University of Technology Sydney

013407 Perspectives on Aboriginal Education

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2020 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Education: Initial Teacher Education
Credit points: 6 cp
Result type: Grade, no marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


This subject incorporates the National Professional Standards for Teachers expectations that recognise that every Australian classroom is made up of many students who come from multiple and diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds. These students' learning needs are important and may require alternative teaching programs that support their different learning needs.

Teachers have a vital role in determining the positive experiences students can have within the classroom and the learning outcomes students gain from actively participating within a culturally respectful learning environment. This subject aims to provide a snapshot of the issues that have influenced educational outcomes and promotes strategies that can support equitable participation and effective learning experiences for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

a. appreciate and discuss Aboriginal Australian cultures, histories and identities from pre-colonisation through to the twenty-first century (GTS 2.4);
b. explain the diversity that exists within and between Aboriginal Australians;
c. identify and reflect on their own life stories to make meaning of the relationship between Aboriginal and Non- Aboriginal Australians;
d. identify the significant issues (e.g. social, cultural, historical, economic, linguistic background) that impact upon the achievement of educational outcomes by Aboriginal Australian students (GTS 1.4)
e. appraise their own understanding of new knowledge gained and demonstrate discernment in regard to the selection of teaching resources that represent Aboriginal Australian peoples and/or will be used for teaching Aboriginal Australian students;
f. demonstrate their ability to enhance secondary units of work within a nominated key learning area in regard to Aboriginal Australian Studies;
g. produce accurate and cohesive academic texts

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

This subject addresses the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes:

1. Professional readiness

1.2) Know the content and how to teach it, demonstrating an advanced knowledge of a teaching program in one or more disciplines to critically evaluate its delivery

4. Indigenous competencies

4.1) Understand and appreciate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and histories, policies and priorities and their implications for teaching and inclusion

6. Effective communication

6.3) Are effective communicators, highly skilled in new literacies, able to justify and interpret professional decisions to specialist and non-specialist audiences

Teaching and learning strategies

Face-to-face classes will incorporate a range of teaching and learning strategies including short presentations, videos, simulations, discussion of readings and case studies as well as student group work. Through these teaching and learning strategies, students are afforded opportunities to develop the knowledge and dispositions needed in their Secondary School Teaching practice to embed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives in the teaching and learning experiences for their learners, and to work productively with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in both their professional and personal life. Independent student reading and participation in online discussion will complement work undertaken in tutorial sessions. Students will receive ongoing tutor and peer feedback in tutorial sessions, starting from the first tutorial.

Content (topics)

History of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education

  • Content knowledge
  • Foundation for contemporary issues

Lesson planning

  • Inclusion of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander perspectives
  • Involvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members through community organisations, NSW AECG in the planning, decision making, implementation and evaluation processes
  • Reflection on the teaching of the lesson.

Culturally relevant and safe resources

  • Inclusion in lesson planning and implementation
  • Teaching strategies and approaches

Health factors

  • Identify issues and individual student referral for treatment and health management (otitis media)
  • Teaching and classroom management strategies


Assessment task 1: Online Multiple-Choice Quiz


a and d

Type: Quiz/test
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 25%

Maximum of 100 multiple-choice questions

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Ability to recognize the sequence of key (colonial) historical events in relation to Aboriginal Australia 50 a 4.1
Ability to interpret the significance of major historical events that have impacted and continue to impact the lives of many Aboriginal Australians 50 d 4.1
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 2: Reflection Essay


c, d, e, f and g

Type: Essay
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 45%

2,000 words

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Ability to reflect and appraise understanding of new knowledge gained 25 c, e 4.1
Ability to apply new knowledge to professional practice 25 e, f 1.2
Ability to provide at least two (2) examples of how to embed Indigenous Australian perspectives / content across curriculum 25 d, f 4.1
Professionalism in written presentation, including careful proofreading and editing for effectiveness of and coherence, clarity of expression, grammatical accuracy and appropriateness and accuracy of citation 25 g 6.3
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 3: Developing Aboriginal and / or Torres Strait Islander specific units of study and /or perspectives presentation


a, b, c, e, f and g

Type: Presentation
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 30%

Equivalent to 2,000 words

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Ability to appraise understanding of new knowledge gained 25 c, e 4.1
Ability to provide examples of how to embed Aboriginal perspectives / content across curriculum 25 a, b, f 1.2
Relevance of supporting resources / references 25 e 4.1
Ability to effectively and creatively communicate ideas 25 g 6.3
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Minimum requirements

