First Nations Dance: Delivering Aboriginal content in the Australian curriculum

November 21, 2023

But with 95% of pre-service teachers in university from Anglo-Australian backgrounds, delivering culturally responsive First Nations content can be a complex task. Now a partnership with Adrianne Semmens from the Australian Dance Theatre (ADT) is helping pre-service teachers at the University of South Australia gain new approaches to working with First Nations dance in the curriculum and the confidence to include it in the classroom. “While dance is a learning area in primary school arts curricula, it is dominated by western approaches, with First Nations Australian dance absent, or disregarded. “To transform our approaches, teaching practices must be overhauled through a lens of culturally responsive learning design and curriculum delivery. “Our program can help by increasing pre-service teachers’ confidence and knowledge to appropriately work with First Nations dance in the Australian Curriculum in a school environment.

21 November 2023

ADT Dancer, Adrianne Semmens with UniSA's Kerrin Rowlands

All children should have the opportunity to explore and engage with Aboriginal knowledges and cultures. But with 95% of pre-service teachers in university from Anglo-Australian backgrounds, delivering culturally responsive First Nations content can be a complex task.

Now a partnership with Adrianne Semmens from the Australian Dance Theatre (ADT) is helping pre-service teachers at the University of South Australia gain new approaches to working with First Nations dance in the curriculum and the confidence to include it in the classroom.

Arts education expert and UniSA Kerrin Rowlands says that pre-service teachers must be equipped with the confidence, knowledge and practices to transform teaching practices and integrate First Nations dance appropriately and effectively into school curricula.

“Dance is a central element in the diversity and continuity of local and global cultures, particularly the cultures of First Nations Australians,” Rowlands says.

“Dance is woven into First Nations Peoples’ stories, songs, ceremony and connection to, and responsibility for, Country and place, and a means to explain ways of knowing, being, doing and becoming.

“While dance is a learning area in primary school arts curricula, it is dominated by western approaches, with First Nations Australian dance absent, or disregarded.

“To transform our approaches, teaching practices must be overhauled through a lens of culturally responsive learning design and curriculum delivery.

“Our program can help by increasing pre-service teachers’ confidence and knowledge to appropriately work with First Nations dance in the Australian Curriculum in a school environment.

“Teachers play a pivotal role in fostering respect and awareness of diverse First Nations knowledges with young people, and as such they must consider how to approach dance teaching from a culturally responsive perspective.

“By working with First Nations dance practitioners and having the opportunity to engage with these ideas in a school environment, our pre-service teachers are delivering on this acute need.”

Working with the ADT’s learning manager Adrianne Semmens ­- a dance practitioner and descendant of the Barkandji People of NSW - pre-service teachers have started to engage with notions of connection, place, and how to make thinking and feeling visible through movement, drawing, expression and reflection.

“While there are explicit content descriptions and elaborations investigating and exploring First Nations artists and dance practices, many pre-service teachers are without the understanding and confidence to engage students in effective learning experiences,” says Semmens.

“This project has provided an important starting point for pre-service teachers to deepen their understanding.”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Media contact: Annabel Mansfield M: +61 479 182 489 E: [email protected]

Research Kerrin Rowlands E: [email protected]

The source of this news is from University of South Australia