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Sarah Forsyth


This unit is centred around the Stage 4 NSW English curriculum, and this program will specifically focus on year 10 as they prepare for the demands of HSC
English. Over the duration of this program, there will be a great emphasis placed on the ACARA Cross Curriculum Priorities; especially, OI.2, OI.3, OI.6 and
OI.8 as these specific priorities offer a balance between the focus on country/place, people and culture (2011). Overall, the idea of respect and deep understanding
will emanate from each lesson as the students will take on-board an enriched understanding and perspective about Aboriginal People and culture. As this is an
English unit, we will continually draw back on how language is used to shape meaning, and how different mediums can portray specific meaning. Yunkaporta
and McGinty’s 8-ways framework will have an emphasis on how this unit will be approached pedagogically, as it will be effective to bring in Aboriginal
pedagogies and ways of learning into the classroom to provide a more authentic learning experience. My own Learning from Country experiences have
contributed greatly to the program, evident through the choice of activities, as many of the Learning from Country activities model the experiences I had in this
program including the focus on perspectives, narrative, and Aboriginal community engagement.

This unit was designed with a co-ed, mixed ability class in mind. The school is in a moderate socio-economic area and there are two Aboriginal students in this
class. The purpose of this classroom context is to show that cultural immersion and Aboriginal pedagogies should be brought in to the classroom, even when
Aboriginal students are the minority because I believe that learning about Aboriginal culture and history is important for all Australians to know. This unit
will come at the beginning of Term 2. This will be a poetry unit with a focus on perspectives, and will emphasise how to skilfully use language features such
as imagery and other forms of figurative language to shape meaning in a poem. The choice of poets will include a range of Aboriginal writers including
Oodgeroo Noonuccal, Lionel Fogarty and Bobbi Sykes, as well as non-Indigenous poets such as Judith Wright and Henry Lawson so to allow a comparison
and analysis between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal perspectives.

This 10-hour program will have 6 lessons, two excursions, followed up with one rich assessment task. Over the course of these 10-hours, students will experience
first-hand the way that culture and country represent Aboriginal people and their history. We will organise to have local members of the Aboriginal community
come in to give talks and offer their own perspectives on the poetry, and following this they will lead our two cultural immersion excursions. The first excursion
will be to the landing spot at Kurnell; typically, the Colonial narrative is the well-known story, so this excursion will show the contrast in the memory of this,
to emphasise to students the influence perspectives can have on history. The incursion will take place at the school and the surrounding local area, where a
member of the Aboriginal community will tour the class around familiar places and impart their cultural and historical knowledge about the area. This will
include the different types of flora and fauna and why they are situated where they are, as well as any sports of significance to Aboriginal People. These two
outside-class experiences will show students how important it is to understand and acknowledge the Aboriginal perspective, which will reflect on their
experiences in-class with the poetry they have studied and the differing perspectives which emanate throughout. The assessment task will bring this unit together
by incorporating all of the chosen syllabus and cross-curriculum outcomes to encourage students to utilise their new-found skills in understanding Aboriginal
perspectives through the lens of poetry.

Sarah Forsyth

Unit Outline/ Description Unit duration

During this unit of work, students will be examining the concept of perspectives in writing, specifically poetry, and will critically
consider the overlap between personal perspective and historical perspective through this work. This unit will focus on Aboriginal
culture, history and people, and the important role that perspective played during the Colonisation of Australia, as well as the
important role it has in helping Aboriginal people to heal from the horrors of what took place during this dark time in history. 10 hours
Students will have the opportunity to build honest and sincere relationships with members of their local Aboriginal community
as they participate in a variety of poetry readings and context analysis. This aims to break down the barriers in complex
perspectives by sharing and asking questions, while using poetry as the vehicle to connect the students’ knowledge to unfamiliar
experiences. Respect and deep understanding are two focal themes which will emanate across the unit so to provide students
with an enriched learning experience.

Big ideas / key concepts

The key concepts I want students to learn are: The learning matters because:

 The importance of cultural respect and  This unit will provide students the enriching experience to meet local members of the
understanding towards Aboriginal and Aboriginal community with whom they can form strong friendships and respect
Torres Strait Islander People  Through this unit, we are examining the Aboriginal narrative which is a perspective that is
 The importance that perspectives can not as often regarded or considered. This will open students’ minds to the significance of
play in remembering history Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People and their long history in modern day Australia.
 How language and language features  Students are taught to autonomously consider and respond different perspectives to their
can be used to shape meaning in poems own
 The usefulness of poems as a medium  This helps to foster respect and understanding by breaking down stigma and stereotypes.
to express personal thoughts, to reach  The local Aboriginal community members are able to share their own experiences and
a vast audience, and to transcend time. connect to the local school community which, in turn, creates positive links between
different aspects of the community.
 This higher order thinking and critical analysis of context and perspectives will help students
feel confident when they transition into their senior English subjects

