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Educating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids: The Karama way

As principal of Karama Primary School in Darwin's north-eastern suburbs, Bob Hales prepared a handbook for staff. His introduction outlines its purpose.

The purpose of this booklet is to outline for the benefit of the Karama School staff the major issues involving the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children at this school and how we as a staff respond to these.

Rather than being a blueprint for all schools, it is a statement of our response, our reactions and our attitudes to the Indigenous group at this school. It should be seen as an evolutionary process with consequential change as issues change; as there is a change of background of the children and as staff grow more tolerant, more understanding and more compassionate. As educators at this school, we cannot be judgemental. We need to be proactive. Above all, we need to be sensitive as well as sensible in our approach.

Many of the issues discussed in the handbook have relevance in other settings. Its section headings are:

  • What is an Aboriginal person?
  • Generalisation: the scourge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • The role of the principal
  • The front office
  • The role of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff
  • The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children



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