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CALD and Aboriginal students

Questions and answers that can help when using the App with CALD and Aboriginal students.

Watch our video of using the App with students with a disability.

What should teachers consider when teaching relationships and sexuality education to Aboriginal students?

While Aboriginal cultures share many similarities, Aboriginal people are diverse. Students will have varied exposure and attitudes toward RSE, and it is important that you spend time becoming familiar with your students’ social and cultural influences.

1. Make contact with parents or caregivers

One of the simplest ways to ensure you are teaching RSE in a culturally suitable way is to make personal contact with the parents or caregivers of your students. Some Aboriginal people may adhere to the practice of separating the discussion of certain topics into Men’s and Women’s Business. Other Aboriginal people may consider this practice outdated. Open communication with your students’ families will help you determine the most appropriate way to teach RSE to your specific students.

2. Educate yourself about Aboriginal experiences, both historical and contemporary

Creating a safe environment for Aboriginal students to learn RSE involves showing respect for, and understanding of, the experiences and knowledge of Aboriginal people. It is important to educate yourself about historical influences on Aboriginal people’s attitudes toward sexuality and relationships (for example the Stolen Generations and missions), and to not make assumptions about what Aboriginal students do or do not know. 

What should teachers consider when teaching relationships and sexuality education to culturally and linguistically diverse students?

The term ‘culturally and linguistically diverse’ (CALD) is commonly used to describe people who have a cultural heritage different from that of the dominant Anglo-Australian culture. CALD students can range from children of migrant workers to refugees or asylum seekers. They may be the English-speaking members of their family. Like Aboriginal students, CALD students should not be viewed as a homogenous group, but may share some similar learning experiences.

1. Do not mistake lack of vocabulary for lack of understanding

CALD students may bring a wealth of knowledge to your classroom, but be unable to readily communicate this due to language restrictions. Using the foundation games on the SECCA App to assess students’ understanding of concepts is a way to bypass language barriers. Do not make assumptions about student capability based on their ability to verbally communicate. 

2. Some children may have experienced trauma

Children who have left dangerous situations as refugees or asylum seekers are likely to have experienced trauma, and may find some RSE content highly distressing. Students may have undiagnosed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), or have experienced abuse. If your school has a councillor, ensure that they are aware of students who respond strongly to any RSE content.

3. Be aware of cultural sensitivities and develop your own cultural competencies

In a diverse classroom, there are a number of sensitivities and issues to consider. Become comfortable with your own lack of knowledge of all cultural groups and actively educate yourself about the cultural backgrounds of students in your class. 

Anticipate possible responses to controversial topics. Encourage students to express their views, but be prepared to moderate and correct stereotypes, assumptions or offensive statements. An awareness of curriculum requirements will help frame your responses.

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