Work studies

This learning area is an optional component of the year 9 and 10 curriculum, and invites students to explore “how social and cultural factors can influence work behaviours and the expectations and prosperity of population groups,” and engaging with role models and reflecting on historical perspectives in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment” (ACARA, 2015). Indigenous understandings of work may be very different to non-Indigenous understandings, for example that family obligations are considered work, as are certain ceremonial tasks, and looking after country, which may not be remunerated in the same way as other kinds of employment.

A number of books in the Living Archive demonstrate the involvement of Indigenous people in different work practices, such as “Local heroes” (Kapurna nyinami nyampupiya, 2015) which documents a project by schoolchildren in Yuendumu interviewing local people about their work and life, and Bennett et al (1994) which describes old people’s memories about work experiences in the Barunga area.

Taken from Bow, C. (2016). Using authentic language resources to incorporate Indigenous knowledges across the Australian Curriculum. Learning Communities: International Journal of Learning in Social Contexts, 20, 20–39. Available from