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Evaluation of resources with an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander focus Summary of topics covered PowerPoint Presentation
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Evaluation of resources with an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander focus Summary of topics covered

Evaluation of resources with an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander focus Summary of topics covered

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Evaluation of resources with an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander focus Summary of topics covered

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  1. Evaluation of resources with an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander focusSummary of topics covered Resources developed before and after 1980 Not recommended resources Appropriate terminology in South Australia Sensitive issues Principles for recommending resources

  2. Resources developed before 1980 Although there were some very good resources published before 1980 many materials published before that date are not recommended because: • They included information of a secret or sacred nature • Were written in a paternalistic or Eurocentric manner making them unsuitable to teaching today • Contain stereotypes and generalised information Some of these resources could however be used carefully in the classroom today as texts which can be analysed for critical literacy purposes.

  3. Not recommended resources The following are reviews for two different titles published in the very early 1980s that are held in the library’s Not Recommended collection. “While the author writes about Aboriginal lifestyles and some of the events in Australian history involving Aboriginal Australians, much of the information is incorrect, generalised and out of date. It is also written from a non-Aboriginal perspective and has had no Aboriginal input.” “Although this text contains useful information about some aspects of Australian history, the sections referring to Aboriginal people and to contact with them frequently uses terminology that is either inaccurate or regarded as inappropriate. The text tends to be patronising and simplistic with little reference to the impact of ‘settler’ behaviours and attitudes on Aboriginal people both in the short and long term. Student questions are generally directed to the content of the text, require minimal critical thinking and reinforce the patronising attitude.”

  4. Not recommended resources • Resources in the AMLLRC Not Recommended collection are located in the workroom on a separate shelf. These may be borrowed as a tool for teaching critical literacy by evaluating them from an historical point of view and analysing how attitudes have changed and what still needs to change. • Details of resources are given in the Not Recommended list which can be found at: • The following link provides access to reviews for many of the items found in the above mentioned list:

  5. Resources notated Recommended with guidance Since 1980 a great many resources have been published which support Aboriginal Studies and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures Cross-curriculum Perspective in the Australian Curriculum. Most of these are recommended. However, sometimes resources have a Recommended with Guidance notation because, though generally good, care needs to be taken when teaching with these resources as: • One or more illustrations or some text could offend • Some resources deal with sensitive issues. Artefacts of the Flinders Ranges is an example of a text which is Recommended with guidance and for teacher use (see Sensitive Issues). • Many resources produced interstate use terminology that is regarded as in appropriate in South Australia.

  6. Use of appropriate terminology in SA • Some of the terminology considered inappropriate in South Australia includes ‘tribe’, ‘dreamtime’, ‘myth’ ‘legend’, ‘native’, ‘walkabout’ and ‘corroboree’. • Appropriate terminology is Nation, as in the Kaurna Nation, Dreaming or the Dreaming; Aboriginal person or Indigenous person – always with capitals. • A good guide to appropriate terminology is available from Lutheran Schools Association and also at:

  7. Sensitive issues Some resources may be Not Recommended because they contain information about secret or sacred aspects of Aboriginal culture. These include resources which contain information and/or photographs regarding: • Initiation ceremonies • Men’s business • Women’s business.

  8. Artefacts of the Flinders Rangesby Dorothy Tunbridge with Annie Coulthard Published in 1985, this book, which can still be found in many school libraries, contains some very useful information. However, the text deals with some highly sensitive issues. The following pictures and text should not be discussed: • Ceremonial spear – P 11 • Ceremonial fire stick – P 21 • Bell – P 25 • Headband/sash – P 29 • Pointing stick – P 32 • Ceremonial red ochred feather – P 42 • Grave – P 56 • Marker of a death place – P 60 The text is not recommended for use by students. The text is Recommended with guidance for teachers who must be made aware of the sensitive issues it deals with: • It should only be accessible to teachers and support staff • A note indicating the sensitive issues and page numbers together with a request not to discuss those topics should be placed clearly on the front of the text.

  9. Principles for recommending resources • Authenticity • Balance • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander participation

  10. Principles for recommending resources • Authenticity: • Is the resource up to date and accurate? • In talking about a particular Aboriginal group or groups, does the resource, make clear the diversity of Aboriginal people? • Does the resource contain inappropriate generalisations about Aboriginal people: e.g. “Aboriginal people had two seasons, wet and dry” (a quote found in a relatively recently published resource) • Does the resource acknowledge the Aboriginal person or group who provided the information or story and where they come from?

  11. Principles for recommending resources 2. Balance • Are stereotyping and racist connotations present? • Does the resource use derogatory or inappropriate terminology? • Does it contain sensitive issues without clarification? • Is the information inaccurate or of a trivial nature? • Does the resource have inappropriate illustrations or text which would easily offend many people especially if they relate to ceremonies of a secret or sacred nature? • Is an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander viewpoint reflected in the resource? • Is there a positive portrayal of Aboriginal people? It should not have illustrations or photographs that portray Aboriginal people negatively.

  12. Principles for recommending resources 3. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation in resource development: • Does the resource acknowledge the participation of Indigenous Australians in the research, writing and presentation? • Does the resource show the cultural diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and present them as living, dynamic and changing? • Do Dreaming Stories have an acknowledgement of the Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander storytellers or of the communities from which those stories come? Is there some acknowledgement of consultation with the story tellers or communities? Those without such acknowledgement should not be recommended as Dreaming Stories.

  13. Conclusion Effective evaluation of resources with an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander focus is essential to ensure that resources used by schools give an accurate, respectful and positive view of the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and history . For more detailed information about protocols for libraries and information services go to: For more information to assist with discussion about selection and evaluation of resources for use in schools go to: This presentation is based on the Guidelines for Reviewing Resources produced by the Aboriginal Education Review Committee, November 2010. For further assistance contact the Aboriginal, Multicultural, Languages & Learning Resource Centre by telephone 8301 4850, via email or visit the website at: Natalia Corbo, July 2013