TORRES STRAIT ISLANDERS HISTORY, CULTURE & EDUCATION (Heide_Smith_sm, 1997) By Krystle Turner 14504305 , Gemma Tyack 14603370 & Joanna Ursino 14893702. Identity of Torres Strait Islanders The Torres Strait Islands are situated between the tip of Australia and Papua New Guinea, a country that Torres Strait Islanders identify with more easily (Lui, 1996). (torres_strait_islander_flag, 2011) Torres Strait Islander people are often mistaken for Aboriginal Australians even though they are of different origin, history and way of life (Maximillan, 2001). The Torres Strait Islander Flag was created as a symbol of unity and identity for Torres Strait Islander peoples Torres strait islanders class themselves into three main groups which is based on similarities and differences within their culture on how they obtain food, perform ritual practices and the geographical features of the islands (Lui, 1996). Each part of the flag is designed to represent something about Torres Strait Island culture. (Torresmap, 2011) Green: Represents the land Blue: Represents the sea White: Represents peace Black: Represents the Indigenous peoples (Torres-strait-islanders, 2009) History of Torres Strait Islanders Torres Strait Islanders were treated similarly to the Aboriginal Australians during the invasion and European Colonisation of Australia. In 1982 Koiki Mabo a Torres Strait Islander initiated a case in the high court of Australia to claim recognition Australia wide that the people of Murray Island are the traditional owners of the lands and have rights to them (Mabo video & Lui, 1996). They were treated as ‘non-citizens’ and every aspect of their lives were controlled by Government of Queensland. (DSCN3497, 2011) Torres strait Islanders lived in small communities on the islands of the Torres Strait. There are more than 100 islands with Thursday island being the main island. The inhabitants spoke Mabuiag, Meriam, English, Torres Kreole languages and their daily life involved fishing and growing crops for food as well as trading artefacts made of pearl shell, turtle shell, feathers, canoes and tools (ABC,2005). Modern Culture & Education In modern day many Torres Straight Islanders have taken the opportunity to undertake education that their parents and grandparents did not have access to. As Shnukal (2001, p. 29) mentions “there are increasingly numbers of Torres straight Islanders that are undertaking undergraduate and even post graduate degrees to gain valuable skills that are contributing to the management of their local communities.” There have been some massive achievements from Torres Straight Islanders who have taken the opportunity to gain an education. Some famous Islanders include: Mary Garnier was the first Torres strait Islander to gain a university degree in 1965. (Martin_N,2008)) Nartin Nakata was the first Torres Strait islander to gain a PhD in education in 1997. Roy Whittaker was the first Torres Strait Islander to become a doctor. Catherine Anne Pirie became the first Torres strait islander to become a magistrate in 2000. Dulcie, Sophie and Heather Pitt, the first Torres Strait Islanders to attend the Parramatta Primary School in Cairns, formed a singing group, the Harmony Sisters (Shnukal , 2001, p.29) (Dr Roy Whittaker, 2011) (2, 2010) Cultural Aspects From the spiritual aspect music and dance are a fundamental part of their spirituality for it is how the Torres Strait connects to a notion or a place. As Resture (2011) explains “In a ceremonial context old songs, evoking powerful Dreaming stories, are said to be created by the Dreaming beings themselves as they created the country in its present form.” With these songs dances are usually accompanied to provide visual meaning and also allow for a powerful experience to connect with the story. LANGUAGE There are two traditional languages spoken in the Torres Strait: •Kalaw Lagaw Ya - This is similar to Aboriginal languages and is spoken on western, central and northern islands. Individual dialects are also found on each of the islands. •Meriam Mir - This is the language of the eastern islands and is derived from Papuan languages. Individual dialects are also found on each of the islands. (Charles Stuart university, 2011) MUSIC & DANCE Torres Strait islanders have spirituality, beliefs and traditions that are based on nature and how the world functions in a natural world. The dreaming is a part of their belief system that involve ceremonies, using scared sites, using song and dance, body painting to relay stories of creation, morals, culture and law. (Resture, 2011). These stories have been passed down for thousands of years from their ancestors. Torres Strait Islander Culture SPIRITUALITY , BELIEFS & TRADITIONS CULTURE & COMMUNITY The culture and community of the Torres Strait islander people as stated by Charles Stuart University (2011) are “overshadowed by Aboriginal Australians and their culture and history is often lumped in with Aboriginal culture and history.” Despite this the Torres strait Islanders do have similarities to mainland Aboriginals but they also have their own cultural aspects and stories dependant of their location and experiences. Teaching Torres Strait Islanders Quality Educators of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students have: • Cultural and cross-cultural understandings, • High level communication skills • The ability to work in and within a community • The ability to work as a member of a team and a broader collegial network •A high level of professionalism and integrity •A high level of self and professional awareness (Moyle, 2004)) General Strategies in teaching TS Students • Encourage cultural identity and pride. • Integration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives into curriculum programs. • Implementation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. • Implementation of localised cultural/language programs. • Development of school-community based VET programs. • Incorporate use of ESL/ESD teaching methodologies and practices. . (Dhinawun Consultancy , 2011) Elements of Successful Strategies • Intensive use of effective practices. • Strong personal/professional commitment to improved outcomes; • Holistic approaches; • Genuine partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people; and • Cultural acknowledgement, recognition and support. . (Dhinawun Consultancy , 2011) Issues & Challenges in Teaching Torres Strait Islanders Family obligations Cultural clashes Students confidence s, selfesteem and identity Socioecono mic status Cultural attitudes Issues and challenges of teaching these students Teacher attitude and behaviour Family attitude Quality of teaching Language Attendanc e Classroom strategies and resources you would use to create an inclusive learning environment. • Story Sharing: Approaching learning through narrative. • Learning Maps: Explicitly mapping/visualising processes. • Non-verbal: Applying intra-personal and kinaesthetic skills to thinking and learning. • Symbols and images: Using images and metaphors to understand concepts and content. • Land Links: Place-based learning, linking content to local land and place. • Non-linear: Producing innovations and understanding by thinking laterally or combining systems. • Deconstruct/Reconstruct: Modelling and scaffolding, working from wholes to parts (watch then do). • Community Links: Centring local viewpoints, applying learning for community benefit. (Performance, nd) (Land, 2002) (Symbols, 1998) (Map, nd) Curriculum support - Aboriginal perspectives curriculum In educating Torres strait islanders and Aboriginal students the Australia Government has released a vital resource called ' The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Policy (AEP)' which brings major and long term goals into education for Indigenous students. The main goals and some long term goals include: MAJOR GOAL 1 - Involvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in Educational DecisionMaking To establish effective arrangements for the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents and community members in decisions regarding the planning, delivery and evaluation of pre-school, primary and secondary education services for their children. MAJOR GOAL 2 – Equality of Access to Education Services To ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children have access to school services and education on a basis comparable to that available to other Australian children of the same age. MAJOR GOAL 3 – Equity of Educational Participation To achieve the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in pre-school education for a period similar to that for other Australian children. MAJOR GOAL 4 – Equitable and Appropriate Educational Outcomes To enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander attainment of skills to the same standard as other Australian students throughout the compulsory schooling years. (Australian Government, 2011). References 2.Jpeg [Image]. (2010). Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/rn/awaye/galleries/2010/2846318/2.htm. ABC (2005). Torres Strait Islands. Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/ra/pacific/places/country/torres_strait_islands.htm#facts. 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