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Cultural awareness program launched

Pam Betts, Meleah Zealey, Federal Member for Oxley Milton Dick, Maxine Zealey
and Professor Nereda White launched BCE’s new cultural awareness program

BRISBANE Catholic Education (BCE) has launched a cultural awareness program that will help non-Indigenous educators and professionals deepen their knowledge and understanding of the cultures and experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Launched by BCE Executive Director Pam Betts at the Ngutana-Lui Cultural Studies Centre, Inala, “Looking Forward, Looking Back: Australia Through Our Eyes” was designed to enable non-Aboriginal and non-Torres Strait Islander professionals relate and engage more effectively with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. 

Miss Betts acknowledged and commended writers Professor Nereda White, Ngutana-Lui coordinator Maxine Zealey and teacher Meleah Zealey on the research, consultation and collaboration they had undertaken in producing the valuable resource. 

“While designed primarily for educators, it also has great relevance for others working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients, families, colleagues and communities in the areas of health, justice, employment and community engagement,” she said.

Miss Betts said the cultural awareness program reinforced BCE’s strong commitment to bridging the gap in learning achievement, and exceed learning expectations for each Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander learner in our community of schools

“This resource will go a long way in increasing the capacity of teachers to more effectively meet the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and ensure that they are confidently and consistently engaged in their learning,” she said.

“It continues our story of commitment to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in our schools.

“The positive steps taken to increase the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students enrolled and retained in our community of schools has led to a continuing number of students graduating from the schools and colleges in the Archdiocese.”

Miss Betts said the resource was an impressive, future focussed, timely and valuable work that was a credit to all who had collaborated on its development.

She said the program would prove an essential component in improving retention and achievement levels for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in our schools, and importantly, their sense of wellbeing in developing and experiencing success in their lives.

The cultural awareness program will be delivered in face-to-face workshops in a one or two-day format or as several twilight sessions depending on participants’ requirements.

It will incorporate theoretical, historical and cultural modules and will include practical activities and small group discussions.

The focus will be on applying skills and shared knowledge to develop culturally safe interactions with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, parents, community, clients and colleagues.

In addition to the facilitators, guest speakers from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and relevant organisations may also take part.


Brisbane Catholic Education Office

243 Gladstone Road, Dutton Park Q 4102

GPO Box 1201 Brisbane 4001 Australia

Phone: (07) 3033 7000

Fax: (07) 3844 5101