Attendance at all lectures and tutorials (classes) is essential in this subject as learning, knowledge and development of skills is based on a collaborative approach, which involves workshopping and an interchange of ideas with other students and the tutor. A maximum of one class only can be missed, and students should advise the tutor in a timely manner if they are unable to attend. This subject addresses key Graduate Teaching Standards and students’ achievements of them must be verified in multiple ways. Therefore, all three assessment tasks must be passed in order to pass this subject. For further information about Attendance and / or participation requirements see UTS Rule 3.8.


Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL). (2011) National professional standards for teachers. Canberra: MCEECDYA.

Aldos, C., Barnes, A. & Clark, J. (2008). Engaging excellent Aboriginal students in science: An innovation in culturally-inclusive schooling. The Journal of the Australian Science Teachers Association. 54(4), 35-39.

Bhathal, R. (2008). Astronomy for Aboriginal students. Astronomy and Geophysics, 49 (June), 327–329.

Burridge, N., Whalan, F. and Vaughan, K. (Eds), (2012). Indigenous Education: A Learning Journey for Teachers, Schools and Communities, Rotterdam, The netherland, Sense Publishers.

Craven, R. (Ed.). (2011). Teaching Aboriginal Studies. Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin.

Eades, D. (Ed), (2013). Aboriginal Ways of Using English, Canberra: Aboriginal Studies Press.

Fletcher, J.J (1989). Clean, clad and courteous. Marrickville, NSW: Southwood Press.

Fletcher, J.J (1989). Documents in the History of Aboriginal Education in New South Wales, Marrickville, NSW: Southwood Press.

Grant, S. (2016). Quarterly Essay (Issue 64): The Australian Dream: Blood, History and Becoming, Schwartz Publishing.

Harrison, N. and Sellwood, J. (2016). Learning and Teaching in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education, South Melbourne, Victoria: Oxford University Press.

Langton, M. (2018). Welcome to Country: A Travel Guide to Indigenous Australia, Ultimo, Sydney: Hardie Grant Travel.

McRae, D., Ainsworth, G., Hughes, P., et al (2002). What Works. The Works Program. Improving outcomes for Indigenous students. Canberra: Australian Curriculum Studies Association & National Curriculum Services.

NSW Board of Studies. (rev. 2008). Working with Aboriginal communities: A guide to community consultation and protocols. Sydney: Board of Studies NSW.

NSW Department of School Education (1996). Aboriginal Education Policy Sydney: DSE.

NSW Department of School Education (1996). Aboriginal Education, Training and Development Resource: Participant’s Handbook (Folder and video).

NSW Department of Education. (n.d.). Aboriginal perspectives in Science 7-12. Curriculum Support.

Pascoe, P. (2014). Dark emu Broome: Magabala Books

Perkins, R. and Langton, M. (Eds). (2008) First Australians: An illustrated history, Carlton: Victoria, The Miegunyah Press.

Perso, T. & Hayward, C. (2015). Teaching indigenous Students: Cultural awareness and classroom strategies for improving learning outcomes, Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin.

Phillips, J. and Lampert, Jo (2012). Introductory Indigenous Studies in Education: Reflection and the importance of knowing, Melbourne, Victoria, Pearson Australia.

Price, K. (Ed.). (2015). Knowledge of Life: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australia, Port Melbourne: Victoria, Cambridge University Press.

Price, K. (Ed.). (2012). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education: An introduction for the teaching profession, North Ryde: NSW, Cambridge University Press.

Sarra, C. (2003). Young and Black and Deadly: Strategies for Improving Outcomes for Indigenous Students Deakin West, ACT: Australian College of Educators

Sharifian, F. (2008). Aboriginal English in the classroom: An asset or a liability? Language Awareness, 17, 2, 131-138.

UTS Equity and Diversity Unit. (2011). Inclusive language and diversity resource: Indigenous issues: Guide to appropriate and inappropriate terminology. Sydney: UTS

Other resources

UTSOnline will be a major source of learning resources for this subject (eg. videos, podcasts, YouTube clips, web-links, readings etc). New items will be added over the semester so be sure to log in on a regular basis.