How to make a school less white
AuthorHogarth, M; BUNDA, T
EditorBrooks, J; Heffernan, A
Source TitleThe School Leadership Survival Guide: What to do when things go wrong, how to learn from mistakes, and why you should prepare for the worst
PublisherInformation Age Publishing
University of Melbourne Author/sHogarth, Melitta
AffiliationMelbourne Graduate School of Education
CitationsHogarth, M. & BUNDA, T. (2021). How to make a school less white. Brooks, J (Ed.). Heffernan, A (Ed.). The School Leadership Survival Guide: What to do when things go wrong, how to learn from mistakes, and why you should prepare for the worst, (1), pp.347-362. Information Age Publishing.
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In this chapter, we pose the critical question – How Can Schools be Made Less White? Our intention, as Aboriginal educators and critical theorists, is to unpack the tensions and complexities in addressing the multifarious demands of community and government on schools for addressing the disparities between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and non-Indigenous counterparts. Our contention is that the education of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students is not well understood and yet, school leaders are challenged to meet “the needs of young Indigenous Australians and [promote] high expectations for their educational performance requir[ing] strategic investment” (MCEETYA, 2008, p. 15). Therefore, we begin by exploring the challenge for school leaders to acknowledge their power and position to bring change through transformative practice. We discuss the importance of promoting the development of curriculum incorporating the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures Cross-Curriculum Priority through mobilising teacher knowledge and confidence. Additionally, we investigate the role of school leaders in establishing and maintaining relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Finally, we advocate for critical understandings of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education policy to be built into school culture. It is not our intention in this chapter to position a prescriptive set of practices for addressing these matters. Rather we are bringing to the fore an Aboriginal position, informed by our own classroom experience and as academics who engage in the delivery of teaching and learning for Initial Teacher Education students in the university. Our desire is to have school leadership engage in critical dialogue with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, whether through scholarly articles or school gate conversations. Grappling with the fundamental matters of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education, grappling with the hard questions is to show courage in the movement towards finding strategies that are both responsive and substantive. This is an important measure of leadership, read through an Aboriginal lens, that will open up the possibilities for our future generations, by countering the assimilative effect of education, by making schools less white.
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