in understanding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Personal commitments outside of school to attend community events and functions assist in developing partnerships and relationships based on mutual respect.
These personal experiences will ultimately influence the lives of teachers and the curriculum.
Consider the following strategies for developing strong community partnerships.
- Keep up to date with events hosted by local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community organisations and advertise these in notices or newsletters
- Include annual Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander events (local, regional and national) on the school’s calendar.
- Develop and disseminate a list of local community organisations.
- Support the development of units of work and school programs around community needs.
- Ensure local communities are involved in the explicit teaching of local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander protocols, and respect for country.
- Establish community/school protocols for sharing both cultural and school information.
- Engage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the planning, implementation and evaluation of units and school projects, particularly those of cultural sensitivity or diverse viewpoints.
Community partnerships guiding questions
Following are some questions to guide the planning process.
- What community issues or concerns may arise through the content of this unit?
- Who do I need to consult before I start to plan this unit?
- Are there any sensitive issues that the community may need to know about?
- What Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge of the community can I collect, record and use in the unit?
- Are there any community events that will link with this unit?
- What effective practices or knowledge frameworks exist within my local community or other Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander communities from around Australia?
- Who from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community will be involved with the planning, delivery and evaluation of the unit?
- What role will Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, parents and Indigenous Education Workers have in the planning, delivery and evaluation of the unit?
- How will I establish and maintain contact with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people during this unit?
- What protocols will need to observed during the planning, delivery and evaluation of the unit?
- Will the outcomes of the unit benefit Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people or the local community?