Celebrating difference

Transcending contamination with humanity

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  • Published
  • ISBN: 9781925603316
  • Extent: 264pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

I’VE EXPERIENCED THE transcendental power of switching from a toxic narrative of low expectations and negative stereotypes to a new one in which we are all strong and smart: young, black and deadly. And I survived the gruelling dynamics that have undermined the truth about who we are as Aboriginal people, solidly anchored by ancient connections to the land we now share; traversed far beyond the shadows of Plato’s cave, embracing instead a world more vibrant and full of potential than anyone thought possible in this lifetime.

In partnership with some quality teachers, Aboriginal parents, Elders and community, we dramatically transformed an Aboriginal school at a time when very few believed it could be done. With quality literacy and numeracy programs that would be accepted in any white school, student results surged towards the belief that Aboriginal children could be strong and smart, rather than seeing them bludgeoned with costly remedial products, and then later blamed for their failure. School attendance improved from 62 per cent to 94 per cent after purging the naive, simplistic and ineffective truancy paradigm, to embrace an honest and professional approach in which we put a mirror up to ourselves and asked questions such as: what are we asking children to turn up to here, and would I accept this school or classroom for my own children?

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