Historical texts and education materials may present dominant cultural views of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and events within Australia.
It is important to be aware of any myths, distortions and stereotypes they present. It is imperative that teachers develop a critical understanding of texts (including written, verbal and visual) and review them completely before using them in the classroom.
Critique and analyse textual representations and viewpoints in the classroom context so students gain both an appreciation of the need for developing critical literacy skills and a deeper understanding of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander past and present.
A critical review of texts requires considering:
- The origin of authors or editors
- the time, context and intention of the text
- author perspective or bias
- choice of language
- accuracy of facts and descriptions
- presentation of sacred and personal Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge and its appropriateness
- stereotypical representations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and events
- the balance of the representations of historical events
- exclusions of critical information
- involvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people within text
- eurocentric viewpoints.
To build knowledge and understanding about how to critique and analyse text and literature educators should contact and work with people who have the expertise such as the Indigenous Schooling Support Unit (ISSU) library staff
, community people in university settings, Indigenous education workers and teachers.