Sarah Forsyth
Target outcomes ACARA CCP Links Resources

OI.2: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

EN5-3B selects and uses language forms, communities maintain a special connection to - Strong communication and participation
features and structures of texts appropriate to a and responsibility for Country/Place. from local Aboriginal community
range of purposes, audiences and contexts, members
describing and explaining their effects on OI.3: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander - Bus excursion to Kurnell
meaning Peoples have holistic belief systems and are - Classroom learning spaces
spiritually and intellectually connected to the - Internet access and learning devices
EN5-4B effectively transfers knowledge, skills land, sea, sky and waterways. - Aboriginal Intervention video:
and understanding of language concepts into http://www.abc.net.au/btn/story/s4689442.htm
new and different contexts OI.6: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Peoples live in Australia as first peoples of - 1977 ‘Shadow Sisters’ Documentary
EN5-7D understands and evaluates the diverse Country or Place and demonstrate resilience in
ways texts can represent personal and public responding to historic and contemporary impacts
worlds of colonisation.

OI.8: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

Peoples' family and kinship structures are strong
and sophisticated.

Content Teaching / Learning Experiences

Introduction to poetry
Lesson 1 (1 hour)
1. (15 minutes) Teacher is to introduce the new topic of poetry and perspectives to the class.
Class Floor Storm: In 4 groups students need to brainstorm using a mixture of words or images to
- OI.6 answer the following: what is poetry? Who should read poems? Is poetry important? What are
different forms poems may take? Each group gets 2 or 3 minutes to write answers to each question,
- OI.8
building on the answers from each previous group. Class discussion to follow.

Sarah Forsyth
8-ways Framework Links 2. (20 minutes) Research Bobbi Sykes:

- Story sharing Using devices students are to independently research the context of Bobbi Sykes. By breaking down
- Deconstruct reconstruct the poets’ early life, students will then have a better understanding of her poems and the issues they
- Symbols and images examine. In small groups, students are to move from seats onto the ground in a circle and share the
- Land Links stories of Bobbi’s life to the class including: early life, education, Aboriginal Rights Movement, family,
connection to place.

3. (20 minutes) Poetry reading: ‘A Song for my Daughter’

Students are to find a quiet and comfortable space at either their desk or on the ground in the
classroom. They need a pen and paper ready. Teacher then directs students to close their eyes while
the poem is read. Poem is read twice and students are asked to not talk or discuss their thoughts or
feelings with anyone. After the reading, students then have time to either draw or write (or both)
words or images that they feel after listening to the poem. Students are encouraged to share with
class afterwards but it is not essential.

4. (5 minutes) Summary

Individually, students are to fill out the ‘exit card’ which asks the students to explain what they have
learnt today, and gives them space to ask any questions. Teacher to collect.

Language Features + Effect of Language

Lesson 2 (1 hour)

L2CCP 1. (20 minutes) Language features: Stage 5 students should be familiar with increasingly
- OI.2 sophisticated language features such as onomatopoeia, tautology etc. so no recap of this
- OI.3 necessary
- OI.6 Students are given a list of language features which they need to come up with definitions for. These
definitions can be made up of words or images, phrases, rhyme, or anything else that will help to
solidify their understanding of this important feature of poetry.
8-Ways Framework Links
2. (20 minutes) Language and the Land

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- Symbols and images
- Learning Maps In pairs, students are to come up with 6 descriptions of the Australian landscape using different
- Land Links language techniques. For example, using a metaphor to describe the climate of rural Australia.
Students to share with class and copy down other students’ examples as a point of reference.

3. (15 minutes) Poetry reading:

In small groups, students are to read and annotate the poem: ‘Black Woman’ – pulling out any
language features (including context) and discuss the effect that these features had on the overall
meaning of the poem.

4. (5 minutes) Exit Card

Individually, students are to fill out the ‘exit card’ which asks the students to explain what they have
learnt today, and gives them space to ask any questions. Teacher to collect.

Perspectives in texts – visit from member from local Aboriginal community to share experience
Lesson 3 (1 hour) The room is set up with only chairs which make a circle. No desks, no pens or paper in this session.

L3CCP 1. Introduction

- OI.2 Class Discussion: What is a perspective? Students to discuss and share ideas about what this word
- OI.6 means to them, what is the purpose of a perspective, is it important? Etc.

