Departmental employees are professionally accountable for including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives within their professional practices. Collective professional accountability supports the EATSIPS process.
Professional accountability alone will not enable you engage fully in the EATSIPS process—it may be:
- the starting point for many
- an institutional recognition of what you are already doing.
However, as an individual staff member, you need to be open to this process, personally committed and accountable for your own actions.
The EATSIPS process involves reframing non-Indigenous staff attitudes and perceptions about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff attitudes and perceptions about their own people.
This extends to the school community through partnerships and engagement processes that will assist in altering the attitudes and perceptions of staff, students and the school community over time.
This reframing process invites you as school leaders, teachers and education workers—Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous—to consider your own background and experiences, and to reflect on personal attitudes and perceptions in relation to your own personal history.
Attitudes and perceptions developed through personal histories and cultural perspectives (critical cultural theories) are explored, unpacked and reassessed.
This process extends from personal journeys to systemic racism, misrepresentations and omissions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in texts, media, policy, practices and institutions.
Taking personal action involves your deep personal reflection on:
- attitudes to, and perceptions about, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
- privilege based on belonging to the dominant culture
- underlying values and beliefs and how they might have developed into attitudes and perceptions
- the influence these may have on the way school staff members interact with each other, students and the community.
Working to embed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives provides opportunities to start this process with systemic support. As this process is ongoing, it is important for school leaders to monitor the process appropriately, respond to negative attitudes and perceptions as they arise, support staff in their personal revelations, and enhance the opportunities for positive actions to occur.
Strategies for personal action
Examining personal histories
When you examine your own position in today’s society and influences from your past and your family’s past, you can acknowledge, understand and respect the impact that personal histories have on the different positions people have within Australian society today: work related, economic, social, political etc.
Enables you to reflect on where you have come from and where you are now. Journals can help to create the capacity for self-reflection needed for changing attitudes and perceptions created through a dominant paradigm.
Join or create a focus group for professional and personal accountabilities to help all school staff share journeys at a personal level. This helps build relationships and extends individual learning through sharing of experiences and responses. Reconciliation groups can also help with this process.
That is ongoing and systemically sustained – establish processes for staff to share their professional (and personal) learning journey. In one-to-one meetings, you can share where EATSIPS has influenced your professional role within the school.