“Aboriginal students enter school from a social and cultural context that is quite different from the social and cultural context of the teacher.” (Schwab & Sutherland, 2001). However, while such differences make the experience of teaching and learning more complex, it is not made impossible. “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children… are just a hungry to learn as any other child.” (Two way teaching and learning, p.108)
Aboriginal students across Australia do not presently achieve educational outcomes at similar levels to other Australian students. There is a need to promote the educational achievement of Aboriginal students to enable them to participate fully and equitably. For Aboriginal students to reach their full potential, it is important to recognise the role of Indigenous parents as the first educators of their children and to work collaboratively with Aboriginal families and communities in the educational process.
The Church’s commitment to social justice calls us to recognise, appreciate and celebrate cultural diversity. A curriculum that is truly Australian should provide opportunities for all students to develop knowledge, understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal heritage, cultures, and contemporary issues. In order to provide a supportive learning environment for Aboriginal students, it is important to identify negative factors which impact on learning and self-esteem and develop strategies to address the specific needs of these students in our schools.