2. Story telling
8-Ways Framework Links After building honest and mutual respect and rapport with the community, the teacher has asked if
any members of the local Aboriginal community would like to come and share their life experiences
- Story Sharing with the students. These experiences can be of a positive or negative nature, as long as they offer a
- Land Links clear perspective or story. An emphasis will be placed on the importance of story-telling and song
- Deconstruct, Reconstruct writing in Aboriginal culture in order to tie this experience to what the students have been focusing on
- Non-Linear in class. The overall purpose of this is to, firstly, have students interacting and participating in the
Aboriginal Community and getting to know the people and their stories. Secondly, this gives students
more insight into the importance that Aboriginal People place on story sharing and respecting their
culture. Throughout high school, the main perspective students are offered about Aboriginal People is

Sarah Forsyth
the Colonial perspective, so this provides a platform to change this. Students are able to ask
questions and start discussions about any of the issues raised during this story telling session, to
better understand the importance of perspectives and how they can influence a narrative.

Learning from Country Incursion – School Tour

Lesson 4 (2 hour) Incursion
We have organised a member from the local Aboriginal community to come to the school and provide
L4CCP a tour for the students around the school grounds. Aboriginal People have very strong links to their
land, as their knowledge has been passed down through generations.
- OI.2
- OI.3 First Hour – The School Tour

- Aboriginal person to perform a Welcome to Country and explain the meaning, purpose and
8-Ways Framework Links
significance of this to the students.
- Students will be toured around the school and explained the different purposes of the native
- Learning maps flora and fauna that the students walk past and see every day.
- Land links - This tour will emphasise the Aboriginal perspective and show how much there is to learn
- Community links about the land that we use every day.
- Symbols and images
- Non-verbal Second Hour – Journal Writing
- Story sharing - The second hour of this session has the students out on the land and in nature to compose a
visual and written ‘journal’ of their experience.
- Students are encouraged to move away from their friends and peers and to find a space that
makes them feel comfortable.
- Students are encouraged to talk to the Aboriginal community member to ask for any
clarification or further explanation about what they have learnt.
- Students to hand in journal after class

Aboriginal History
Lesson 5 (1 hour)
1. (10 minutes) Historical Context of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal relations

Sarah Forsyth
In small groups, students are to identify what they know and understand about Aboriginal history.
L5CCP Answers to be shared with class. Teacher to then identify any gaps in student understanding and
give more information about this history. Teacher to also emphasise the importance of understanding
- OI.2 that Aboriginal history began long before Colonisation.
- OI.3
- OI.8 2. (25 minutes) Comparing the poetry

Students to read ‘The Drovers Sweetheart’ by Henry Lawson. In pairs, discuss the meaning and
context, identifying clear colonial elements. After this, students are to read ‘Imarbara I am —
8-Ways Framework Links
Generation of Existence’ by Lionel Fogarty, and compare the two poems. Students need to identify
the difference in historical context, as well as personal context. Class to discuss the implications of
- Land links the Colonial perspective and what this does to the Aboriginal perspective.
- Community links
- Story Sharing 3. (20 Minutes) Understanding the Intervention

Class to watch the video: http://www.abc.net.au/btn/story/s4689442.htm

Students to understand the impact that The Intervention has had on Aboriginal communities, and
assess the high level of non-Aboriginal perspective evident in this video, compared to Aboriginal

4. (5 minutes) Exit Card

Individually, students are to fill out the ‘exit card’ which asks the students to explain what they have
learnt today, and gives them space to ask any questions. Teacher to collect.

Compare and contrast perspectives in poems

Lesson 6 (1 hour)

L6CCP 1. (15 minutes) Introduction to Oodgeroo Noonuccal and Judith Wright

- OI.6
- OI.8 Teacher to provide brief overview of the lesson: who are Oodgeroo and Judith? Class to watch 15-
minute extract from 1977 Documentary ‘Shadow Sister’. This shows the impact that any non-
Aboriginal person can have when listening and showing respect for Aboriginal culture.
8-Ways Framework Links

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2. (20 minutes) Critical analysis of a poem

- Deconstruct, reconstruct
- Community links Students are to spend 20 minutes individually analysing the poem ‘Two Dreamtimes’. Using their
understanding of the context, students need to break down the poem into images (either images they
- Learning maps have drawn or found on the internet), and recreate the poem using their own representations of the
- Story telling issues the poem discusses. Students to share ideas to class.

3. (20 minutes)

Using their understanding from the previous activity, students, in pairs, are to write a short story
about the lives and friendship of Oodgeroo and Judith. Students are encouraged to be as creative as
possible, incorporating a variety of language techniques and imaginative language (modelling the
poetry that we have studied in class). Students to share stories with classmates in a larger group to
understand each-others perspectives about the content they have just learnt.

4. (5 minutes) Exit Card

Individually, students are to fill out the ‘exit card’ which asks the students to explain what they have
learnt today, and gives them space to ask any questions. Teacher to collect.

Learning from Country Excursion – Kurnell

Lesson 7 (3 hour) Excursion
This learning experience is made possible by the generosity of the local Aboriginal community as
L7CCP they participate in offering their own perspective in a place that has caused much hardship and grief
- OI.2 in their lives.
- OI.3
First and Second Hour
- OI.6
- OI.8 - Class to arrive at Kurnell
- Welcome to Country from Aboriginal community member
8-Ways Framework Links - Students to spend time in small groups brainstorming what they know and understand about
Kurnell/ what is the significance/ what does it represent for Australia? Students to share ideas
- Land Links to the group.

