Bringing the Community into the Classroom to Teach a Country's Complex History

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Preview image for the video "Kaija and Rosemary: Working Together to Build Pathways to the Future".

After teaching high school science for two years at in the remote town of Tennant Creek in Australia's Northern Territory, Teach For Australia alumna Kaija Keski-Nummi asked her principal if she could teach an Aboriginal Studies course.  Tennant Creek High School's, population is 85% Aboriginal students, but the school—like many in Australia—had never offered an Aboriginal Studies course before. When Kaija's principal said "Yes, of course," Kaija—a white woman from Sydney, more than 3000 km away from Tennant Creek—knew that to teach the course in a culturally appropriate way, she needed to partner with a member of the local Aboriginal community. Kaija reached out to her neighbor Rosemary Plumber, a community elder with a wealth of historical knowledge about Tennant Creek and its people, and they began working collaboratively to help Kaija's students develop a nuanced understanding of the story of their town, their people, and ultimately their country.  

Watch the video above to hear from Kaija, Rosemary, and their students about the value and power of this partnership. See more stories about inspiring teachers from across the Teach For All network here, and visit Teach For All's Global Learning Lab to learn more about classrooms and communities around the world that are helping students develop as leaders.