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  • Create Date April 23, 2020
  • Last Updated May 21, 2020

Caring for Country: First Nation peoples' perspectives on managing our resources sustainably 2019

Waste education and Caring for Country

The Caring for Country: First Nation peoples' perspectives on sustainable resource management school guide provides waste education classroom activities for teachers who work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students throughout Queensland, including those in remote communities, teachers of non-Indigenous students and pre-service teachers.

The Waste in the classroom guides are designed to support teachers by providing easy-to-use, stand-alone activities which develop student understanding about waste issues.

This guide enables educators to connect to and embed:

It identifies Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge frameworks which support educators to facilitate learning in waste education that is culturally respectful and inclusive. More information about these knowledge frameworks can be found on the QCAA webpage above.

Similarly, the Australian Curriculum recognises the importance of embedding understandings about Australia’s First Nations across the learning areas to enable:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and their families to see their cultures reflected in the classroom learning and practice.
  • all students to understand and respect First Nation cultures and the goals of reconciliation.

This guide highlights the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures cross-curriculum priority organising ideas[1] (OI) relevant to sustainable waste management education in schools:

OI2—Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities maintain a special connection to and responsibility for Country/Place.

OI5—Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ ways of life are uniquely expressed through ways of being, knowing, thinking and doing.

Protocols for building relations with First Peoples of Australia

Schools build respectful relationships with their local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples by following established protocols. Make sure you follow the protocols provided by your educational jurisdiction. The Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA) has support resources about Protocols: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ways of working.

These protocols include:

  • Always connect with the local Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islander community, community councils, land councils, Land and Sea Rangers and Traditional Owners.
  • Be guided by and seek permission from community to access culturally significant sites and traditional lands. Some significant sites are not for general access.
  • Seek to understand and accept cultural differences and viewpoints.
  • Only take what you need.
  • Always share what you learnt and did with your local community.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ways of knowing

This guide demonstrates how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge frameworks (8 Aboriginal ways of knowing and Uncle Ernie's holistic framework) can be used in classrooms in culturally inclusive and respectful ways to improve learning outcomes for all students about waste education topics. It addresses key waste management topics i.e. taking action on waste, sustainable waste management, materials and their value, rethink: avoid and reduce, repair and reuse, reduce organic waste and recycle.

Activities include using yarning circles, sharing stories, using Aboriginal processes and protocols to plan writing tasks, using the concept of 'Caring for Country' to explore the history and waste management practices in their local communities and creating art works from marine debris and waste. It provides students with the opportunity to engage with their local Elders and other key community members to solve local waste issues. Lots of innovative teaching ideas!

[1] © Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) 2010 to present, unless otherwise indicated. This material was downloaded from the Australian Curriculum website (accessed 11 April 2020) and was not modified. The material is licensed under CC BY 4.0. Version updates are tracked in the ‘Curriculum version history’ section on the About the Australian Curriculum page of the Australian Curriculum website.

ACARA does not endorse any product that uses the Australian Curriculum or make any representations as to the quality of such products. Any product that uses material published on this website should not be taken to be affiliated with ACARA or have the sponsorship or approval of ACARA.

It is up to each person to make their own assessment of the product, taking into account matters including, but not limited to, the version number and the degree to which the materials align with the content descriptions and achievement standards (where relevant). Where there is a claim of alignment, it is important to check that the materials align with the content descriptions and achievement standards (endorsed by all education Ministers), not the elaborations (examples provided by ACARA).

This document is part of the suite of free waste education resources at www.wasteeducation-qld.org