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- Community Links - Aboriginal community member to acknowledge student knowledge, but explain that this is
- Non-Linear only one perspective which offers a very narrow scope of the long history of the land.
- Story Sharing - Tour of Kurnell + Peninsular
- Spend time explaining the different ways that Aboriginal people have used the water and land
surrounding the area and its significance to the Mob who reside in the area.
- What happened when Cook landed? Explanation of the ramifications this has had on
Aboriginal People

Third Hour

- In this last hour of the excursion, students are to work in pairs or small groups to write a poem
about the excursion
- This poem needs to highlight their new perspective about Aboriginal people and culture
- It should also incorporate a wide variety of sophisticated language techniques
- Students are encouraged to talk to the teacher and Aboriginal community member in order to
clarify facts or to gain more insight into the information they have just learnt.

Sarah Forsyth

Assessment Task

Context Outcomes

Over the past few weeks, students have been working on a EN5-3B selects and uses language forms, features and
poetry unit which focuses on the impact and effect of structures of texts appropriate to a range of purposes, audiences and
perspectives, examining how this can affect meaning. This unit contexts, describing and explaining their effects on meaning
focuses predominately on Aboriginal perspectives as we
examine a range of poetry from Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal EN5-4B effectively transfers knowledge, skills and understanding of
people and critically consider the effect that perspectives and language concepts into new and different contexts
language have on shaping meaning.
EN5-7D understands and evaluates the diverse ways texts can represent
personal and public worlds


Poetry writing and justification

Students need to compose a one-page or 200-word poem about their Learning from Country experiences over the course of this

This poem should:

- Skillfully use a variety of language techniques to articulate own perspective
- Emphasise how this program has enriched their understanding of Aboriginal culture and perspective
- This poem can take any form that we have studied in class e.g. simple rhyme, haiku, acrostic, etc.

After this, students need to provide a 500-word justification of their poem, which critically analyses the way in which they have used
language and their own experience to create the poem.

Sarah Forsyth
Assessment Criteria:


Students will be assessed on how well they:

 Incorporate their own Learning from Country experiences
 Highlight their new understanding about Aboriginal culture/history
 Utilise conventions of a particular style of poem
 Use a variety of language techniques
 Stick to the word limit


Students will be assessed on how well they:

 Critically analyse the perspective and personal voice in their poem
 Explain how the Learning from Country experiences AND in-class lessons have helped them to understand Aboriginal
 Explain the effect of their chosen language techniques AND poetry style
 Stick to the word limit
How does this Task reflect the Learning Activities?

Throughout the unit, students have been working on building up to higher order thinking through a variety of different learning
styles (8-ways), which is exemplified throughout this task. Initially in the unit, students are working at the remembering and
understanding level where we focus on tasks that ask the students to identify and explain, through this, students are encouraged
to share stories and create pictures as their explanation. Moving forward, the tasks have become increasingly more demanding,
requiring elements which compare and contrast, while also adding an analytical element. Therefore, in this task, students are
being asked to work in the highest level which involves culminating this knowledge and skill set in order to create their own poem.
The learning activities, both in class and the two excursions, have been specifically designed around the requirements of this
task, so students are fully equipped with the skills they need to complete the task to the best of their ability. For example, the first
lesson provides the students with the different ways to construct a poem, so to assist them with this task. The Learning from
Country experiences help students to grasp the understanding of perspectives.

Sarah Forsyth


I plan to evaluate this unit in several ways over a series of stages so to ensure the programs’ effectiveness. Initially, I plan to have
a senior/executive teacher examine the devised program/scope and sequence to identify any issues they may notice, or anything
they think needs to be included or moved into a different order. Using the advice from an experienced teacher will help to ensure
that every basis is covered and the program looks to cover all of the syllabus and cross curriculum recommendations. As well as
this, seeking advice from a local Aboriginal Educator would be extremely beneficial to see where they think I can implement a more
effective Aboriginal pedagogy. During the program, I will be looking to determine student understanding and interest as the unit
progresses, and will be formatively assessing this through a mixture of class discussion, brainstorming, informal ‘quiz’ activities,
and other written tasks. Exit cards will be used frequently for this reason, so the teacher can answer any questions. From this I will
be able to understand how well the students are understanding the content and I can moderate accordingly. After this, the
assessment task will provide a solid evaluation and I will be able to see what the students think they have taken away from this
course, while simultaneously being able to see how well they have understood the content and learning activities (through their
written poem and justification). These steps before, during and after the program will help to evaluate the effectiveness of the
program and any areas that could be improved.