The following suggestions aim to assist teachers in using Magabala books to incorporate Indigenous content and perspectives into their classrooms. Along with the teacher resources for each title, these practical hints will help maximise the rich learning opportunities provided by the books.
- Huge diversity exists within and between Indigenous communities. While Magabala books offer insights into a variety of Indigenous people, practices and places, it is important that students understand that each text explores a specific context. To highlight Indigenous diversity it may be useful to explore the themes raised in any given text within your local context. This could involve, for example, asking a local Indigenous representative into your class, visiting a nearby site of significance, or researching the Indigenous group/s from your area and their language/s.
- Magabala’s books provide great opportunities to develop students’ intercultural understanding, which has been identified as a general capability in the Australian Curriculum. Empathy tasks can be particularly useful in this regard. This could involve asking students to respond creatively to texts by taking on the role of characters or individuals in books. Highlighting the similarities between students and characters, rather than the differences, can also be an effective way of developing intercultural understanding.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures are living, changing and ongoing. Be mindful, particularly when using texts about the past, not to describe cultural practices or beliefs as happening only in the past.
- When discussing a book as a class, it is preferable to avoid generalisations about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The statement ‘Aboriginal people use boomerangs to hunt animals’, for example, is misleading, as boomerangs are only culturally significant in some areas. It is preferable to qualify statements (e.g. ‘The Yawuru people…’). For similar reasons, avoid asking students, including Indigenous students, to contribute to discussions on behalf of a cultural or racial group. Students should instead be encouraged to offer personal perspectives.
- Themes covered in some Magabala books, such as the stolen generations, discrimination and violence, may be distressing for students. These books can be powerful tools for addressing difficult issues, but care should be taken. Students may not wish to be active participants in class discussions and providing opportunities for individual reflection can be useful. It is also important to challenge stereotypical or discriminatory statements made by students. The best way to do this is to ask them to explain what they are basing their statements on, so any assumptions or misinformation can be quickly corrected.
We are currently working on FAQs for teachers. Subscribe
to our Teacher Enews for updates on our Education Resources.