Understanding and valuing diversity is an essential aspect of work as teachers and career practitioners. It’s important to explore diversity from different angles and outline knowledge, skills and attitudes that may increase our effectiveness in working with all types of diversity.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures are very different with their own unique histories, beliefs and values. It is respectful to recognise their separate identities.
Aboriginal culture is not homogeneous across the country. There are/were various different nations, tribes and groups living across Australia (estimated up to 300) with their own distinct language/dialect (about 250 languages and up to 600 dialects).
The term ‘diversity’ refers to all the ways in which people are different as individuals, groups and cultures. It is important to value diversity because:
Everyone has a worldview made up of cultural ‘givens’ and individual constructs of reality. It filters how one experiences and interprets the world and one’s place in it.
Examples of differences in worldview are:
|Worldview A||Worldview B|
|Value respect for and protection of a living natural world||Value control and manipulation of the natural world for human benefit|
|See a world that is spiritual, cyclical, and patterned yet uncontrollable||See a world that is stable and predictable|
|Study the interrelatedness of all natural things||Study objects in isolation from context|
|Value learning by doing||Focus on the physical world and measurable parameters|
|Value lived experience, oral traditions, and wisdom embedded in spirituality||Value abstract scientific knowledge as objective, universal, or superior|
|See contradiction as mysteries to be embraced, not resolved||See contradiction as a problem to be reconciled|
There are likely to be overlaps between people’s worldviews, however the key is to remember that one’s own individual/cultural lens influences what one observes. It helps to try to understand behaviour from the other’s perspective.
© 2014/2015 Career Development Association of Australia (CDAA). The More Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Teachers Initiative (MATSITI) was initiated by the Commonwealth Government and funded for a four-year period 2011-2015. Within this initiative, the Career Development Association of Australia (CDAA) managed the project; Follow My Lead: Careers in Teaching.