When working with Koorie young people, understand the cultural context in which these young people live. Make links with indigenous communities in your area. Contact the Koorie Education Development Officers through the Regional education office, the Koorie Educator for your school or the Local Aboriginal Education Consultative Groups. The Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Inc. (VAEAI) recommends that all non indigenous people working with indigenous youth undertake cultural awareness training.
For more information, see: Indigenous training resources
Self awareness lessons
Students from all backgrounds will vary in how comfortable they are revealing things about themselves to other people. Many of these lessons focus on the individual, which is an important part of the career development process. In indigenous cultures the focus is more often on the group – extended family and community – rather than the individual. When teaching these units, educators need to consider the importance of the extended family for the young person they are working with.
If students have difficulty with activities in these lessons, spend more time reflecting on the purpose of the lesson as outlined in the Purpose and Rationale sections of the Teacher’s Notes.
Opportunity awareness lessons
As for all young people, young Koories need to be made aware of the myriad of options and pathways available to them. The activities in these lessons are designed to achieve this.
Depending on the level of knowledge, more time may need to be spent developing understanding of jobs, and personal and training requirements. More time may be needed in preparation for work experience in relation to employee and employer rights and responsibilities, standards of behaviour in the workplace – including expectations of employers - and the language of the workplace.
Decision learning lessons
The person responsible for making decisions may be culturally determined. In some contexts Koorie parents and relatives will have a big impact on the decisions of the young person and may even make decisions on their behalf. The first two lessons in this section have most relevance to this.
The first lesson - Making decisions (doc - 530.5kb) - will highlight who is important in the young person’s decision making. In Activity 4, students complete a birth to death lifeline, identifying important decision points and who makes the decisions at these times.
The scenarios in - What should I do? (doc - 491.5kb) - may also bring out these issues. Other scenarios could be written highlighting issues that Koorie students may meet in terms of family involvement in decision making.
Transition planning lessons
As well as having knowledge and understanding of jobs and their requirements, there is a lot to learn about employer and employee rights and responsibilities, standards of behaviour in the workplace – including expectations of employers - and the language of the workplace. The language of the workplace can be different from that experienced at home, and it is important for young people to learn about these differences and what is acceptable in a work environment.
Time needs to be spent looking at all aspects of the skills required in finding, applying and trying to win jobs.
Job advertisements often have their own terminology and abbreviations. This includes both general terminology (e.g. ‘p-t’ – part time, ‘f-t’ – full time, ‘exp’ – experience, $35k - $35000) and job specific abbreviations (e.g. different types of licences for driving jobs – HR, HC, MC) which need to be understood. The interpretation of the sometimes hidden meaning of job advertisements can require a high level of linguistic understanding. Jobs that offer work from home for high remuneration, may involve personal outlays of funds (that can take considerable time to recoup) and involve pyramid selling. Students need to be cautious and may need help in interpreting the underlying implications of job advertisements.
Job applications and resumes also have a language style that requires considerable explanation and practice.
Job interviews have the additional consideration of non verbal communication. Certain criteria are deemed to be appropriate to particular organisations or occupations. For example, it would be appropriate to wear jeans or overalls when applying for a labouring job, but not when applying for an office job. In interviews non-verbal aspects can be important, such as the appropriate position of hands, feet and legs, direct eye contact, firm handshakes, upright posture, smiling and nodding appropriately, following cues about the use of time and space in the interview, and dressing appropriately. Communication skills come to the fore in interview situations.
If possible invite parents (or other important relatives) to attend counselling sessions with individual Koorie students.
For more information see: