ACSA Webinars
Indigenous Education

Rhonda Oliver, Professor, School of Education, Curtin University, WA, Australia

"Stop measuring black kids with a white stick": things to consider when teaching and assessing Aboriginal students

Wednesday 15 June 2022 7-8pm AEST


Rhonda Oliver

Register here

Aboriginal students may come to school speaking Standard Australian English (SAE), Australian Aboriginal English, creoles (e.g., Kriol) and traditional languages (e.g., Noongar, Martu, Gooniyandi etc.). In this presentation I will briefly describe the differences between these languages and show how Australian Aboriginal students can move in flexible ways between these - a process now called translanguaging - to make meaning, express their thoughts, understandings and feelings, create their identities, often doing so in playful and creative ways. I will then describe the impact such language backgrounds can have on student learning and why we should adjust our teaching accordingly.  I will reflect on some of the cultural and linguistic biases that underpin educational assessment and suggest ways for improvement. Building on recent research by Steele, Dovchin and Oliver (in press) I will examine how teachers can approach assessment so that Aboriginal students are able to draw on their full linguistic repertoire and, in this way, address the issues surrounding discriminatory assessment practices that are founded on monolingual mindsets. In doing so I will pick up the gauntlet to "stop measuring black kids with a white stick" and seek positive and embracing ways for all students to engage in assessment practices. 

AITSL Standards Addressed:
1.4   Strategies for teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students
2.3   Curriculum, assessment and reporting
2.4   Understand and respect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to promote reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians

Register here

Registrations for this webinar will close at 2:00pm on the day of the webinar. Please ensure you have registered by then.