The purpose of this paper is to review the literature on Culturally Responsive Schooling regarding Aborigines and other nations' first peoples.
While special focus is given to this issue, for the schooling of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people in Australia the review also draws on literature from around the world, particularly from the large body of evidence in the United States of America on American Indian and Alaskan Native children.
Increasingly Australia’s population is becoming more and more multicultural with a growing diversity of languages, races, cultures, and values. Culturally responsive services in schooling (Culturally Responsive Schooling, CRS), has been advocated for decades in Australia – although perhaps not always using that terminology.
This has been a particular feature of initiatives to ‘close the gap’ between the achievements of Indigenous and non- Indigenous Australian children and young people. While the efforts made by jurisdictions, educational organizations and individuals, have achieved localized successes, these have not always been well sustained. Success is often short lived as it has been dependent on the efforts of individuals and groups who have moved on, passed away or withdrawn support.
The need for schools and educational systems to support cultural responsiveness in schooling has become even more essential as a result of increasing proportions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in schools and increasing multiculturalism as a result of migration and the increase of families entering Australia on humanitarian visas. In addition, the teaching profile in Australia continues to be dominated by non-Indigenous, middle class, European- background educators.
This means that there is increasingly a mismatch between the culture and expectations of schools and the home cultures of many students.