Principles & Resources

Togetherness

Togetherness Icon

Togetherness means working together as a team to promote the active involvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in school governance and teaching activities.

Think of a waterway that absorbs all the creeks that feed into it, making space for the new waters to  cross-mingle to create one new entity – a river. When working together, all  partners make different contributions, but all voices are heard. This might require making new spaces and processes for school-community partnerships to thrive.

The process for engagement needs to be flexible and reflect practices of inclusivity, provide capacity building for community members, reflect the sharing of power, provide opportunities to participate in decision making and include appropriate accountability measures that help shape school and community partnerships.

This page is built around a Reflect-Inquire-Reflect cycle.

  • Start by using Statements of Intent to take a ‘snapshot’ of what you know and do.
  • Reflect on your current practice and knowledge.
  • Follow the Inquiry questions to explore potential changes to your practice.
  • Then Reflect again on what you have learned and can do.
  • Capture your reflections and learning and make plans.

Reflect

Where am I in our Story?

Everyone’s story is unique.

For each Statement, move the slider to indicate your current level of confidence in achieving the intention. A question will appear under each Statement that helps you gauge your current understanding.

Statements of Intent

Everyone’s story is their own.

Look at where you have positioned your sliders above – further to the left or right. Identify the areas that you currently know and do, and don’t know and do, in your teaching practice.

What do I know now?
What do I not know?
What do I do?

Everyone’s story can change.

Reflect on your responses using these prompts:

What credible sources is my knowledge based on?

  • Sometimes we ‘just know things’ but our knowledge has come from somewhere. Reflect on the current sources of your knowledge.

What is causing gaps in my knowledge?

  • Always probe further than your initial answer. For example, “I didn’t learn this at school” becomes “Why didn’t I learn this at school?”

Why am I doing some things and not others?

  • We often just do things a certain way without asking why it’s that way and not another way. If you answer: “It’s how everyone else does it” take it further: “Why is everyone doing it that way”?

Inquire

What is my part in our story?

Everyone’s journey is their own.

Now you know more about what you know and do and don’t know and do, and why. Use the Inquiry questions and resources and strategies below to continue your learning journey.

Inquiry Questions

How can I work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, parents and community to identify their education aspirations and how to reach them?  
  • The first thing to do is establish trusting, open relationships with students and parents.
  • The What Works project has  tips on how to  start conversations  between schools and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Through individual conversations and group gatherings, aspirations and ways to achieve them can be determined.
  • Creating an effective school for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students summarises  research  that found there were  six key areas that contribute to  effective schools  for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students:  cultural environment, quality teachers, community engagement, health and wellbeing,  curriculum, and leadership.
    • What strategies could you be involved in to begin  identifying and achieving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education aspirations?
How can I find out local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander protocols, and implement these in practice?  
  • Working with Aboriginal communities:  A guide to community consultation and protocols  has  been written for NSW contexts but can be adapted with consultation with your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
    • Who could you engage with to discuss local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander protocols and how these are most appropriately embedded in your school?
    • What strategies in the  guide could be applied in your context?
    • What support would you need, and from whom, to implement some of the strategies you have identified?
How could our school provide a welcoming environment and dedicated space for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, parents and community members?  
  • The  Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives in Schools  guide has a section on strategies for  making your school a welcoming place for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people:  Appendix 3, p.67.
    • What strategies could you implement at your school? Who would need to be involved?
What local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural competency is available, and how could I develop my understandings further?  
How can we respectfully involve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in formal teaching activities?  
What should effective two-way communication look like between our school and and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities?

Everyone’s journey is unique to place and people.

Identify who you could work with and the changes you could make in your practice.

How can I find out what I need to know?

  • Seek Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sources and resources.

What changes can I make?

  • Aim for the achievable.

Reflect

How do I continue our story?

Now that you have learned more and identified ways to change your practice, you have the opportunity to begin the reflection cycle again. Learning never stops!

  • What do I know now? Can I expand my sources of knowledge?
  • What else can I learn? What’s influencing the things I am learning?
  • What can I do? Why am I choosing to do those things?

Next steps

Your learning journey is now well underway! Use the Reflect-Inquire-Reflect model to keep learning, to change practice, to work together with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and improve educational outcomes for our students.

Continue to learn and choose another principle to explore from the menu at the bottom of the page. Enjoy your journey!

Togetherness

Reflect - Everyone's story is their own.

What do I know now?
What do I not know?
What do I do?

Reflect - Everyone's story can change.

What credible sources is my knowledge based on?
What is causing gaps in my knowledge?
Why am I doing some things and not others?

Inquire - Everyone's journey is unique to place and people.

How can I find out what I need to know?
What changes can I make?

Explore other principles

Explore Other Principles