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Indigenous Literacy Day Reiterated the Need to Empower Teachers with Cultural Learning Resources

6 September 2021

This year’s Indigenous Literacy Day theme was ‘Celebrating Stories and Language’ and the educational publishing company, Nelson Cengage, is taking the opportunity to highlight the gap that exists for teachers to access Indigenous resources that tell authentic stories from Australia’s First Peoples.

Taking place on the first Wednesday of September every year. Indigenous Literacy Day is an opportunity to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, stories and languages that have helped to build and enrich the country we know today.

Building Indigenous literacy is vitally important, for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, for our current and future generations, but also for our teachers – those responsible for inspiring and educating our leaders of tomorrow.

Sally Lawrence, the author of the Our Land, Our Stories teacher’s books, has spent almost 20 years working as an educator in various roles within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and was the manager for Indigenous Education in Queensland. Sally has witnessed firsthand the importance of providing resources that equip our teachers with the knowledge, and skills and, most importantly, confidence to teach the subject matter in a culturally sensitive manner.

Sally Lawrence and Michelle Martin who features in the series

“Our teachers have such an important role to play in ensuring students in every classroom, in every school, have the opportunity to learn about the beauty, wisdom and history of First Nations peoples and their communities,” said Ms Lawrence.

In Australia, most students will leave school with possibly a basic knowledge about the Stolen Generations and Indigenous rights. However, what is less robust is their experience in learning about both contemporary and historical stories of Indigenous Australia.

Our Land, Our Stories is a landmark educational series by Nelson Cengage exploring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, peoples and cultures developed in collaboration with the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS).

Developed over three years, with more than 35 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people contributing their stories, this primary school resource has been created to empower teachers to have accurate information to deliver culturally sensitive Indigenous content with confidence.

Indigenous Literacy Day is an important reminder that schools play a pivotal role in ensuring that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stories are told to our children. The Australian Curriculum sets consistent national standards for teachers across Australian schools, however many teachers admit they lack confidence in delivering First Nations content to students.

“98% of the national teaching population are non-Indigenous and until recently, teachers have been graduating from their training with limited cultural capabilities and confidence.

“That’s why resources such as Our Land, Our Stories are so important. This series provides teachers with cultural protocols, inspires the building of cultural capability and helps connect ancient wisdom to contemporary times,” said Ms Lawrence.

The Our Land, Our Stories series was developed to celebrate contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures from all over Australia, and also to address many prevailing misconceptions. Primarily, the resources address the lack of comprehensive Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander educational tools available to educators and students.

Our Land, Our Stories offers an opportunity to not only enrich the understanding of current and future generations about our nation’s history and identity but also offers an opportunity to deepen our understanding about what it means to be an Australian,” concluded Ms Lawrence.

Our Land, Our Stories is a landmark educational series for Primary Schools developed by Nelson, A Cengage Company. All resources explicitly link to the Australian Curriculum Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cross-curriculum priority –Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures. For more information visit nelsonprimary.com.au.

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