The Critical Classroom was created as a digital space that encourages Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices to be fostered, encouraged and heard. Our goal is to foster knowledge with primary and secondary teachers, as well as other learning communities, including corporate and community interests.
We believe that it’s possible to use digital platforms to communicate the diversity and importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander literature, ideas, images, and sounds.
The bulk of the content of the Critical Classroom is written by Leesa Watego, a parent, educator and business owner. The Critical Classroom is very much a passion project born from one the one hand frustration with the lack of knowledge and understanding most Australians have about their place on this continent, as well as a desire to create a place where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices are privileged.
The Critical Classroom is an extension of the work created with Blacklines Publications (2000 – 2011) and Nyumba Goori Studies Consultancy (1993 – 1995).
The Critical Classroom website is updated as much as possible, however you should visit Facebook Page, Twitter account, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube for more regular posts.
We create original products that are available at our shop.
Other contributors to The Critical Classroom are Lisa M. Buxton who is currently undertaking a PhD at Notre Dame University.
It’s important to note that despite these initiatives, challenges remain, and ongoing efforts are required to create a more inclusive and equitable educational environment in Australia. The journey towards reconciliation and addressing racism is a collective responsibility that involves continuous learning, understanding, and respect from all members of the Australian community.
Australia has made significant efforts to address issues related to indigenous ethnicities and racism within its educational institutions. These institutions play a crucial role in promoting awareness, understanding, and reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. Here’s an extensive overview of educational initiatives and institutions in Australia that deal with these issues:
Indigenous inhabitants of Australia – Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders
Aborigines are considered to be the original inhabitants of Australia who arrived here about 50,000 to 65,000 years ago. Their culture and way of life are closely connected with the country where they lived and still live.
These natives have a rich oral tradition and heritage that is passed down from generation to generation. Their languages and cultural practices vary among the groups, which numbered more than 500 before the arrival of Europeans.
Aboriginal culture includes diverse arts, music, dances, rituals and storytelling that have a deep sense of their relationship to the land and nature.
Torres Strait Islanders:
Torres Strait Islanders are an indigenous group that lives in the Torres Strait, between the northern tip of Australia and the island of New Guinea.
Their culture differs from that of the Aborigines and has a strong maritime focus. Fishing, seafood gathering and the art of decoration are key aspects of their traditions.
Different ethnicities and nationalities in Australia
In addition to the indigenous people of Australia, the country is home to various ethnic groups and nationalities. Many people come here from other countries for work, study or other personal reasons. The most important ethnic groups include:
British and Irish Descendants:
Most Australians have British or Irish roots, as Australia was originally a colony of the United Kingdom. During the colonization period, large groups of British and Irish immigrants came to the country.
Australia has a large and growing Asian population. During the 20th century and later, people from various Asian countries including China, India, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and others immigrated here.
Groups from Oceania:
People from other countries and islands of Oceania, such as New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Papua New Guinea and others, also live in Australia.
People from the Middle East such as Libya, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and other nations also visit Australia.
Problems associated with multiculturalism
Australia has a rich and diverse cultural landscape, but this diversity also comes with certain challenges and issues:
Integration and inclusion:
Different cultures and languages can create barriers between communities and lead to the need to ensure the inclusion and integration of immigrants into the Australian community.
Discrimination and racism:
As in other countries, there is a risk of discrimination and racism against minority groups in Australia. This can affect their living conditions, access to work and education.
Claim to land and cultural heritage:
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are fighting for the recognition and protection of their indigenous land and heritage rights. Colonization and wrongful interference with their culture caused long-term consequences.
Many languages and dialects, including indigenous languages, are threatened with extinction due to the dominance of English.
The Australian government and civil society are working to address these issues through various means