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Since the need to embed Indigenous perspectives within Australian schools has become formally recognised as a Cross Curriculum Priority within the Australian Curriculum (ACARA, 2013), the practicalities of implementing this requirement in schools and classrooms are yet to be explored. Many classroom teachers have had to shoulder the responsibility to plan and implement opportunities for children to learn about Indigenous perspectives through the curriculum, with limited opportunities for professional development to enable them to do so comfortably and effectively. This study explores teachers’ participation in, perceptions of and attitudes towards implementing Indigenous perspectives within the curriculum. Further to this, the impact of an ongoing professional development program in Traditional Indigenous Games (TIG) that aims to assist teachers to embed Indigenous perspectives is examined. Survey data from seven Year 5 teachers were analysed using descriptive statistics to establish a picture of their existing classroom learning environment as well as changes across time. The seven teachers also took part in an intervention program which involved ongoing professional development based on the implementation of TIG in their classrooms over a period of 6 months. The study aimed to determine if, and in what way, the TIG intervention had affected teachers, their pedagogy and their classroom environment. Prior to the intervention teachers identified their own lack of knowledge and understanding as the most common obstacle to embedding Indigenous perspectives in their classrooms, and as a result, they were apprehensive and did not regularly embed Indigenous perspectives. Following the TIG intervention, teachers reported an increase in the amount of time they spent embedding Indigenous perspectives each day in their classes; that they felt more knowledgeable and confident about teaching Indigenous perspectives; and that they enjoyed teaching Indigenous perspectives much more as a result of the professional development intervention program.

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Conference Paper

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